Inaugural Arthur L. Kelly Prizes honor faculty members

Professors Ka Yee Lee and John Frederick are the first recipients of the Arthur L. Kelly Prize for Exceptional Faculty Service in the Physical Sciences Division. The annual prize recognizes University of Chicago faculty members who have made outstanding contributions to the division in addition to their teaching and research. The prize was awarded at last month's PSD Diploma and Hooding Ceremony.

Former Physical Sciences Dean Robert Fefferman and Arthur L. Kelly, who endowed the prize, presented the awards to the recipients. Kelly received his MBA from the University in 1964, was a University trustee from 1998 to 2008, and served for nearly 20 years on the PSD Visiting Committee, including 10 years as the committee's chairman.

"It is fitting that we honor his contributions to the division and the University with this award," said Fefferman. Kelly previously established the same prize at the Booth School of Business in 1999.

Lee, a professor in chemistry, currently serves as director of the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center and formerly served as associate director of the James Franck Institute. She is a member of the faculty steering committee for the University's Center in Beijing, a member of the PSD Diversity Committee, and she was a fellow in the Committee on Institutional Collaboration Academic Leadership Program.

Lee is an active advocate of women in STEM fields. She is a founder and Coordinating Committee member of the Chicago Collaboration on Women in STEM, which supports female faculty both at UChicago and Northwestern University.

“Displaying her energy and leadership, Ka Yee also helped mobilize a group of women faculty in the Physical Sciences Division and, when I established a Women in the Physical Sciences Committee, she was the first chair and has since remained an active member,” Fefferman said.

Frederick, professor in geophysical sciences, has served his department and the division in multiple roles. He was chair of the geophysical sciences department from 1994 to 1997, and master of the Physical Sciences Collegiate Division and associate dean of the division from 2006 to 2012. He helped establish the joint Physical Sciences Division-Harris School master's program in environmental science and policy.

“John is one of those faculty members we can always count on to do the work, much of which is not always visible, which makes his department, the division and the University run seamlessly," said Fefferman. In the geophysical sciences department, Frederick acts as one of the graduate counselors, arranges and administers preliminary candidacy exams, and is a member of the junior faculty advisory and mentoring committee. He also served on a committee to re-evaluate the undergraduate curriculum in the geosciences.