Distinguished University Professor presentations set for Dec. 4


Three faculty members who have received one of the University of Michigan’s highest honors will discuss their work during an upcoming livestreamed event.

Distinguished University Professorship lecturers Nicholas Kotov, Laura Kasischke and Victor Li will speak from 3-4:30 p.m. Dec. 4. Their presentations can be watched on YouTube below.

Each honoree, in consultation with his or her dean, names the professorship after a person of distinction in his or her field. Recipients give an inaugural lecture early in their appointment that highlights their professional and scholarly experience.  

Kotov was honored this year, while Kasischke and Li received their DUP appointments in 2018. The topics of their presentations will be:

Nicholas Kotov — “Nanostructures in Nature”

Nicholas Kotov
Nicholas Kotov

Kotov is the Irving Langmuir Distinguished University Professor of Chemical Sciences and Engineering, Joseph B. and Florence V. Cejka Professor of Engineering, professor of chemical engineering, professor of materials science and engineering and professor of macromolecular science and engineering in the College of Engineering.

Kotov has made foundational discoveries in biomimetic nanostructures that transcended multiple disciplines, from chemical engineering to chiral optics and medical devices. He demonstrated that the ability to self-organize into complex structures is the unifying property of all nanostructures.

Laura Kasischke — “Theodore Roethke and Michigan”

Laura Kasischke
Laura Kasischke

Kasischke is the Theodore Roethke Distinguished University Professor of English Language and Literature, professor of English language and literature and professor in the Residential College in LSA.

Kasischke is a graduate of U-M’s Residential College and Master of Fine Arts program, in which she now teaches. She has published nine collections of poetry and 11 books of fiction. She has received the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry, a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Rilke Award for Poetry. Her poetry and fiction have been translated into a dozen languages, and three of her novels have been made into films.

Victor Li — “Harmonizing our Built and Natural Environments with Bendable Concrete”

Victor Li
Victor Li

Li is the James R. Rice Distinguished University Professor of Engineering, E. Benjamin Wylie Collegiate Professor of Civil Engineering, professor of civil and environmental engineering, professor of materials science and engineering and professor of macromolecular science and engineering in the College of Engineering.

Li’s research interest is in multifunctional materials targeted at enhancing civil infrastructure sustainability and resiliency. He led the research team that invented Engineering Cementitious Composites, popularly known as “bendable concrete.” His latest research has focused on reducing the carbon footprint of the built environment and on 3-D robotic printing of ECC large-scale structures.

The Board of Regents established the Distinguished University Professorships in 1947 to recognize senior faculty who have exceptional scholarly or creative achievements, national and international reputations for academic excellence and superior records of teaching, mentoring and service.


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