Awards & Prizes

In addition to Honors Opportunity Awards, as well as the external and KU scholarships students may receive, the University Honors Program provides financial support in recognition of various aspirations and accomplishments.

Philip Whitcomb Essay Contest

A committee of faculty judges will award $500 to the author of an essay that addresses "the relationship of knowledge, thought, and action in public affairs and public policy.” Essays derived from an honors essay, term paper, or research project, are welcome. Submissions should be no longer than 5,000 words, must contain the title at the top-center of the first page and the author’s initials at the top-right corner of every page, and must not contain the submitter’s full name. The deadline is Friday, April 15.


RWJ Scholars Award in Memory of Richard W. Judy

Students in the University Honors Program, preferably those in their sophomore or junior year, are invited to submit an essay addressing some aspect of entrepreneurship, workforce development, Russian and American relations, or their future. A review committee of honors program staff and faculty, appointed by the director, will evaluate essays based on their ingenuity, understanding of the factors that shape human potential, and depth of thought and planning. The award recipient will receive $750 based on the strength of an essay and their academic record. The deadline is Friday, April 15.


David Paretsky Honors Program Book Award

Established by author Sara Paretsky in honor of her father David, a long-time KU microbiology professor, this $300 award helps cover fall textbook expenses for deserving students. A total of three award recipients will be recognized at the spring Honors Advisory Board meeting. Nominations are due Friday, April 9, and applications are due Wednesday, April 21.


The Sara and Mary Edwards Paretsky Award for Creativity

The Paretsky Award for Creativity is a cash award of $500. The recipient must be a woman student completing her junior year who has demonstrated creativity and originality in her chosen field. To be considered, students must submit an application that includes one copy of an example or set of examples (dependent upon the chosen field) of the student's creativity, along with a recommendation letter from a faculty sponsor in support of the project. The deadline is Friday, April 22.


Kathleen McClusky-Fawcett Outstanding Contribution Award

This annual award recognizes one University Honors Program student who has demonstrated leadership, innovation, and engagement in the program. The student receives a $1,000 award and has an opportunity to inspire the incoming first-year students at Honors Convocation. After a review of nominee materials, which consist of a résumé and a brief statement on a proposed address topic, in-person interviews will be scheduled for finalists. Nominations are due Thursday, April 26


Yarick-Morgan Prize for Excellence

This non-renewable scholarship of $10,000, awarded for one academic year, recognizes graduates of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences who have completed the University Honors Program and will pursue a graduate degree at KU. Along with a completed online application form, applicants must submit a curriculum vitae that highlights University Honors Program participation, a 500-word-maximum personal statement that states how the program enhanced their undergraduate education and helped prepare them for their future, and one letter of recommendation about the student's academic excellence and preparedness for graduate study, ideally from the student's undergraduate major. The deadline is Saturday, May 21.