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University of Kansas honors Burish with alumni award

Author: Arts and Letters


Thomas G. Burish, provost and professor of psychology at the University of Notre Dame, will receive an alumni award Friday (April 13) from the University of Kansas, where he earned his master’s and doctoral degrees.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at KU will honor Burish and four other graduates with the Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award for contributions to their communities, professions or the university.

“The accomplishments of these award winners are stunning and exemplify the tremendous success that can be launched from a high-quality liberal arts and sciences education from KU,” said Joseph E. Steinmetz, dean of the college. “The diversity of professions and accomplishments of the recipients reflect the broad experiences and opportunities available within the college.”

Burish was elected provost of Notre Dame on July 21, 2005. He is the fourth person to hold the office since it was established in 1970. The provost, the University’s second ranking officer, is elected by the Board of Trustees and, at the direction of the president, exercises overall responsibility for the academic enterprise.

A Notre Dame alumnus and distinguished scholar in the field of clinical psychology, Burish served as president of Washington and Lee University for three years before assuming his present position and was Vanderbilt University’s longest-serving provost from 1993 to 2002.

After his graduation from Notre Dame in 1972, Burish, a native of Peshtigo, Wisc., earned master’s and doctoral degrees in psychology and clinical psychology from KU in 1975 and 1976, respectively. While in graduate school, he also worked in the KU Medical Center’spsychiatry department and children’s rehabilitation unit.

In 1976, Burish joined Vanderbilt’s faculty as an assistant professor of psychology. He taught undergraduate courses in abnormal psychology, personality, introduction to delivery of psychological services, stress and biofeedback, and graduate courses in psychopathology, health psychology, and clinical practicum. He remained at Vanderbilt for the next 26 years, establishing a prominent reputation in cancer research, receiving honors for excellence as an undergraduate teacher, and serving in numerous administrative positions, including chair of the Department of Psychology from 1984 to 1986.

Burish has served as a member and president of the American Cancer Society’s national board of directors and also sits on numerous scientific advisory committees. He is the co-author or co-editor of four books, including “Coping with Chronic Disease: Research and Applications” and “Cancer, Nutrition, and Eating Behavior: A Biobehavioral Perspective.”

Originally published by Dennis Brown at on April 13, 2007.