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Penn State's Honorary Alumni Award

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Dr. Stephen Benkovic has been given the Honorary Alumnus/Alumna Award recognizing his great commitment and service towards Penn State University.
Benkovic, Steve

In 2017, the Alumni Council approved Dr. Stephen Benkovic as an Honorary Alumnus, in recognition of his significant contributions and service to the University.

Stephen Benkovic, Evan Pugh University Professor and Eberly Chair in Chemistry, has dedicated more than half a century—his entire career—to Penn State. In that time, his research, which has fundamentally contributed to the design of cancer drugs and antibiotics, has greatly elevated Penn State’s reputation in biological chemistry. Indeed, Benkovic is considered to be among the most prominent mechanistic enzymologists in the world.

A winner of the prestigious National Medal of Science, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Benkovic has been recognized time and time again for his research contributions. But outstanding research isn’t his only achievement. Benkovic has created a remarkable legacy of Penn State graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, who now occupy successful careers of their own throughout the world. Over the years, he’s advised more than 175, making him a true “father” of biological chemistry. 

Benkovic’s entrepreneurship is another quality that exemplifies Penn State’s mission and vision. For example, he created the California-based biopharmaceutical company, Anacor, which is using his research results on the element boron to discover, develop, and commercialize novel small-molecule therapeutics to treat a variety of diseases, including atopic dermatitis.

Benkovic earned his academic degrees at Lehigh University, Cornell University, and the University of California, Santa Barbara, but his devotion always has belonged to Penn State. And simply by employing him, Penn State has reaped numerous rewards in return.

Benkovic Laboratory

For a list of past recipients and an explanation of how you can nominate a Penn State alumnus/a for this title, please visit the Alumni Association's Honorary Alumni Awards page.


About the Award:

The Honorary Alumnus/Alumna Award was created to recognize outstanding individuals who, though not graduates of Penn State, greatly enhance the University through their commitment and service. The Alumni Association Awards Committee recommends nominees to the full Alumni Council, which approves them through a majority vote.

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