- Internationally renowned for research in the areas of psycholinguistics and gerontology
- Graduate Director since 1963 of the Child Language Program at the University of Kansas
- Recipient of infrequently awarded Five Year Career Development Award from the National Institute on Aging
Research, teaching, and service are the bases for any university professor, and Dr. Susan Kemper has excelled in all three. Her research in the interdisciplinary areas of psycholinguistics and gerontology are internationally renowned. Her most recent recognition is a Five Year Career Development Award from the National Institute on Aging, a highly prestigious award which is granted infrequently. Dr. Kemper was instrumental in the development of the Child Language Program at the University of Kansas. She has served as its graduate director since 1963. Director of the program Dr. Mabel Rice stated, “She has formidable organizational skills, with the ability to get an incredible amount of work done on short notice.”
Colleagues describe her as a wonderful teacher and mentor, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Dean Kathleen McCluskey-Fawcett once noted, “she plays a major role in preparing graduate students for jobs and using her vast national network in finding them good placements.” Added Dr. Nyla Branscombe, “Although her grant frees her from teaching responsibilities for five years, she has continued to be readily available to her students.” Graduate students have stated Dr. Kemper is “an inspiration to us all, an invaluable source of information, and an irreplaceable mentor.” Also remarkable is the fact Dr. Kemper has been instrumental in assisting students in obtaining external funding for their own research by her mentorship and her willingness to share authorship on research projects.
Dr. Kemper has served on numerous committees at all levels within the University. The major concensus is, “Ask Susan, she’ll come through.” She has been an excellent role model for female colleagues and graduate students. Dr. Branscombe is “convinced that without this honoree having laid the groundwork (and being highly successful in doing so), there would be far fewer women in faculty positions at KU.”
Mary Lee Hummert, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies, best summed up this honoree by citing “a) her high achievement, b) dedication to her profession, her university, her colleagues, her students, c) a commitment to excellence, d) a commitment to equal opportunity, and e) strength of character.”