Pair of Distinguished Professors Recognized at WSU

OGDEN, Utah – A pioneering radiographer and sonographer, and an acclaimed international economist at Weber State University have been named 2012 Presidential Distinguished Professors.

Radiologic sciences professor Diane M. Kawamura and economics professor John Mukum Mbaku were selected by WSU’s Board of Trustees for this prestigious award. They will formally receive their awards at the university’s spring commencement exercises April 20.

Each professor will receive a cash prize of $16,000, payable over four years, which may be used to further professional academic goals. Honorees also will retain the Presidential Distinguished Professor title throughout their tenure with the university. Upon retirement from WSU, “Emeritus” will be added to the end of the title. The professors also will be featured on the Honor Wall for Presidential Distinguished Professors located on the second floor of the Stewart Library in the west atrium.

Funding for the annual recognition program was made possible by a generous gift from a donor who wishes to remain anonymous. The program was established in 2006 as a way to recognize outstanding WSU faculty members who demonstrate the highest quality of teaching, scholarship, research and community service.

“It is a pleasure to recognize these distinguished professors,” said President Ann Millner. “While they represent different disciplines on campus, they share a strong commitment to teaching, scholarship and excellence. Both recipients have made lasting contributions to the university.”

Provost Michael Vaughan said, “This year’s honorees are respected, pioneering members in their professional discipline, who take the time to make their students’ educations a priority. We are very grateful to this donor for recognizing the important role faculty play in the lives of our students and the vitality of the campus.”

Diane M. Kawamura

Radiologic sciences professor Diane M. Kawamura first joined the faculty in the Dr. Ezekiel R. Dumke College of Health Professions in 1978, following a successful career as an X-ray technologist and clinical instructor at St. Benedict’s Hospital in Ogden. A native of Aberdeen, S.D., Kawamura developed one of the first programs in diagnostic medical sonography, with options in medical, cardiac and vascular imaging.

During her 35-year tenure at Weber State, she has been instrumental in the development, implementation and growth of the bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in the Department of Radiologic Sciences.

Described by one of her colleagues as a creative and engaging professor, featured presenter, author and professional leader, Kawamura has helped establish WSU as the premier academic center for medical imaging education.

In addition to presenting more than 120 national and international lectures, Kawamura is the author of “Diagnostic Medical Sonography: Abdomen and Superficial Structures,” one of the foremost textbooks in medical sonography.

Kawamura has served as president for several national and state professional organizations, including the Association of Collegiate Educators in Radiologic Sciences, Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography, the Utah Society of Radiologic Technologists and the Utah Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers. She was chair of the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography.

The recipient of numerous professional awards, Kawamura has been honored with the Joan Baker Pioneer Award for leadership in medical sonography and the Distinguished Sonographer Award by the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine. She is a fellow at the American Institute on Ultrasound in Medicine and with the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography.

A graduate of St. Luke’s Hospital School of Radiography, Kawamura earned her associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Weber State University. She completed a Ph.D. from the University of Utah in 1992, making her one of two medical imaging professionals in the state of Utah to hold that degree.      

John Mukum Mbaku

John Mukum Mbaku, the Willard L. Eccles Professor of Economics in the John B. Goddard School of Business & Economics, joined the Weber State faculty in 1991, enhancing the university’s academic reputation by virtue of his high profile in the fields of international trade, public choice and economic development.

Renowned as a superb teacher, Mbaku has earned praise from his students because the depth and breadth of his personal experiences significantly enrich their classroom learning. He also serves as a mentor to many international students and generously donates his time to supporting minority groups within the WSU community.

During the past 20 years, Mbaku’s research and scholarship has focused on the importance of a sound institutional framework for economic development in Africa. He has authored five books, edited an additional 11 texts and contributed to another dozen publications. Mbaku has also written more than 80 articles published in respected peer-reviewed journals. 

Mbaku’s public-service experience has included consulting with the government of Kenya, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the Parliament of Uganda, the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the African Economic Research Consortium and the European Union.

Appointed as a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the prestigious Brookings Institution in 2011, Mbaku’s previous honors include the John S. Hinckley Fellow Award for outstanding teaching, scholarship and service in 2000; the First Prize Winner of the Nathan Burkan Memorial Competition in Copyright Law given by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers at the University of Utah College of Law; and the Stephen Pierre Traynor Outstanding Legal Writing Award at the University of Utah College of Law.
Mbaku holds a baccalaureate degree from Berry College, a master’s degree from the University of South Carolina and a doctorate from the University of Georgia as well as a law degree and a Graduate Certificate in Environmental and Natural Resources Law, both from the University of Utah.

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Michael Vaughan, provost
801-626-6006 •
John Kowalewski, director of Media Relations
801-626-7212 •

Brady Presidential Distinguished Professors


Craig Oberg
Gene Sessions
Sam Zeveloff

Eric Amsel
Yasmen Simonian
Michael Wutz

Bradley W. Carroll
Brian Davis

Jim Christian
Brenda Marsteller Kowalewski
Susan Matt
Adolph Yonkee

John Cavitt
Lauren Fowler
Ed Walker

Brooke Arkush
Judy Elsley
Yu-Jang Yang

Diane Kawamura
John Mukum Mbaku

Hal Crimmel
Adam T. Johnston
Shane J. Schvaneveldt

Jennifer Turley
Kirk D. Hagen