The University of Colorado Board of Regents Thursday honored four CU faculty members with the distinguished professor title to recognize their outstanding contributions to their respective academic disciplines.

The board honored Thomas A. Pyszczynski from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and Spero Manson, Robert Murphy and Paul Teske from the University of Colorado Denver

“We are proud of the accomplishments of these elite faculty and are grateful to their service to the University of Colorado,” said Board of Regents Chair Steve Bosley. “Thanks to the contributions of professors of this caliber, CU remains one of the top education institutions in the nation.”

CU extends the distinguished professor title to faculty members who demonstrate accomplishments in exemplary teaching and distinguished scholarship or creative work. The title signifies a select group of faculty members who are leaders in their respective fields as attested to by national or international recognition and/or their significant public service achievements. Including the four newly honored faculty members, there are 53 professors within the CU system who hold the title of distinguished professor.

With the board’s action, Pyszczynski becomes only the second faculty member at UCCS to earn the title distinguished professor. In 1982, Daniel Cougar, professor, Business, and a founding faculty member of the campus, was the first to receive the title. Cougar died in 1997.

Pyszczynski, a professor of psychology at UCCS for more than 20 years researches terror management theory, which is concerned with the role of self-esteem and cultural belief systems in providing protection against core human fears such as death. The theory also helps understand the causes of support for terrorist violence. Pyszczynski’s research has been funded by the National Science Foundation since 1989 and he is ranked one of the most productive researchers worldwide in social psychology, garnering about $90,000 a year in grants.

“It is an honor to be recognized and to have the university appreciate the work that we’ve been doing,” Pyszczynski said recently. “But this award also speaks to the great students at UCCS, particularly the graduate students.”

Pyszczynski joined UCCS in 1986 and was promoted to professor in 1994. He credited the late Lee Becker, professor, Psychology, for “taking a chance” in hiring the recent PhD. graduate with controversial ideas. Those controversial ideas are now a dominant approach for understanding a variety of issues ranging from human self esteem, faith, ethnic violence and war.

“I knew when I came here I wanted to stay a long time. It simply is a great atmosphere,” Pyszczynski said. “UCCS provided me what I needed to succeed – good students.”

For more about Pyszczynski, a 2002 feature about him is available at

Others honored Thursday include

Manson, a professor of psychiatry at the UC Denver School of Medicine and head of the campus’s American Indian and Alaska Native program. Manson has been honored with a Herbert W. Nickens Award from the Association of American Medical Colleges and the National Institutes of Health. A member of the Pembina Chippewa American Indian tribe, Manson specializes in the assessment, treatment and prevention of physical, alcohol, drug and mental disorders across the developmental life span of American Indians.

Murphy has worked for the university for nearly 40 years. A professor of pharmacology, Murphy studies biochemistry and pharmacological control of lipid mediators, which work with hormones to maintain the body’s homeostasis. He serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Lipid Research and Analytical Biochemistry and received the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Eicosanoid Research Society, the Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award from UC Denver and the Dean’s Mentoring Award from the UC Denver School of Medicine.

Teske is the dean of the School of Public Affairs at UC Denver. A member of the CU faculty for five years, Teske received the 2005 Distinguished Research Award from the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration/American Society for Public Administration as well as the 2005 Excellence in Research and Creative Activities award from UC Denver. Teske’s public policy research centers on education policy, regulatory policy, urban policy and economic development policy.