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University of Chicago Department of Athletics & Recreation

Starkey Duncan Award

Starkey Duncan, Jr., a Professor in Psychology at the University of Chicago and a leading researcher in the study of nonverbal and verbal interactions, died in 2007 at the age of 71 after a long career at the University of Chicago.

"He loved his family and dedicated his entire career to the University of Chicago. He was an innovative educator and researcher who cared deeply about his students," according to his son, Arne Duncan, former U.S. Secretary of Education.

Professor Duncan was a leader in developing the field of research to study interaction between verbal and nonverbal communication.

Starkey Duncan served as the Faculty Athletic Representative to the NCAA for more than 20 years. During that time, he touched countless lives with his enthusiasm for teaching and mentoring and his sincere interest in each and every student. Known for being exceptionally thorough and conscientious in his work, Starkey treated every student with the greatest care and compassion.

The Starkey Duncan award will be presented to a current or emerita/us College or University faculty or staff member who has consistently gone above and beyond the call of duty to touch the lives of student-athletes. The winner will exemplify the concern for students and the passion for athletics that personified Starkey's life. Faculty and staff members who are primarily employed by the Department of Athletics & Recreation are not eligible for the award.

Nominations will be solicited from current students and members of the Department Athletics & Recreation. The Sports Information Director will coordinate the nomination process and prepare the nomination material for the Selection Committee.

The Selection Committee shall consist of the following:

  • Director of Athletics
  • NCAA Faculty Athletic Representative
  • Order of the "C" President (or designee)
  • WAA President (or designee)
  • Female coach – selected by the coaching staff
  • Male coach – selected by the coaching staff

Selection Criteria

The following criteria will be used to evaluate the nominees:

  • Candidate must be an emerita/us faculty or staff member of the University who has provided long-term service to collegiate athletics through active participation and leadership. Faculty and staff members who are primarily employed by the Department of Athletics & Recreation are not eligible for the award.
  • Nominee must have a supportive and compassionate attitude in offering their own professional and personal expertise and assistance to the athletic program Nominees may have offered assistance to a single team or to the entire athletic program.
  • Individuals who have made a one time contribution may be considered if the contribution is significant.
  • One award may be presented annually but the award will not be presented unless there is a singularly strong candidate who demonstrates extraordinary merit. It is anticipated that, over time, this will not be an annual award but, rather, and occasional award going to only the most deserving nominee. The nominations of non-winners will be retained for future consideration.


Click here for the Nomination Form.


The recipient's name shall be engraved on a plaque that will be displayed at the Gerald Ratner Athletics Center. The recipient shall receive a plaque and a lifetime athletic membership.

Previous Award Recipients

  • Patrick Palmer (2008) - Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics
  • Gregory L. Hillhouse (2009) - Department of Chemistry
  • Bruce Reider, M.D. (2013) - Department of Orthopedic Surgery
  • John Craig (2018) - Department of Social Sciences
  • Kathy Forde (2019) - College Academic Advising Office

PICTURED BELOW (L-R): Greg Hillhouse, Pat Palmer, Bruce Reider.