Life Span Institute director honored for service in roles in KU College, Office of Research

Colleagues and administrators gathered on Feb. 16 to honor Life Span Institute Director John Colombo for his service in interim roles during the past five years at KU.

John ColomboIn addition to his position as director at the Life Span Institute since 2008, Colombo has been interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for more than three years, and served as interim vice chancellor for research from March 2017 to August 2019. 

"Interim titles of any kind are not easy titles to bear, particularly for a really, really long time," said University of Kansas Provost Barbara Bichelmeyer at the reception. “It has been our incredibly good fortune to have John’s service in this role. His impact has been truly phenomenal in this period of time.” 

Bichelmeyer noted that during his term as interim dean, Colombo continued his research program in neurocognitive development and infancy. To date, he has published more than 120 articles and six books. He has continued to provide mentorship and leadership, she said, while also steering the College, and before that, the Office of Research, through financial challenges.  

Colombo thanked reception guests, who attended the event despite the snowy weather on campus that day. While he is looking forward to a quieter calendar, Colombo said the transition away from the interim position was bittersweet. 

“On March 1st, for the first time in about six years, I get to clock into one and only one job,” Colombo said. “While I might not have come to love every aspect of the interim position I've held, I have come to love the people I work with.” 

He added, “I want to thank all of you who made it possible for me to do two jobs the last few years.”