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Personal papers of Delbert M. Shankel

Call Number: PP 417


Delbert Shankel came to the University of Kansas in 1959 as a professor of microbiology and later held a variety of administrative positions in addition to teaching duties, including serving twice as Chancellor of the university. Shankel's personal papers include correspondence, committee meeting information, speech materials, articles, and reviews.


  • 1959 - 1999


Conditions Governing Access

These materials are stored in the KU Annex off-site storage area.

All researchers interested in reviewing this material must consult Spencer Research Library Public Services staff (785-864-4334 or, 9-5 M-F CST) no less than three days in advance of a planned visit. Be advised that drop-in requests for this material cannot be accommodated.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of Delbert M. Shankel

Delbert Merrill Shankel was born August 4, 1927 in Plainview, Nebraska. He graduated from Walla Walla College, Washington in 1950 with a degree in English and minors in chemistry and zoology.

From 1952-1954, Shankel served in the United States Army, instructing in biological laboratories. He returned to school and received his Ph.D. in Bacteriology and Biochemistry in 1959 from the University of Texas.

Shankel came to the University of Kansas in 1959 as a professor of microbiology. He was Chairman of the Department of Microbiology from 1964 to 1965. From 1966 to 1969 he was Assistant Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) and Associate Dean from 1969 to 1973. Shankel was Dean of CLAS in 1973 and became the first Executive Vice Chancellor of the University from 1974 to 1980 and again from 1990 to 1992.

Shankel took over as Acting Chancellor from 1980 to 1981 after the resignation of Chancellor Archie Dykes. When Chancellor Gene Budig resigned in 1994, Shankel took over as the 15th University Chancellor until the arrival of Robert Hemenway in mid-1995. Shankel is the only individual to have served as KU's Chancellor twice.

Throughout his career at KU, Shankel held over ten administrative jobs, including serving as special counselor to Chancellor Budig and as interim president and CEO of the KU Alumni Association, and continued to teach while holding many of those positions.

Along with his teaching and administrative duties, Shankel worked on numerous KU committees and projects, including the Scientific Education Partnership (SEP/MMD) with Marion Merrill Dow, Inc. and the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Shankel also published or co-authored over 50 articles, concentrating on mutagen and carcinogen research. He received the Mortar Board Award for Teaching Excellence three times during his career and received the Career Teaching Award in 1999. In 2010, KU named the Shankel Structural Biology Center in his honor.

When Shankel retired in 1996, he was honored as both professor emeritus and as chancellor emeritus. Del Shankel passed away July 12, 2018.


4.5 Linear Feet (5 boxes + 2 oversize boxes)

Language of Materials


Physical Location

PP 417

Physical Location

Annex (Contact Spencer Library Public Services)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gifts, Delbert M. Shankel, 2002; Carol Shankel, 2018.

Related Materials

Consult library staff regarding the availability of related photographs, biographical files, and scrapbooks.

Guide to the Delbert M. Shankel Collection
Personal papers of Delbert M. Shankel
Finding aid prepared by kn, 2004. Finding aid encoded by ad, 2004. Finding aid revised by mwh, 2018, 2021.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Personal papers of Delbert M. Shankel, PP 417, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States