Twelve doctoral students have been selected to receive the University of Kansas’ prestigious Madison and Lila Self Graduate Fellowship for the 2018-2019 academic year. They are among 188 students who have benefited from the fellowship since it was established.


Recipients include Ryan Skaar, of Story City, a 2013 graduate of Roland-Story High School. Skaar graduated from Simpson College in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and a mathematics minor. He also played basketball for Simpson during his four years there. He is now a first-year doctoral student in pharmaceutical chemistry at the University of Kansas.


Self Graduate Fellowships are four-year awards to incoming or first-year doctoral students who demonstrate leadership, initiative and a passion for achievement. The fellowship covers full tuition and fees, provides graduate research assistant support of $30,500 a year for new fellows, a $5,500 professional development award, and includes a unique development program.


The Fellow Development Program provides general education and training in communication, management, innovation and leadership to assist Self Graduate Fellows in preparation for future leadership roles, complementing the specialized education and training provided in doctoral programs. The total value of the four-year doctoral fellowship exceeds $175,000.


The fellowship’s mission is to identify and recruit exceptional doctoral students who demonstrate the promise to make significant contributions to their fields and society as a whole.


The late Madison “Al” and Lila Self of Hinsdale, Ill., launched and permanently endowed the Self Graduate Fellowship in 1989, motivated by their strong belief in the vital importance of developing leadership for tomorrow. Madison Self was a 1943 KU graduate in chemical engineering. Lila Self grew up in Eudora and attended KU with the Class of 1943.