The pharmacy school at University of Kansas plans to present the distinguished service award to a 1978 graduate elected in November to serve as the state's insurance commissioner.

Vicki Schmidt, the nation's only pharmacist currently holding a statewide elected office, will receive the School of Pharmacy's highest honor Friday in Lawrence.

Pharmacy Dean Ken Audus said Schmidt had been a dedicated supporter of education and the pharmacy profession during her career.

"The advocacy she has provided for the school, the university and education in general will improve the lives of Kansans for generations to come," Audus said.

The award honors individuals who demonstrated sustained service and leadership in advancement of the profession, their communities and the KU pharmacy school. 

Schmidt continued to work as a pharmacist while representing a Topeka district in the Kansas Senate from 2005 until January. She resigned at that point to take office as Kansas insurance commissioner.

She was credited by KU with helping secure state funding for a new KU pharmacy building in 2010 and for expansion of a pharmacy program in Wichita during 2011.