Donna Whitney Named Graduate and Professional Distinguished Professor
Dr. Donna Whitney has been named a 2023 recipient of the Graduate and Professional Education Award. Since 1998-1999, the University of Minnesota has recognized a select group of faculty members for their outstanding contributions to graduate and/or professional education. This honor is awarded annually to exceptional candidates nominated by their colleges in their quest to identify excellence in graduate and/or professional education. Whitney received this award for her many outstanding contributions to graduate advising, mentorship, teaching, DEI initiatives and more.
"[Donna] gives students the work ethic and confidence they need to pursue the career of their choice." -Dr. Christian Teyssier
Those closest to Whitney are proud to see her achievements recognized by the university. In the words of her long time colleague and collaborator, Dr. Christian Teyssier, “I am thrilled to hear about Donna's award, which is well-deserved and overdue. My long collaboration with Donna has taught me about being a better advisor and mentor to graduate students. Besides the rigorous knowledge that Donna passes on, both in the field and in the lab, she gives students the work ethic and confidence they need to pursue the career of their choice. Donna has also had a profound influence beyond our graduate program and has helped early career scientists, for example in Turkey, Iran, and China.”
"She truly goes above and beyond for her students, not only during their time working with her as an advisor but also after" -Stacia Gordon, former grad student
Those who have had the opportunity to be advised by Whitney would agree that her impact is vast and long lasting. Former graduate student, Stacia Gordon, explains, “I am delighted to hear that Donna has been recognized for her outstanding contributions to graduate and professional education. She truly goes above and beyond for her students, not only during their time working with her as an advisor but also after, where personally, I have had the pleasure to continue collaborating with her on various research projects. She has also continued to be my champion and helped me get a tenure-track position and an international award. Her wit and intellectual brilliance are a powerful combination, and I am lucky to have her as an advisor, collaborator, and mentor.”
Though she calls her journey into graduate education “unexpected”, Whitney has found it to be both meaningful and gratifying. In her own words: “Being involved in graduate education in its many forms has been an unexpectedly important and rewarding part of my career. I say “unexpectedly” because, throughout my education, I never saw myself as a professor at a research university. However, I also found that I absolutely loved research and teaching. My goal has been to try to help graduate students see themselves as scientists and to help them learn that uncertainty can be exciting and lead to discovery.”
After completing 10 years of service to the department as Department Head, Donna has taken a much deserved sabbatical, giving her time to pursue research and professional connections while also getting to travel, visit her daughter abroad, and of course rest. Please join us in congratulating Donna Whitney on her most recent accomplishment!