Meet NCCWSL Woman of Distinction Donna Shalala

November 19, 2012

We are thrilled to honor Donna Shalala — a teacher, scholar, and leader — as a Woman of Distinction for the 2013 National Conference for College Women Student Leaders. Her dedication and accomplishments will truly inspire anyone. Like our previous honorees, Shalala continues to make strides to better her community. Because she steps outside of the box and juggles multiple roles simultaneously, Shalala has gone above and beyond to effect change for women and girls.

Shalala currently serves as president of the University of Miami. This is an extraordinary accomplishment at a time when women make up just 23 percent of college and university presidents in the United States. She is also director of Mednax, a national health care delivery group. At the University of Miami, Shalala has led the effort to raise $1.4 billion in private support for the university’s academic and research programs.

Aside from her academic accomplishments, Shalala has been a huge figure in public service. In 1962, she served as one of the first Peace Corps volunteers in Iran. She was assistant secretary for policy development and research at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development during the Carter administration and was appointed secretary of health and human services under President Bill Clinton. In 2008, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award. Shalala has received numerous other awards and also served under President George W. Bush.

Shalala’s accomplishments encourage me to continue reaching for my goals no matter what. Her achievements in education exemplify hard work at its finest, as does her commitment to giving back to the community. Her work gives me courage in a society where women may not be equally represented but where barriers can be broken.

I am truly excited that Shalala has been chosen as our first Woman of Distinction and even more excited to hear her speak at NCCWSL 2013! I look forward to asking her about how she dealt with adversity and her methods of overcoming challenges. I know her words will help us to transform our women students into better campus leaders.

Will you be there to meet Donna Shalala?

This post was written by AAUW Leadership Programs Intern Nzinga Shury.

By:   |   November 19, 2012

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