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University of Iowa News Release

March 22, 2006

UI Celebration Of Excellence Among Women To Be Held March 28

"A Celebration of Excellence and Achievement Among Women," the University of Iowa's annual tribute to the accomplishments of women at the university, will be held Tuesday, March 28, in the Richey Ballroom of the Iowa Memorial Union. The reception begins at 3:30 p.m., and the awards program begins at 4 p.m.

Author and Iowa Writers' Workshop Director Lan Samantha Chang will present the keynote address. The event is free and open to the public. Anyone needing special assistance to attend this event may call 319-335-3114.

Special presentations during the celebration will include the UI Distinguished Achievement Award to two recipients: M. Patricia Donahue (left), Ph.D., RN, FAAN, executive associate dean for academic affairs and professor of nursing, and Mary Khowassah (right), M.D., director of the UI Student Health Service.

Donahue has dedicated her life's work to nursing education. Her contributions as an historian, scholar and educator have gained her national recognition.

She became a nurse in 1960 and a nurse educator in 1963. In 1976, she joined the UI College of Nursing faculty and became involved with the college's administration leadership team in 1997, assuming roles of increasing responsibility, culminating in her current title as executive associate dean of the college.

She has a long list of accomplishments highlighting her life's work as a nurse educator. Recently she played a key role in the College of Nursing's efforts to address the nation's shortage of nurse leaders by implementing and overseeing a very successful Professional Masters in Nursing and Healthcare Practice (MNHP) Program.

She has published widely, including a book, "Nursing, the Finest Art: An Illustrated History," and has volunteered time to help others. For three weeks last spring she joined a group of Iowa Voyagers on a trip to Romania to help with humanitarian efforts and expects to repeat the trip in this fall.

She has served on an array of boards and committees, such as the Steering Committee for the Sesquicentennial Celebration, Academic Achievement Advisory Committee, Regents Award for Faculty Excellence Review Committee, Medical Museum Planning Committee, and many search committees. She has also been an enthusiastic spokesperson for the university by way of an alumni membership and recruitment video she helped the Alumni Association produce and which is currently being shown at athletic events.

She holds a Ph.D. in social foundations of education and history and philosophy from the UI College of Education; an M.S. in medical/surgical nursing and education from The Ohio State University School of Nursing, a B.S.N. in nursing from The Ohio State University, and a diploma in nursing from St. Luke's Hospital School of Nursing in Cleveland, Ohio.

Khowassah has been a pioneer in many ways since growing up in Buffalo Center, Iowa, the youngest of 12 children. She was one of three valedictorians in her class of 33 and is the only person in her family, man or woman, to attend an institution of higher education, let alone pursue medical school. She graduated from the UI College of Medicine in 1968, one of only 11 women in a class of 122.

After working in private practice, she joined the UI Student Health Service (SHS) as a staff physician in 1970, was named acting director in 1985 and director in 1987, becoming the first women to serve in this role since the health service began at the UI in 1919.

During her tenure as director of SHS, she has been the anchor through decades of change, including the most drastic technological changes ever to impact health care and higher education. She led the charge for a new, modern SHS facility, expanded and nurtured the health education unit into a leader in college health promotion, guided the health service through transitions to an appointment-based system, electronic scheduling, an electronic medical record, and an innovative student-centered website. She was the driving force behind the SHS achieving accreditation by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations in 2001, a rarity among college health services with only 26 JCAHO-accredited centers in the entire nation. And she has marshaled the SHS staff to deal with crises such as a mass meningitis immunization of 18,000 students over a period of only five days in 1992.

Under Khowassah's leadership, a shadowing program for first-year medical students was established, allowing young women and men to learn more about primary care in a college health setting. Her commitment to academic endeavors and the educational development of young people is also illustrated by her strong support of Athletic Training rotations, a third-year Pediatric Resident rotation, dietetic interns, graduate assistantships, and various interns and practicum students continually energizing SHS operations.

She has served as the president of the North Central College Health Association and has presented numerous times at American College Health meetings and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grantee meetings. She is frequently sought as a panelist regarding alcohol issues in higher education and the health care accreditation process. In 2000 the North Central College Health Association gave Khowassah the Gayle Proffit Award for her extensive contributions to college health, and in 2001 she was appointed to the Joint Commission's Ambulatory Health Care Advisory Council.

In addition to the Distinguished Achievement Awards, the following scholarships and awards will be announced at the awards ceremony:

The Jane A. Weiss Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to Jill Moffett, a doctoral student in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) women's studies program. The scholarship is named in honor of Jane Weiss, an assistant professor of women's studies and sociology at the time of her death in 1981. The award is made to doctoral students whose dissertations promise to expand understanding of important women's issues.

The Wynonna G. Hubbard Scholarship will be awarded to Courtney Lee Parker, an undergraduate student in CLAS's departments of English and religious studies. Established by the late UI Vice President Emeritus Philip G. Hubbard in memory of his wife, the award is given each year to an African-American woman with a grade-point average of 3.0 or above who demonstrates an unusual interest in the wellbeing of others.

The Margaret P. Benson Memorial Scholarship will be presented to two recipients: Monica Brasile, a doctoral student in the women's studies program, and Elizabeth King, an M.D. student in the Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine. This award was created by a designated bequest to the UI Foundation to recognize qualified female applicants who demonstrate financial need and are committed to women's issues, diversity and social activism. One or two awards are available each year. The scholarship is administered and recipients selected by the Women's Resource and Action Center (WRAC) at the UI.

The Jean Y. Jew Women's Rights Award will be given to Karla Miller, executive director of the Rape Victim Advocacy Program. The award is named for Jean Y. Jew, professor of anatomy, who fought an uphill battle for more than a decade to defend herself against slander and sexual harassment from faculty in her department, a struggle that she ultimately won. Given annually by the Council on the Status of Women and the WRAC, the award honors a faculty, staff or student member of the university community who has demonstrated outstanding effort or achievement in improving the status of women on campus.

The Adele Kimm Scholarship will be given to Caroline Schultz, an undergraduate student in women's studies and international studies. In 1992, a bequest from Adele Kimm, in memory of her brother S. Conrad Kimm and his wife Hilda, made it possible for the Women's Studies Program to award the Adele Kimm Scholarship to a deserving women's studies student.

The Ada Johnson/Otilia Maria Fernandez Women's Studies Fellowship will be given to Victoria Harbison, an undergraduate student in women's studies. The fellowship is named in honor of two Iowa graduates who are among the first African-American and Latina women to be found in University records. Begun in 1993, the award is given alternate years to an undergraduate or a graduate woman.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Jane Van Voorhis, coordinator of special events and outreach, Office of University Relations, 319-335-0011,; Writer: Stephen J. Pradarelli.