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Women of the Hall

Year Honored: 2011
Birth: 1941 -
Born In: Ohio,
Achievements: Education, Government
Educated In: Ohio, New York
Schools Attended: Cleveland Public Schools, Western College for Women, The Maxwell School for Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University
Worked In: Florida, Wisconsin, New York, District of Columbia, Connecticut

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Donna E. Shalala

A groundbreaking educator and politician, Dr. Donna E. Shalala has more than thirty years of experience as an accomplished scholar, teacher and administrator.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Shalala received her A.B. in history from Western College for Women in 1962.  From 1962 - 1964, she served as one of the country’s first Peace Corps volunteers in Iran.  She earned her M.S.Sc. in 1968 and her Ph.D. in 1970 from The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.

Dr. Shalala became an Assistant Professor at Bernard Baruch College and later at Teachers College, Columbia University.  From 1980 - 1987, Dr. Shalala served as the President of Hunter College.  In 1987, she became the first woman to lead a Big Ten school as the Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a position she held until 1993.

In 1993, President William Clinton appointed Dr. Shalala as U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.  During her eight year tenure, she directed the welfare reform process, made health insurance available to millions of children, raised child immunization rates to the highest levels in history, led major reforms of the Food and Drug Administration’s approval process and food safety systems, and more.  Dr. Shalala is recognized as the longest serving U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, and was described by The Washington Post as “one of the most successful government managers of modern times.”

In 2001, Dr. Shalala became the President of the University of Miami.  Under her leadership, the university has solidified its position as one of the top research universities in the United States and continues to rise in national rankings.

Dr. Shalala is a Director of Gannett Co., Inc., the Lennar Corporation, and Mednax, Inc.  She is the recipient of more than three dozen honorary degrees and countless other honors.  In 2005, she was named one of America’s Best Leaders by U.S. News and World Report and the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.  In 2007, President George W. Bush selected Dr. Shalala to co-chair, with Senator Bob Dole, the commission on Care for Returning Wounded Warriors.  In 2008, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award.

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