NEWTON, MA | February 2, 2010
Former EDC President and CEO Janet Whitla, who led the organization for 25 years, has been named the recipient of the Wellesley College Alumnae Achievement Award, the highest honor given to alumnae for excellence and distinction in their fields.
Under Whitla’s leadership from 1981 to 2006, EDC grew to become one of the world’s leading health and education research and development organizations. Her vision and leadership skills guided EDC through unprecedented growth, including a dramatic expansion of its international work. During her tenure, EDC launched more than 300 projects in 64 countries and expanded its annual revenues from $5 million to $125 million.
Whitla joined EDC in 1966 as a research assistant and held positions in research, development, and administration. Over the years, her work at EDC shaped a guiding belief that learning is the essential element in human progress. As she wrote in the 2004 EDC Annual Report, “(Long ago, I) concluded that learning is not only the most fundamental human behavior, at the core of consciousness, but also the liberating force in human development.”
“For decades, Janet has been at the forefront of promoting research and practice in education, inside and outside of the United States,” said Karen Gentleman, president of the Wellesley College Alumnae Association. “It is our pleasure to bestow this award on someone who stands out in the world for the quality of her ideas, her skill in managing organizations, and her integrity, courage, wisdom, and modesty.”
Whitla has written and contributed to numerous publications and research works and presented on a wide variety of educational topics at national and international forums. She has led and served on a number of boards and committees, including the Handel and Haydn Society and the New Bedford Whaling Museum. Whitla (Class of 1952) and art historian Alvia Wardlaw (Class of 1969) are to be presented with the 2010 Achievement Award at ceremonies to be held February 11 at 5:30 p.m. in Wellesley’s Houghton Memorial Chapel, with a reception to follow. For more information, visit: wellesley.edu/Alum/Awards/AAA/