The Ohio State University Alumni Association — OSU Alumni Nov-Dec 2014
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Choosing Her Own Path
Terri Stone

Faye Wattleton, a 1964 graduate of the College of Nursing and former president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, has earned the Alumni Medalist Award, the Association’s highest honor. The award goes to alumni who have gained national or international distinction in their chosen field or profession. Wattleton has been a strong champion of women’s rights and reproductive health for five decades.

Alumni rank at the top of Ohio State’s greatest assets. In celebration of a distinguished group of graduates, the 56th annual Alumni Awards were presented September 12 at the Ohio Union.

As a health care provider, activist, author and businesswoman, Faye Wattleton has dedicated her life to preserving and advancing the rights of women. Raised in St. Louis by her mother (an evangelist) and father (a construction worker), she developed an interest for obstetrical and child care at Ohio State, where she graduated in nursing in 1964.

In her first professional position right out of Ohio State, Wattleton taught student nurses in labor and delivery at Miami Valley Hospital. Her leadership ability and concern for the health of women and children became evident in her role of assistant director of nursing and CEO of the Visiting Nurses Association for the Dayton, Ohio, Department of Health. There, she supervised medical services for pregnant adolescent girls and created a neighborhood prenatal care program that became a model for agencies nationwide.

Wattleton first served as a member of the board of directors and then held the post of CEO of Planned Parenthood of Miami Valley. In 1978, she became the youngest and first African American president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She also was the longest-tenured chief executive and the first person to serve as president of the organization, a position she held until 1992.

She later co-founded and served as president of the Center for the Advancement of Women, dedicated to research-based education and advocacy for women, and serves as a director for public corporations and nonprofit organizations. Currently, she is a managing director of Alvarez and Marsal, an international consulting firm.

Choosing to study nursing was perhaps her most important professional decision, Wattleton said. She also earned a master’s degree in maternal and infant care and certification in nurse midwifery from Columbia University.

Throughout her career, Wattleton has brought national and international distinction to her profession and to the Ohio State community. Along the way, she has acquired 14 honorary degrees and numerous honors and awards for her service to women around the globe. She is a 1986 inductee to the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame and 1993 inductee to the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

“I entered Ohio State during my formative years of late adolescence,” Wattleton said. “My values were influenced and honed by the intensity of the experiences of a nursing major. Because of Ohio State, the foundation was laid for leadership, service and advocacy for women’s self-determination in our nation and around the globe.”

2014 Alumni Award winners

Dan L. Heinlen Award
Steven Jemison ’75

Josephine Sitterle Failer Award
Linda C. Stone ’79

Professional Achievement Award
Ron O’Brien ’59 ’61 ’67
Dale A. Seiberling ’50 ’51

William Oxley Thompson Alumni Award
Chukwuemeka N. Onyejekwe ’02
David E. Vollman ’01 ’06 ’06

Ralph Davenport Mershon Award
John L. Melvin ’55 ’60 ’66
Jeffrey A. Myers ’67 ’67 ’73

Robert M. Duncan
Alumni Citizenship Award
Stephen P. Blythe ’80
Ann Thomas-McDonald ’88

E. Gordon Gee Spirit of Ohio State Award
Aaron Craft ’14