Three alumni of the IU School of Education have received the Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest award given to an alum of the school. The award, founded in 1977, recognizes alumni who have enhanced the reputation of the school by distinguishing themselves in their careers through significant professional and civic contributions to their community, state, and nation.
“As Dean of the IU School of Education, it’s my honor to give out the Distinguished Alumni Award to these three incredibly deserving alumni,” said Dean Anastasia Morrone. “I’m so proud of the work our alumni do and the legacy they leave for our current and future students.”
This year’s DAA recipients will be recognized with an awards presentation and dinner this evening.
Pam Fischer (B.S.'88, M.A.'99)
Excellence in PreK-12 Education Award
Pam Fischer was a secondary English teacher for thirty-three years before retiring in May of 2021 and moving to Tucson, Arizona. Her life was profoundly shaped both personally and professionally by the Global Gateways Program beginning with her student teaching placement in Cheltenham, England, in the spring of 1988; she is still close to the Malyons, her host family, more than 35 years later. Indeed, that experience gave her the courage to land a position early in her career at ACS International in Cobham, Surrey, in England where she lived with the boarding school students on campus. Fischer taught at North Central High School, Lafayette Jefferson High School, Lawrence Central High School, and Park Tudor Schools.
Fischer has always prioritized attending to her students’ mental health long before it was explicitly recognized in the field as a best practice; she wanted her students to feel seen and safe in her classroom while pushing them to reach their greatest potentials as writers and critical thinkers. She completed a two-year term as the president of the Indiana University School of Education Alumni Board and has been a frequent speaker at the Global Gateway for Teachers Spring Workshop.
Fischer was an instructor with the Global Online Academy, an international consortium of leading schools the world over; she instructed students in a creative nonfiction course with pupils from Somalia, Kenya, Hong Kong, Mexico, and the United States. Several years ago, she launched a side gig as the College Application Whisperer. Most recently, she conducted a workshop this past June for Macedonian teachers about how to guide their students through the American college application process.
In Tucson, Fischer is co-chair of the high school scholarship committee in her neighborhood, awarding over $50,000 in scholarships to young women in the community. She received her B.S. in Education and M.A. from the IU School of Education.
Gene Tempel (M.A.’74, Ed.D.’85)
Excellence in Higher Education Award
Gene Tempel is Founding Dean Emeritus of the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and a Professor of Philanthropic Studies. He led the world’s first school devoted to research and teaching about philanthropy. An internationally recognized expert on the philanthropic sector, he has four decades of leadership and fundraising experience. He helped found the school’s precursor, the Center on Philanthropy, and was its executive director for 11 years, transforming it into a leading national resource. Generous donors recently established the Eugene R. Tempel Endowed Deanship at the school to honor Tempel. It will enable future deans to continue the development of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy to reach its full potential and to achieve its goal of improving philanthropy to improve the world.
A member of several nonprofit boards, Tempel is a past chair of the National Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Ethics Committee. An early leader in creating the field of philanthropic studies, he was the first elected president of the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council and a member of Independent Sector’s Expert Advisory Panel that helped create national guidelines for nonprofit governance and ethical behavior.
The author of several works in the field, he has won numerous awards and has been named among the 50 most influential nonprofit sector leaders 13 times by The NonProfit Times, which also named him the sector’s first "Influencer of the Year" in 2013. He earned his Ed.D. from the IU School of Education and is a Certified Fundraising Executive.
Dawn Whitehead (B.A.’97, M.S.’03, Ph.D.’07)
Outstanding Alumni Award
Dawn Michele Whitehead is the Vice President of the Office of Global Citizenship for Campus, Community, and Careers at the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). Her work focuses on advancing practices and strategies to integrate global, civic, and experiential learning across curricular and co-curricular initiatives and practices that advance equitable participation in global and community-based learning for all for work, life, and citizenship. She serves as the program director of AAC&U’s Annual Meeting, drawing on the broader work of AAC&U members and contemporary issues in higher education to create a compelling and timely meeting. She is also the director of AAC&U’s Institute on Integrative Learning and Signature Work and co-director of the Institute on Teaching and Learning for Campus-Wide Interfaith Excellence in collaboration with Interfaith Youth Core.
Whitehead has published several articles and book chapters on these topics, such as Teaching Civic Engagement Globally, "Cultivating a Global Civic Mindset," “Expanding the Perceptions and Realities of Global Learning: Connecting Disciplines through Integrative Global Learning and Assessment,” and “Reflections on Title VI from a National Perspective.” She has presented and published nationally and internationally and was named an inaugural member of the Institute for International Education’s National Academy for International Education. Whitehead is also vice-chair of the board of directors for The Forum on Education Abroad and vice-chair of the Indiana University Alumni Association Board of Managers. Whitehead also served as Director of Curriculum Internationalization and was the faculty director for community engaged global learning programs in Ghana, Kenya, and Costa Rica at Indiana University Purdue University-Indianapolis. She was also a social studies teacher at Pike High School in Indianapolis, Indiana. Whitehead holds a Ph.D. in Education Policy Studies with concentrations in African Studies and International and Comparative Education from the IU School of Education.