Distinguished Alumni Award


Diane Magrane 74BA, 78MD

2015 Achievement Award

Diane Magrane, 74BA, 78MD, a renowned visionary in women's health and academic medicine, has nurtured hundreds of women leaders to take the reins in academic health sciences and engineering.

A proud graduate of the University of Iowa who earned a bachelor's degree in zoology in 1974, and a doctorate of medicine in 1978, Magrane began her career fostering the next generation of physician leaders and scholars as an undergraduate education coordinator at the St. Louis University School of Medicine. In 1986, she joined the University of Vermont College of Medicine, where she designed an integrated medical education program that encourages students to help shape the future of health care. Says Harvard Macy Institute Director and long time collaborator Elizabeth Armstrong, "Her creative work resulted in one of the country's most innovative curricula addressing the needs of the students and patients in ways that were setting new standards for health care education."

"I was an 18-year-old aspiring poet when I arrived and a 26-year-old physician when I left."

A leader in obstetrics and gynecology, Magrane has made an enormous impact on the advancement of women in medicine. From 2004 to 2009, she revamped many women's leadership programs and became founder of an online professional development publication for medical faculty as a director at the Association of American Medical Colleges in Washington, DC.

Magrane now serves as executive director of the International Center for Executive Leadership in Academics at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Home to the country's premier women's leadership programs, the center celebrated the 20th anniversary last year of its award-winning Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine offering. In 2013, Magrane launched a similar program for the advancement of women leaders in the underrepresented fields of science and engineering, earning a national Women in Engineering Initiative Award for Executive Leadership in Academic Technology and Engineering (ELATE) at Drexel from the Women in Engineering ProActive Network.

Magrane's influence on the future of medical education extends to the international level. In 2001, she became president of the American Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics (APGO), setting national guidelines for undergraduate medical education in women's health. Magrane also built the women's health and rights curriculum for the International Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecology, improving the education and clinical care among health care providers. In 2006, APGO recognized her transformative leadership in medical education with a Wyeth Career Achievement Award.

Magrane credits the UI's rich liberal arts education for nurturing her passion for learning. "I was an 18-year-old aspiring poet when I arrived and a 26-year-old physician when I left," says Magrane, who has since served on the UI Carver College of Medicine Dean's Alumni Advisory Council. The college recognized her in 2002 with its Distinguished Alumna Award for Achievement. "Do your homework. Be clear on your goals. Deliver on what you promise. Some would say this last phrase is basic Midwestern work ethic. It works all over the world to garner respect and engagement."

An authentic leader, Diane Magrane has improved medical education and leadership on a global level and remains a strong advocate for women in science.

Magrane is a life member of the UI Alumni Association.


Career Highlights
  • St. Louis University School of Medicine, 1982-85
  • University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington, Vermont, 1986-2004
  • Fletcher Allen Health Care, Burlington, Vermont, 1986-2004
  • Association of American Medical Colleges, Washington, DC, 2004-09
  • Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, 2008-present

About Distinguished Alumni Awards

Since 1963, the University of Iowa has annually recognized accomplished alumni and friends with Distinguished Alumni Awards. Awards are presented in seven categories: Achievement, Service, Hickerson Recognition, Faculty, Staff, Recent Graduate, and Friend of the University.


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The Krause Essay Prize and its $10,000 award is presented annually by a unique panel of judges: UI graduate students. Photo: Tim Schoon/UI Office of Strategic Communication Students in the University of Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program's graduate seminar dug into their weekly reading assignments with particular enthusiasm this past spring?and for good reason. By the end of the semester, they were tasked with selecting the best of the bunch for a prestigious award on behalf of a university known for its literary tradition. This marks the 12th year that nonfiction graduate students served as judges for the newly renamed Krause Essay Prize, a national award presented to an essayist who pushes the boundaries of the genre through experimentation, exploration, and discovery. Thought to be the only national literary honor selected by students, the prize is accompanied by a $10,000 award for the first time this year thanks to a new partnership between the UI Nonfiction Writing Program and the Kyle J. and Sharon Krause Family Foundation. Shawn Wen, winner of the 2018 Krause Essay Prize, is the author of A Twenty Minute Silence Followed by Applause. Her writing has appeared in The New Inquiry, Seneca Review, Iowa Review, White Review, and the anthology City by City: Dispatches from the American Metropolis. This year's Krause Essay Prize recipient is Shawn Wen, a San Francisco-based multimedia artist and the author of A Twenty Minute Silence Followed by Applause (Sarabande Books, 2017), a book-length essay on the life of French mime Marcel Marceau. Wen, whom students selected from a pool of 14 nominees, accepted her award at a ceremony in September in the Old Capitol Senate Chamber. Nicol?s Medina Mora Perez, a third-year MFA student from Mexico City, was among the prize judges in the spring seminar taught by author and Nonfiction Writing Program director John D'Agata (98MFA). Perez said that beyond discussing the merits of the nominated essays each week, class conversations revolved around how they define essay writing and the type of nonfiction they wanted to champion as representatives of the UI. By serving as judges, Perez says, students had the opportunity to read a broad selection of contemporary nonfiction that they may not have otherwise sought out. "By the end of the semester I had a clearer idea of the sort of work that people are publishing today, which includes stuff that I'd like to imitate and stuff that I'd rather not," Perez says. "I guess it's a bit like watching the World Cup with your soccer teammates: You see moves that you think are cool and want to steal for your own gameplay, but you also notice pitfalls that you should learn to avoid." Wen says she's been "over the moon" since learning she was selected as this year's Krause Essay Prize winner. A producer for Youth Radio in Oakland, California, Wen says discovering essay writing "was very much like falling in love" and has long admired the UI's approach to the genre. "When I started writing essays, I felt like all these dusty windows in my brain were opened, letting in light and fresh air," she says. "It's incredibly meaningful to me that my writing has been recognized by this program and its students." D'Agata dreamed up the prize in 2007 as a way to introduce his students to high-caliber essay writing and the many forms it can take. The professor asked colleagues from around the country to recommend their favorite essays from the past year, which he then compiled into a reading list for his seminar. As an added twist, D'Agata noted that submissions could be from any medium?including radio and film?as long as they were "essayistic." To give class discussions a sense of consequence, D'Agata had students evaluate each piece at the end of the semester and select a single award winner. Author Aaron Kunin received the inaugural Essay Prize, as the award was previously known, and it soon became an annual tradition. D'Agata's seminar students spend the semester dissecting the pieces, giving presentations, and writing critiques for the The Essay Review, the Nonfiction Writing Program's national magazine. Over the years, the class has crowned winners as varied as poet?Claudia Rankine, science writer Oliver Sacks, performance artist Sophie Calle, and the producers of Radio Lab. A current group of 14 writers and artists from around the nation serve as the nominating committee, includes luminaries like Roxane Gay, Leslie Jamison (06MFA), and Kiese Laymon. "In the U.S. we do a great job teaching students about the powers and pleasures of reading and writing?poetry and fiction, but not so much with essays," says D'Agata, who in 2016 published an anthology titled The Making of the American Essay. "Essays are often an afterthought in literature classes in America." In 2017, the Kyle J. and Sharon Krause Family Foundation made a $500,000 donation to bolster the endowment of the UI Nonfiction Writing Program?the largest gift in the distinguished program's history. Founded in 1976, the Nonfiction Writing Program, a graduate program within the Department of English, is regularly ranked among the best in the nation and has launched the careers of alumni who have gone on to write for magazines like the New Yorker, Rolling Stone and Harper's. "The Krause Foundation is about giving back and giving forward," says Elliott Krause (14MFA), a Nonfiction Writing Program alumnus who now works at the Wall Street Journal. "Helping fund the Essay Prize is a rare chance to do both. Eleven Krauses and counting have graduated from the University of Iowa; the Krause Essay Prize is a way to both express our gratitude for all Iowa has given us and be a champion for the arts." The support from the Krause family has not only allowed the program to award a cash prize for the first time, but also to invite winners to campus to present their essays and spend time with students and faculty. When Wen visited in late September, she taught a series of master classes for nonfiction students. D'Agata says that the foundation's support further legitimizes the idea of a student-driven award and its importance to the literary world. "It's also helping to bring attention to the entire genre," D'Agata says. "There are a lot of awards out there for works of fiction and poetry, but very few awards for essays. This award is saying, 'essays are awesome.' If you're an essayist, you don't hear that very?often. The Krause Foundation is helping to fix that." Krause Essay Prize Winners The UI Nonfiction Writing Program has awarded a national essay-writing prize annually since 2007. With support from the Kyle J. and Sharon Krause Family Foundation, the award was renamed the Krause Essay Prize this year. For more on the prize, visit krauseessayprize.org. 2018: Shawn Wen, A Twenty Minute Silence Followed by Applause 2017: Peter Middleton and James Spinney, Notes on Blindness 2016: Oliver Sacks, Gratitude 2015: Claudia Rankine, Citizen 2014: Sophie Calle, The Address Book 2013: David Rakoff, Waiting 2012: Lauren Redniss, Radioactive 2011: Judith Schalansky, Atlas of Remote Islands 2010: Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, New Normal? 2009: Mary Ruefle, The Most of It 2008: Joshua Raskin, I Met the Walrus 2007: Aaron Kunin, Secret Architecture

Iowa alumni with shared connections are invited to join an affinity group. Some of these organizations are an extension of student interests, like Alumni Band or Dance Marathon Alumni Group.

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