2022 Alumni Awards
Pat R. Whittington, PhD — Josephine Sitterle Failer Award
What is the Josephine Sitterle Failer Award?
Awarded to those whose voluntary personal involvement has enhanced the quality of student life at the university beyond the call of business or professional duty.
When new Ohio State students enter the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, they are told, “You need to see Dr. Pat. He has scholarships as you arrive and jobs as you leave.”
“Dr. Pat” is Pat Whittington ’82, assistant dean for student development in the college, who works tirelessly to find scholarships for students and link them to internships and jobs through the extensive network he’s built. Along the way, he’s mentored hundreds of students and devoted many hours to enriching the lives of others, stretching well beyond the expectations of his position.
Whittington works hard to wisely distribute the 1,600 scholarships his college gives annually. He is a consummate matchmaker, getting to know students to better understand their needs and background, then meeting with donors to identify their interests and criteria for giving. And once he makes the match, he helps to establish a personal connection between the student and donor.
“He truly cares deeply about the students of this university and devotes enormous time beyond his assigned duties to help as many as he can to become all they are capable of becoming.” L. H. Newcomb ’73 PhD, Professor and Senior Associate Dean Emeritus, College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
“I believe in building relationships,” he says. To that end, he hosts an annual banquet for scholarship recipients and donors. “It’s so important that they meet face to face. The donor can see that the student is a real person, and students can share their stories. Many times, a donor will say, ‘I'm amazed by what the students are doing and the challenges they face, and I want to support more of them.’”
Whittington also advises several student organizations, including Delta Theta Sigma, an agricultural fraternity, and Ohio Staters, Inc. which conducts service projects. And he has another job, what he calls “my fun job,” working as an announcer and statistician at basketball, football and lacrosse games. He often invites students to games so he can introduce them to prospective mentors or employers.
“I have been in higher education for 35 years; I know of no other person who is as giving of their time, selfless in service, or as committed to making a difference in the lives of others as Dr. Whittington.” Linda C. Martin, University of Tennessee
Whittington believes in giving back to Ohio State. He came to the university as a 17-year-old freshman, the son of an Ohio dairy farmer and teacher. Not only did he find a career path, he met his future wife Susie Whittington ’82, ’88 MS, ’91 PhD, an Ohio State professor of agricultural education. Together, they’ve established an endowment for undergraduate teacher education to ensure students have the same opportunities they did to flourish and succeed.