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Alumna Dr. Teresa Woodruff named dean of graduate school at Northwestern University

Posted: Aug 22, 2017


Dr. Teresa Woodruff, a renowned reproductive scientist and graduate of Olivet Nazarene University, received Olivet’s “O” Award in 2016; delivered the undergraduate Commencement address in 2012; and received the Maggie Sloan Crawford Award as outstanding female graduate in 1985.

Teresa K. Woodruff, Ph.D. ’85, a graduate of Olivet Nazarene University’s Department of Biological Sciences, is the new dean of The Graduate School and associate provost for graduate education at Northwestern University (NU), effective Sept. 1.

“I’m thrilled to lead The Graduate School at Northwestern,” Dr. Woodruff says. “I look forward to enriching the environment in which learning, discovering and creating best thrive.”

At NU, Dr. Woodruff is the Thomas J. Watkins Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology; Vice Chair of Research (OB/GYN); Chief of the Division of Reproductive Science in Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine; director of the Center for Reproductive Science; director of the Oncofertility Consortium; professor of Molecular Biosciences at the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences; and professor of biomedical engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering. She earned her doctorate at NU and joined the faculty in 1995.

She has devoted her career to helping restore fertility in women who have undergone life-preserving cancer treatments that left them unable to conceive. Recently, featured her in the article “3-D printed ovary allows infertile mouse to mate and give birth.”

An internationally recognized expert in ovarian biology, she coined the term oncofertility in 2006 to describe an emerging field of research and medicine intended to preserve the fertility of cancer survivors. She has edited five books on the subject, covering every aspect of this new field of study — including religious viewpoints and ethical questions about these emerging technologies.

In 2013, TIME named Dr. Woodruff to its list of Most Influential Persons. In 2017, she received a Guggenheim Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Her project, Global Germ Cell Metallome, will generate an unprecedented view of germ cells from ocean corals to humans across the globe,

“I formulated my intellectual and spiritual values at Olivet,” Dr. Woodruff says. “My education provided these fundamental building blocks that have made me who I am today, and I am eternally grateful.”

To learn more about Olivet’s Department of Biological Sciences and areas of study, contact the Office of Admissions at or 800-648-1463.