Ellen Whitt has been named executive director of The Exchange, a new Marian University initiative that will improve students’ opportunities for success by connecting them with community organizations throughout their academic career.
Whitt comes to Marian University from state government, where she held a number of positions during Mitch Daniels’ two terms as governor. Whitt most recently served in 2012 as assistant commissioner for the Indiana State Department of Health. She also served as director of INShape Indiana, director of the State Health Department’s Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity, senior advisor for Health Improvement, and deputy chief of staff to the governor. Prior to joining the Daniels Administration, Whitt worked for U.S. Senator Richard Lugar and Secretary of State Sue Anne Gilroy. Whitt also has experience in higher education, having served as director of the pre-law program at Butler University, where she also taught political science.
The Exchange is a new initiative at Marian University which integrates real world experience into the curriculum. Students will be required to interact with businesses, not-for-profits, government agencies, research labs, and other community partners through internships, community service initiatives, and academic projects. The intention is to help students determine what they want to do while developing a path that will lead them to career success. The Exchange is funded in part through a $1 million grant from Lilly Endowment, Inc.
“The success of The Exchange is dependent upon Marian University’s ability to connect our students to a variety of community partners,” Marian University President Dan Elsener said. “Because of her experience and extensive network across Indiana, Ellen Whitt is the ideal person to lead this bold, new initiative. She will undoubtedly craft and uncover new opportunities for experiential learning for Marian University students, creating a win-win for the students and the community.”
Whitt earned her law degree from George Washington University National Law Center in Washington, D.C. She also holds a bachelor of arts degree from Augustana College in Illinois, where she majored in English and Political Science.