Volunteer Spotlight – March 2015

Mar 1, 2015

Mary Beth Donovan
University of Michigan

: Mary Beth Donovan

Chapter Position: President

Years of Service to the Chapter: 7 years

University Position: Retired (2010): Department of Biomedical Engineering

Degree(s)/Discipline: B.S., Business and Psychology

How did you become involved as a chapter officer? In 2007, then-Provost Theresa Sullivan invited all Phi Kappa Phi members in the Ann Arbor area to 'reinvigorate' the University of Michigan chapter. Inducted as a senior at Eastern Michigan University, I was employed at U-M and became Public Relations Officer of Chapter 039, the position I held until becoming President in 2012. 

What has your chapter done that has made you proud? Since 2007, we went from a barely active chapter to earning one Chapter of Merit and four consecutive Chapter of Excellence awards, most recently for 2013-14. During that period we also awarded $72,000 in chapter scholarships, had four national Fellowship winners (including one Marcus Urann), and initiated 65 faculty/staff/alumni members plus nearly 2,000 junior, senior and graduate students. 

What does Phi Kappa Phi mean to you? Earning membership in Phi Kappa Phi as a senior was a crowning achievement in my academic career. All my life, I've been intellectually curious and, to this day, I love pursuing new challenges. The Society's mission "Let the love of learning rule humanity" is also my personal mantra. 

What do you enjoy most about being a chapter officer?
 The opportunity to interact with today's outstanding University of Michigan students enriches my life. I learn so much from them and strive to pass along my career experience and life lessons. I particularly enjoy working closely with the Student Vice Presidents on our Executive Board (this year we have seven, down from nine for each of the previous two years). They have brought excellent ideas, led several projects, and helped the chapter become more meaningful to our student members

What advice would you give to a new chapter officer? Embrace the unknown, involve your student members, listen to and implement their ideas, and recruit enthusiastic faculty/staff members to help lead the chapter. Working with my team has brought a wonderful sense of fulfillment and made our chapter more vibrant. 

What are your hobbies? 
Photography, creating fiber art, travel, reading and spending time with family and friends. 

Where are you from? I was born in Detroit, Michigan, lived in the Washington D.C. area for 15 years, and returned to Michigan in 1980 where I've lived in and around Ann Arbor.