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Douglas Whitney '61

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Douglas E. Whitney received the B.Ch.E. degree from Cornell University in 1962, then earned a J.D. at Columbia Law School in 1965. He worked in patent litigation in New York and Boston and is now a patent litigator and senior partner at Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell in Wilmington, Delaware. His firm consistently has been ranked among the top ones in the country in the number of new patent cases filed or defended.

"In school and in my legal career, I’ve found that engineers who are able to communicate effectively achieve much more success in all fields. I wanted to support the dean’s awards program because I think excellent teachers in any discipline impart good communications skills, not only through classroom assignment but also through their daily example. Cornell’s teachers epitomize the best of that kind." —Douglas E. Whitney ’61, B.Ch.E. ’62

Mr. Whitney has been a steadfast supporter of Cornell University and the College of Engineering for many years. Among his varied interests are the chemical engineering facilities, engineering teaching funds, Cornell Botanic Gardens, the Johnson Museum, and the Cornell wrestling team. His priority, however, for more than 10 years has been to stimulate and inspire student interest in clear and effective technical communications. For several years, the Douglas Whitney Fund offered a cash prize of $1,000 to a Cornell senior in a technical field who submitted the best paper discussing the relationship of science or technology and the law.

In 1990, Mr. Whitney restructured the prize program to focus specifically on engineering students through the Engineering Communications Program, which shares his goal of helping students develop critical thinking skills as illustrated in clear, effective, written presentations. Mr. Whitney is personally involved each year in critiquing the essays and selecting the prize winner. He has also served as a guest lecturer in engineering communications courses.

In 1995, Mr. Whitney expanded the scope of his primary interest to include a teaching prize as well, a natural outgrowth of his desire that students learn strong communications skills.

Mr. Whitney has three sons; he and his wife, Helleke Nieterink Whitney, live in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania.