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Aggie Hall of Fame Spotlight: Cathy Donald-Whitney

Submitted by Panhandle State Sports Information on 01/24/2017 The 2016 Aggie Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Banquet takes place Friday, Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom at Panhandle State. The 2016 Aggie Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Banquet takes place Friday, Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom at Panhandle State.

Goodwell, Okla.—One of Panhandle's premier track athletes will be added to the Aggie Hall of Fame at the 2016 Induction Ceremony on Feb. 3. Cathy Donald-Whitney is one of the most highly decorated female athletes to have honed her skills here in Goodwell.

A member of the Aggie Track and Field team from 1980-1984, Whitney's list of athletic accomplishments include NAIA National Outdoor Championships Double All-American (100-meter and 200-meter), NAIA District IX 200-meter Champion and NAIA District IX Women's Track High-Point Winner. She earned NAIA All-American honors three years in a row (1982-1984) and claimed academic accolades as an NAIA Scholar-Athlete in 1984.

Voted PSU's Most Valuable Performer for Women's Track, Whitney holds school records for the 100, 200 and 300-meter races, and was the 100-meter champion and member of the first place 4x100-meter and 4x400-meter relay teams at the PSU Relays. One particular moment of pride came when an Olympic sub-committee selected her to participate in the R.O.C. International Track and Field Meet in Taiwan. Whitney not only competed at the event, she received a gold medal as a member of the USA's 4x100-meter relay team. She recalls trading items (t-shirts, stickers, etc.) with the other international athletes and enjoying the cultural diversity that came with the experience.

Whitney came to Panhandle State from Broadview, Ill. where she had been running and competing in track since the fifth grade. The youngest of three girls in her family, she attributes some of her success from having older siblings to guide her and to very supportive parents. Sharing her own philosophy for success Whitney commented, "When you have goals and stick to a plan, you have a better outcome."

When asked what kept her coming back to PSU Whitney was quick to respond saying, "I enjoyed my experience at PSU as it was a time of discovery, cultivated by academic and athletic enrichment." She admitted that living in Goodwell was a hard adjustment at first, but she enjoyed coming out of her comfort zone and getting to know people outside of her regular surroundings. "I really liked the relaxed environment and thought the dorms were very comfortable and nice." She even remembers winning the Holter Hall Queen title in 1983. Other fond memories included watching the "Bomb Squad" cheering section at basketball games, "They all wore red shirts and would be really loud and heckle the other team."

Also appreciative of the coaching she received while running for the Aggies, the athlete remembers early morning drills that helped her with start time as well long runs back to campus that served as conditioning for the team. Whitney says that her dedication and love of the sport made her easy to coach, although she admitted she could be a bit stubborn at times. Although the 200-meter was her favorite race, she really enjoyed being a part of relay teams because she enjoyed the group dynamics and collaborative effort. Laughing as she remembered one 4 X 400 relay in particular in which she was the last runner she recalled being behind throughout the race and then sprinting for the final 200 meters and catching up with her opponent, "She cried because she was so upset that I beat her and our team won.. I remember I felt really bad and was hugging her to try and console her."

Although other teams scouted her during her years as an Aggie, Whitney remained dedicated to PSU and to earning the degree she had started. The Biology major spoke fondly of her academic advisor, Dr. Serafin Ramon, whom she credits for her interest in science. "I remember Dr. Ramon told me to try out Biology for one year, and I ended up loving it." Whitney herself now inspires the minds of future scientists as a Biology Professor at Collin College in McKinney, Texas, where she has taught for the past 23 years. Enjoying being able to interact with students of all ages at the community college level, Whitney says that she is "really into the subject matter" and loves "seeing the mix of generations" at the school.

After graduating with her Bachelors of Science degree at Panhandle, Whitney went on to earn a Master's in Biology from Texas Women's University. She is the Current-District Coordinator for the fall Faculty Development Conference at Collin College and serves as the school's Current-District Co-Chair of the African American History Month Task Force. Also acting as District Chair of the Annual Science Day for middle school students hosted at Collin College, Whitney has quite obviously carried her love of science throughout her career.

Over the last decade she's been nominated and selected as Collin College District Faculty Council President, awarded a research sabbatical on the Application of the Scientific Method at the Collin County Medical Examiner office, received the Outstanding Professor of the Year Finalist award, numerous Faculty Recognition and Service awards and a five-time recipient of the Who's Who Teaching Excellence award.

When she is not busy spreading her passion for all things "science", Whitney enjoys traveling with her husband of 23 years, Delbert. "Our favorite places are Hawaii and Jamaica! In fact, we've got a big trip to Hawaii planned for this summer; we'll spend almost a month there." Also a member of the United States Bowling Congress (USBC), she has competed as a league bowler in the Plano Superbowl. Her team awards include High Handicap Series for Women and taking third and then second place team awards in the past two years. She still keeps up with her favorite sport and recently learned there is a senior track club group in her area that she plans to investigate.

Both Cathy and husband Delbert will attend at the 2016 Aggie Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Banquet set for Friday, Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom at OPSU. When asked of her reaction to the induction Whitney responded honestly saying, "I was very excited, but I confess that I had to pull up last year's video to make sure I heard correctly." This year's ceremony will also be streamed live via video with an online link to be released as the date approaches.

Offering a few final words of advice to current and future Aggies, Whitney stated, "It is important to focus on athletics, but be sure to embrace your education and make your commitment to your sport as strong as to your academics." Those interested in attending the banquet may contact Jerry Olson at 580-349-1344 or by email at Seating is limited, so reservations are encouraged. Manny Acosta, Frank Beede and Larry Welch are the three other Aggies bring inducted into the Class of 2016.