Telle Whitney

Digital Library
Award Recipient
Telle Whitney

ACM Distinguished Service Award

USA - 2008


For significant service to the computing community, by founding and leading initiatives and institutes that have positively impacted the professional careers of women in computing.

Telle Whitney has had a profound impact on the participation and success of women in computing, and thus on the entire computing community, through her roles in the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (Hopper) conference series, her leadership of the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology (ABI), and her co-founding of the National Center for Women in Information Technology. Telle has made many other valuable service contributions to the field including serving as Secretary-Treasurer of ACM and member of the Queue Advisory Board, the CRA Committee on the Status of Women (CRA-W), the advisory board of MentorNet, and a variety of NSF committees including the Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering and the CISE Advisory Committee.

In 1992, Telle Whitney and Anita Borg proposed a conference that would bring the research and career interests of women in computing to the forefront. The first Hopper conference was held in DC in 1994 with 450 women (and a few men). Starting out as a triennial conference, it has grown to an annual conference, with 1450 people attending the most recent conference in 2008. Attending Hopper is widely recognized as one of the best ways to encourage women to major in computing, continue on to graduate school, and stay in a computing career.

Telle took over the leadership of the Institute for Women and Technology (IWT), which had been founded by Anita Borg, when Anita's health declined. Under her leadership this institute, which was renamed the Anita Borg Institute in honor of Anita, has initiated several programs to attract and retain women in technology careers and focus the attention of technology on the needs of women. Example initiatives include the TechLeaders series of workshops and the Women of Vision recognition events.