Citation for Teresa K. Woodruff

Presented by Trustee Sarah Risley Pearson ’75

President Hansen, I am honored to present Teresa K. Woodruff.

The riddles and mysteries that scientists work to solve can often be summed up with one deceptively simple phrase: How does this affect that?

Teresa Woodruff is a renowned researcher at the forefront of her field, exploring how cancer in women affects their ability to have children, and how science can help to expand options for cancer survivors whose fertility has been or will be compromised. The term “oncofertility” – coined by Teresa – describes a critically important emerging field.

At Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, Dr. Woodruff is the founder and director of the Institute for Women’s Health Research and also directs the innovative Oncofertility Consortium. Under this interdisciplinary model that comprises 50 sites around the country, a diverse array of disciplines, from reproductive medicine and biomechanics to bioethics and religion, inform and enrich research across boundaries.

Imagine the despair of a young woman whose fertility might be compromised as a result of cancer treatments. Next, imagine her response when she learns of a promising new technique, described by Dr. Woodruff just a few weeks ago during the annual meeting of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, for preserving ovarian tissue to safeguard the future fertility even of the youngest cancer survivors. The promise offered to this woman — to so many women — is a remarkable one. And this promise captures the fragile yet universally powerful idea that drives Dr. Woodruff’s work. It is called “hope.”

For her visionary and hopeful work focused on improving human lives, I present Dr. Theresa K. Woodruff for the degree Doctor of Science.

President’s Conferral:

Teresa Woodruff, you have turned up the power of science by creating an interdisciplinary approach to giving women who are cancer survivors the precious chance to create new life. Therefore, by the authority vested in me by the Board of Trustees, I hereby confer upon you the degree Doctor of Science, with all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities which here and everywhere pertain to this degree.