Press Release

June 9, 2021

John Whelan, Vice President of Human Resources and Chief Human Resources Officer at Indiana University, Receives CUPA-HR’s Donald E. Dickason Award

John Whelan, vice president of human resources and chief HR officer at Indiana University, has been selected to receive the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) 2021 Donald E. Dickason Award. This award, named for the association’s founder, is CUPA-HR’s highest honor, recognizing an individual for exceptional leadership and service to CUPA-HR. Thanks to the generous support of TIAA, CUPA-HR is pleased to offer an $8,000 contribution to Indiana University’s endowment or a scholarship fund of Whelan’s choice.

Whelan began his service to CUPA-HR when he joined the national board of directors in 2014, and since that time he has made significant contributions to the association. He has served in numerous leadership roles throughout the organization, including chair of the national board of directors, and member of the association’s research advisory, public policy, learning and professional development, and budget and finance committees. Whelan also served as a program guide for CUPA-HR’s Wildfire program, an immersive year-long program that helps a select group of early-career professionals find their passion for higher ed HR by connecting them with higher ed leaders and unique learning opportunities.

“John has always been one of the first people to step up and help facilitate any conversation that drives higher education HR forward,” said Mark Coldren, associate vice president of human resources at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York and previous recipient of the Donald E. Dickason Award. “His ideas carry great weight and credibility for everyone in CUPA-HR. We are better because John was an active leader in shaping the conversation and outcome for all of us to learn from.”



CUPA-HR is higher ed HR. We serve higher education by providing the knowledge, resources, advocacy and connections to achieve organizational and workforce excellence. Headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, and serving more than 33,000 HR professionals and other campus leaders at nearly 2,000 member institutions and organizations around the country and abroad, the association offers learning and professional development programs, higher education salary and benefits data, extensive online resources and just-in-time regulatory and legislative information.


Contact Information
Missy Kline
Project Manager and Media Contact


The CUPA-HR office will be closed Fridays through August 19.