News, Obituaries

Edna C. Shalala passes away

Edna C. Shalala, President Donna E. Shalala’s mother, passed away early Tuesday afternoon following a brief illness. She was 103.

Edna Shalala graduated from Ohio State University in 1933 and worked as a physical education teacher. Nearly 20 years later, she went on to complete her law degree and worked as a tax lawyer until her retirement in 2002.

A nationally ranked tennis player, Shalala was an avid athlete, competing in the senior tennis circuit until she was 85.

The Edna C. Shalala Fund for Women’s Athletics was created in 2011 in honor of her 100th birthday to enhance and support the university’s women’s athletics program.

In a 2012 post on, President Shalala spoke about her mother’s effect on others.

“Affectionately called Mother Shalala by all who know her, my mother has fostered a deep, lifelong sense of community,” she said. “She has faced life’s challenges as opportunities to grow, to do better, and to ultimately do good for others.”

Vice President for Student Affairs Patricia Whitely shares similar sentiments.

“I was so honored to know and love Mother Shalala.  She was a true inspiration, a trailblazer, a tax lawyer, a competitive tennis player, supporter of UM sports, who was always so proud of her large extended family, including her twin daughters, Diane and President Shalala,” she said.

This year, the university will host the inaugural Edna C. Shalala 5K Run/Walk on Dec. 13 to benefit Shalala’s women’s athletics fund. The event will take place in her honor. For more information and to register for the event, visit

Shalala is survived by grandchildren, nieces, nephews, her sister Louise McGann and her two daughters, Diane and Donna E. Shalala.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

December 2, 2014


Erika Glass

Multimedia Editor

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