Desoto County News

Southaven St. Jude Communications Director Wins Award

Photo: Elizabeth Yoste Whittington (Courtesy photo)

Elizabeth Yoste Whittington, MBA, APR, of Southaven received the Mississippi University for Women Alumni Achievement Award during the institution’s Homecoming Convocation on April 6, 2024.  

“The W has been such a meaningful part of my life over the past 25 years. I use every opportunity to tell young people what an incredible place it is—from the mentors who changed my career trajectory to a strong network of friends, classmates, and alumni who have supported me from the day I stepped onto campus today,” she said in her acceptance speech.  

In addition, Katy Canion Pacelli of Brandon received the Alumni Service Award; former director of Student Life Wahnee Sherman of Lena was honored with the Distinguished Achievement Award. Taylor Vick of Baltimore received the Outstanding Recent Graduate Award.

“It is a great honor to celebrate these distinguished W alumni and award recipients,” said MUW Alumni Assoc. Pres. Heather Fasciocco Stone, a 2002 graduate of The W. “Their dedication and contributions to our beloved alma mater and the wider community are a testament to the power of education. Our alumni look forward to celebrating our cherished friends from The W during our annual Homecoming Convocation.” 

Whittington was honored with the 2024 Alumni Achievement Award, which recognizes those who have achieved professional distinction and contributed significant community service at the local, national, and international levels, bringing distinction and honor to The W.

As the senior director of executive communications at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, she has earned numerous awards for her science writing and communication efforts, including a Silver Anvil for a clinical trial recruitment that resulted in a cure for a rare pediatric disease, a Bronze Anvil for executive communications, and a fellowship to Medicine in the Media, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. Prior to her role at St. Jude, she served as digital managing editor of CURE Media Group, a publishing company focused on providing healthcare information to cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers.

Elizabeth Yoste Whittington
(Courtesy photo)

During her time as an alumna, Whittington served on the MUW Alumni Association Board twice, chairing the Public Relations Committee and serving on several other committees. She formalized the Mid South Chapter of the MUWAA, established the Troubadour Alumnae Assoc. and its long-standing scholarship, and is a member of the Black List Alumnae Assoc.

Whittington became involved in the Mid South Chapter of the MUWAA soon after moving to Southaven from Dallas, TX, in 2010. Her involvement in the Mid South Chapter is evidence of the 

 strong alumni presence in the area., especially DeSoto County. Katherine Shell Benson, the past president of the MUWAA, and Jermarra Jones-Price, incoming MUWAA president and Mid South Chapter president, also all call DeSoto County home.

“It’s incredible to see how much has changed since I graduated in 2000, but also how the core mission has remained the same,” Whittington stated. “The W still offers a supportive community, small class sizes that foster personalized learning, affordable tuition, a range of academic programs, and opportunities for involvement. I truly wouldn’t be where I am today without my experience at The W, which is why I continue to give back however I can.”

Whittington and her husband Jerry have two sons: Alexander Whittington, who is a student at DeSoto Central Middle School; and Jackson Whittington, who is a freshman at Blue Mountain Christian University. 

She is also a member of the Northwest Mississippi Writers Guild and is presently finalizing her first novel.