Oct. 20, 2020



Dr. Colien Hefferan '71.

Congratulations to Dr. Colien Hefferan '71, the Honors College 2020 Alumna of the Year! 

Dr. Hefferan bestows honor on the UA Honors College and embodies the mission of the college through her long and illustrious career of serving others, striving to achieve at the highest levels, and a commitment to lifelong learning and intellectual engagement.”  Dean Terry L. Hunt

Dr. Colien Hefferan earned her B.S. from the University of Arizona and her M.S. and PhD from the University of Illinois. Before joining the USDA she worked in academia: as a research fellow at the Australian National University in Canberra, an adjunct faculty member at the University of Maryland, and as an assistant professor of behavioral economics at Pennsylvania State University. She joined the USDA in 1979 as an economist with the Family Economics Research Group, Agricultural Research Service. Thereafter she transferred to the Cooperative State Research Service in 1988, where she served as Deputy Administrator for Natural Resources, Food and Social Sciences. When the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) was established in 1994, Hefferan became Deputy Administrator for Competitive Research, Grants, and Award Management. She also served as Acting Administrator of CSREES. She became Administrator in 2000. In December 2010, Hefferan was appointed director of the U.S. National Arboretum where she worked to conserve the National Arboretum’s world-renowned plant collections and strongly supported the promotion of its research activities. Colien is currently enjoying retirement in Northern Virginia.