Distinguished Alumni Award

Robin L. Green 77MFA

2014 Achievement Award

Mitchell Burgess, 78BA, and Robin L. Green, 77MFA, are a literary power couple who have written and produced some of the most highly acclaimed television shows of the last two decades, rejecting standard tropes in favor of exceptional storytelling.

Not only has this talented husband-and-wife team crafted award-winning tales throughout their distinguished careers, but they also have remained loyal to the alma mater that launched their personal and professional partnership.

Burgess, who came to the University of Iowa on the G.I. Bill, first met Green when he enrolled in a fictionwriting class for which she was the teaching fellow. She had arrived at the UI after completing her undergraduate degree in American literature from Brown University in 1967 and working as a contributing editor for Rolling Stone. She attended the Iowa Writers' Workshop, receiving her M.F.A. degree in 1977, and Burgess completed his undergraduate degree in history in 1978.

After graduation, Green and Burgess moved to Los Angeles, where John Falsey, a workshop classmate, asked Green to write a script for a show he'd co-created called A Year in the Life. Burgess and Green then began their collaboration on Northern Exposure, finding their calling as the writers and producers of widely lauded television shows featuring complex characters and deep themes. Alan MacVey, director of the UI Division of Performing Arts and chair of the UI Department of Theatre Arts, says, "Their work helped transform television from a moderately entertaining medium to one of the most creative enterprises in recent history."

Beginning with an Emmy and Golden Globes for Northern Exposure, Burgess and Green have won every major award in their field. They are best known for their work on the groundbreaking HBO series The Sopranos, which earned Emmys in 2001 and 2003 for Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series; the 2004 Emmy, Outstanding Drama Series; the 2005 Producers Guild Award, Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Drama; and the 2007 Writers Guild Award, Dramatic Series.

Most recently, Burgess and Green have created the highly rated CBS show Blue Bloods, now completing its fourth season and recently sold into worldwide syndication.

Throughout, the two never forgot the University of Iowa. They have returned to campus to meet with students and, in 2002, established the Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess Fund for the Iowa Writers' Workshop. In 2004, they were honored as UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Alumni Fellows for their outstanding contributions to their professions and society.

Indeed, Robin L. Green and Mitchell Burgess have written and produced some of the most groundbreaking shows on television, creating stories with depth, intrigue, and integrity that continue to resonate.

Green and Burgess are members of the UI Alumni Association's Old Capitol Club and the UI Foundation's Presidents Club.

About Distinguished Alumni Awards

Since 1963, the University of Iowa has annually recognized accomplished alumni and friends with Distinguished Alumni Awards. Awards are presented in seven categories: Achievement, Service, Hickerson Recognition, Faculty, Staff, Recent Graduate, and Friend of the University.

Related Content

As the UI celebrates 175 years, we look back at a famed novelist's 1991 eulogy for the influential Iowa Writers' Workshop director.

The Tippie College of Business graduate is vice president of consumer creation strategy at the sportswear company's headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon.

With the start of a new year upon us, it's time to look back at your favorite University of Iowa stories from 2018. Here are Iowa Magazine's top 10 most-read articles of the year: The Nomadic Life (spring 2018) Hawkeye football favorite Paki O'Meara (10BA) finds ultimate freedom in backpacking around the world, taking photos that inspire a sense of wonder. PHOTO COURTESY PAKI O'MEARA Kinnick at 100 (summer 2018) This past summer marked two historically significant dates for Hawkeye fans: the 100th anniversary of the birth of Nile Kinnick (40BA), and the 75th anniversary of his tragic death. In memory of Iowa's favorite son, scholar, and Ironman, we look back on his life and legacy. Ahead of the Game (spring 2018) The Iowa football team becomes the first in the nation to equip the majority of its players with a state-of-the-art new helmet designed to improve player safety. PHOTO: MARK STASTNY Hollywood U (fall 2018) Alumni success in TV and film shines the spotlight on Iowa's? flourishing screenwriting program. ILLUSTRATION: FABIEN GILBERT / ARTISTIQUE INTERNATIONAL Mountain Roots (spring 2018) Nearly 80 years ago, an unlikely UI mountain-climbing club emerged from the cornfields of Iowa to become one of the most active in the world. Now the next generation of outdoorsmen continue in their Hawkeye family's footsteps. PHOTO COURTESY EBERT FAMILY The Secrets of Sleep (fall 2018) UI doctors and researchers work to shine light on the third of our lives we spend in the dark. Illustration: John Emigh Fry's Dream Team (fall 2018) FRYFest honors Hayden Fry's legendary 1983 coaching tree. PHOTO: UI ATHLETICS Going the Distance (spring 2018) UI-trained dentist Deb Carneol (92DDS) completes seven marathons on seven continents in seven days. PHOTO: MARK CONLON/WORLDMARATHONCHALLENGE.COM At 105, Our Oldest Hawkeye? (spring 2018) Catherine Shaw Shors (35BSC), who earned her business degree from Iowa more than eight decades ago, celebrated a milestone birthday in May. 1936 HAWKEYE YEARBOOK A Heroic Homecoming (spring 2018) Avengers: Infinity War director Joe Russo (92BA) receives a superhero's welcome at his alma mater. PHOTOS: Justin Torner

The Iowa Women's Leadership Network exists to engage, enrich & inspire lifelong growth and community.

We use cookies to understand how you use our site and to improve your experience. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies in accordance with our Privacy Statement unless you have disabled them in your browser.