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.
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.