March 8, 1999

Administrator receives award

by Josh Renaud
staff assistant

Kathy Osborn, vice chancellor for University Relations, was awarded the UM Presidential Citation Award for Alumni Service in Jefferson City on Feb. 24 by UM System President Manuel Pacheco.

Osborn was nominated for the award by some alumni in the Alumni Association, including Dave Adam, the president.

"Kathy has been a pioneer in helping to develop a modern urban University through [these] programs," Adam said. "This is a high honor, and she is a very deserving recipient."

Adam said that Osborn developed a very effective alumni association during her tenure as director of Alumni Relations, and continued to foster partnerships between the University and important community institutions.

"I came 13 years ago, and at the time we were looking to reorganize and develop a new plan for the Alumni Association," Osborn explained. "I had a tremendous opportunity to come in when they were looking for change and have the support of the campus leadership."

"It was really exciting to see how many alums would come forward to participate and help," she said. "It was lots of work, with many evening meetings, but we did it."

A UM-St. Louis graduate herself, Osborn said she enjoyed her years as a student, and never expected to be employed by the University later in life. Her experiences as a student, she said, paved the way for working in Alumni Relations.

"I had the tenured faculty members at UMSL," she said. "I thought the teaching staff was fabulous. It was an exciting time when the people were building the campus and construction was going on everywhere. I was part of something very special. When I came to do the alumni job, I had all that experience. . .and I felt like I was really able to connect with the alumni I worked with."

One of Osborn's objectives during her time in Alumni Relations, she said, was to inject life into an organization that was lacking involvement. She developed a variety of programs and events designed to interest alumni. In addition, Osborn was proud of her efforts to encourage diversity in the Alumni Association, particularly by reaching out to minorities.

"I felt that our strength as a campus is in our diversity, and I particularly felt we needed to reach out to African-Americans and women and other minorities," she said. "If you look at all our alumni boards, there is a great diversity in them and the leadership."

When several members of the Alumni Association told Osborn they planned to nominate her for the award, she said she initially told them no, but they insisted on it.

"In former years, I was always recommending other people [for the award] because we have had a lot of people that deserve it," she said. "So it was meaningful to me that so many people came together and said I deserved this."

This article was reprinted with permission from The Current.


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