by Anne Porter|
The St. Louis Regional Commerce and Growth Association, or RCGA, multiplied its effectiveness a hundred times just by adding one valuable servant, Kathy Osborn.
Osborn has served at UM-St. Louis for thirteen-and-a-half years in five different positions. Her last position as vice-chancellor of University Relations was the culmination of her stay at UM-St. Louis. A farewell reception is set for Wednesday from 4-6 p. m. in the Summit Lounge.
Osborn, at the RCGA, will lead an endeavor called the Regional Business Roundtable, which will represent large and mid-size St. Louis area companies.
Osborn does not view this as leaving a position, but fulfilling a mission which is to develop new models for the community in both discourse and engagement.
Job training and other community focused programs will help to accomplish the goals of the Business Roundtable.
"I think they would like me to work with other organizations, whether that's universities or cultural institutes, and develop ways which they can partner with the RCGA," Osborn said.
Osborn describes herself as mission driven which she traces back to one of her first jobs as a vocational teacher at Ritenour Vocational Prep School in St. Louis, where she taught disadvantaged youth job readiness skills.
"Coming to [UM-St. Louis] came out of a sense [that] there's something important to do. What's happened here has been a wonderful opportunity for me as [I] have been able to work hard, get involved with a lot of our constituents, raise some money. There's always been an opportunity," Osborn said.
To define her mission and drive, Osborn talked a little about her work ethic.
"I do like to read things. I do like to take a problem, come up with a solution, and work collaboratively with people," Osborn said.
One project in which Osborn played a part can be visited on the UM-St. Louis campus, the Mercantile Library.
"Mercantile was a very exciting project. We had to work with a lot of people. Some who knew us and some who did not," Osborn said.
Through the Mercantile, much of the history of St. Louis is made available, especially in the Globe-Democrat archives.
Her favorite position at UM-St. Louis was her first, the manager of Alumni Activities.
"I got out in almost every major company, every school district, every government [agency]. Wherever alums were, I just got out and traveled. It gave me a really good sense about who we were and then I was able to excite our graduates about getting involved, and we started to put together our boards and our chapters," Osborn said.
The third year that this program was implemented, it won a national award. Osborn simply considers herself a catalyst that brought other faculty, alumni, and staff together to make this program work.
Osborn views all of these steps and programs as the means for Chancellor Blanche Touhill's vision.
"I think she is building the University for the twenty-first century. She is on a lot of boards across the country and what she views is to be one of the great urban universities," Osborn said.
The new Student Center will help to make this vision happen by placing all the services in one building, increasing accessibility. Osborn believes this is as much of a mental revitalization for UM-St. Louis as a physical one.
Osborn will most certainly be missed at UM-St. Louis, but her reach will still be felt in the St. Louis community with the help of the RCGA.