Kathy Patterson Vrabeck ’85

“The experience I got at DePauw was so influential and so instrumental in my outlook on life.”

Kathy Vrabeck grew up in Muncie, Indiana, best known for its large university, Ball State, where both of her parents worked. She learned about DePauw through students who preceded her in high school, visited the campus and “liked everything about it,” ultimately graduating with majors in French and economics. Later, she earned an MBA from Indiana University. Kathy took away enduring lessons from her liberal arts education at DePauw, and she subsequently applied them to her business career: “It was really about learning how to learn.” Kathy’s donations to DePauw started small and, over the years, have increased significantly. In 2013 she committed $500,000 to The DePauw Trust, earmarked toward student access and financial aid, along with a pledge of $150,000 for The Fund for DePauw, the University’s signature annual giving program. As a DePauw trustee and member of the campaign committee, Kathy takes an active role in helping to shape University initiatives. Given the fact that she attended DePauw on a full scholarship, need-based aid particularly resonates with her. “It hit me early on,” she explains, “that somebody had provided my education, somebody I didn’t even know. I would not have been able to go to DePauw without the scholarship that I got when I came here.” 

Global travel has been an important component of all of Kathy’s jobs as a business executive. Her appreciation for other cultures was ignited during her time at DePauw, when she spent a full year studying abroad in France.

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