On December 12, 2013 the family of the late Kathleen Watson gathered in the Communication Arts Department’s CommArts Studio for the dedication of the Kathleen Watson Lending Library. They were joined by the faculty and staff of the department, Dean Brian Schriner from the College of Architecture + The Arts, and Kathleen’s friends, colleagues and former students
“We wanted to do something to honor Kathleen, who was a founding faculty member of the department. She always had an open door policy for students and was known for offering advice and lending her books to any student who asked. We also wanted to thank her husband, Herman Watson and Dean Schriner, whose generous gifts to the university have endowed the Kathleen Watson Memorial Scholarship,” said Joann Brown, Chair of Communication Arts.
The lending library contains many of Kathleen’s books along with others purchased by the department. It is open to all students and those enrolled in Speech and Communication classes may borrow books. The library contains classic texts like Dale Carnegie’s The Art of Public Speaking and contemporary books like Carmine Gallo’s The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs, along with books and videos on argumentation, debate, rhetorical theory and conflict resolution.
In addition to dedicating the lending library, the ceremony also featured the first recipient of the Kathleen Watson Memorial Scholarship, Jennifer Zamont, who thanked the family and Dean Schriner for their generosity. She shared how the scholarship helped her with the high costs of books. “As a working mother and a student, making ends meet is a struggle. The scholarship helped me breathe a little easier and I am very grateful,” said Jennifer. The 2014 scholarship recipient, Dalny Ruel was announced and she also expressed her gratitude and empathized with the Watson family: “I lost my mother to cancer also. She was my rock and it is not easy going on without her. I know she would be very proud of me though and she will be there in spirit when I graduate next semester. Thank you for helping me.”
After the ceremony, guests spilled out into the hallway for a reception, where the bulletin boards were decorated with birthday greetings for Kathleen, who was born on December 12th, along with decorations for Christmas, Hannukkah, Groundhog’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, the Chinese New Year and just about every other holiday one could imagine. Many of the items came from Kathleen’s office. “Kathleen was the holiday queen,” said Char Eberly, the Assistant Director of the CommArts Studio. “She loved the holidays and had a decoration for every one of them. We wanted to keep that tradition going and celebrate her cheerful, happy spirit – and her birthday.” The family members chuckled as they spotted particular decorations, including a quilted star ornament that Herman Watson recognized as one made to hang on their Christmas tree when the children were small. As the family posed for pictures and looked over the lending library, the song “Keep me in your heart for awhile” played quietly in the background.
Photos: Kathleen Watson family; Dalny Ruel and Jennifer Zamont, 2013 and 2014 scholarship recipients; Dean Brian Schriner and Chair of Communication Arts Joann Brown