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First Family Scholarship Established Through Estate of Katharine Weisiger Osborne

November 24, 2008

Category: Academics, Gifts


Katharine OsborneThrough a gift from the estate of the Katharine Weisiger Osborne, a Catawba College Trustee who died on April 3, 2008, a new First Family Scholarship has been established at the College. The Katharine W. Osborne First Family Endowed Scholarship will assist future students of high academic quality in attending Catawba.

The late Katharine Osborne was a staunch supporter of Catawba College, not because the institution was her alma mater, but because later in her life she grew to love the College and understood its importance to the local Salisbury community and to the students it served.

Raised in Salisbury, Katharine graduated from Sweet Briar College in Virginia with a degree in sociology and religion. After she married, she moved to Charlotte and raised her family. It was after the death of husband Robert that Katharine returned to Salisbury and realized she needed some intellectual stimulation in her life. She found some of that stimulation at Catawba, initially enrolling in a class at the institution.

This voracious reader, poet and writer found a haven at Catawba. She attended various symposia and literaryEvents at the College, kindling her thoughts and stimulating her mind.

She became a member of the Catawba College Board of Trustees in 1992 and served on its Student Affairs Committee. She realized that successful students were those who excelled in the classroom and were challenged and engaged by their involvement in co-curricularEvents. Katharine’s foresight led to the establishment of the First Family Scholarship through her estate.

"We are grateful to Katharine for looking out beyond her life to establish this scholarship which will benefit future generations of Catawba students," said Catawba Senior Vice President Tom Childress. "This scholarship will serve as a lasting tribute to Katharine and the role that education and lifelong learning played in her life."

In addition to Catawba, Katharine supported the Rowan Public Library and its Foundation, served as a trustee of Rowan Museum, was a hospice volunteer, treasurer for many years of the Rowan Art Guild, and was a Girl Scout leader when her daughters were young. She sponsored the Celebrating Women in History Program at Livingstone College, which benefited the United Negro College Fund, and also served at one time on the Livingstone College Advancement Council. She was a sponsor and presenter at the Central Piedmont Community College Literary Festival in Charlotte, and one of her favorite organizations in Salisbury was the Waterworks Visual Arts Center.

She was a member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Salisbury, having served as a member of the Vestry, the Altar Guild, and was the first elected woman trustee of the St. Luke’s Episcopal Church Foundation. She had been a member of the Women’s Issues Committee for the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina

Katharine was preceded in death by her husband, Robert Osborne whom she married in 1952. Survivors include her three children, Katharine Osborne Spirtes of East Moriches, N.Y., Jeanne Osborne Wurster of Gainesville, Fla., and Robert Victor Osborne, Jr. of Chapel Hill, N.C.; a brother and four grandchildren.


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