By: Alexis Mitchell
On average, 2,500 students at the University of Findlay go to the Oiler Success Center every semester. These 2,500 individuals need someone that is understanding, empowering, and a good listener; that person is Kathleen Koch.
Koch has been an employee at UF for the last 15 years and has loved using any time she can to deliver some guidance to students, faculty, and staff.
“I am amazed at the endurance you guys come in with, so it’s awesome to be a part of that and to be able to try and support the students,” said Koch.
Her love and passion for helping students developed from her role as a mother. Koch says she treats every student as if they were her adopted child because a lot of them are too far to have their parents’ physical presence for support. She has developed such closeness with the students she has worked with that even following their graduation she tries to stay in touch. She also has never missed one graduation ceremony since she started working at UF. Koch receives things like wedding invitations, birth announcements, and Christmas cards from students she has worked with.
“To me that has been very meaningful,” said Koch. “It is touching to the point where I feel like I have had maybe just a small, intricate part that made a difference in their lives”.
One student in particular Koch worked with was one of her success stories. A young man was dropped off by his father in front of Old Main with just the clothes on his back. His father told him to make something of himself and left him there. With the help of Koch, local organizations, and extremely generous individuals, he was able to start his education at the University of Findlay.
After the student started getting into the wrong crowd, Koch did not want to give up on him.
“I said okay let’s make this happen,” Koch said.
The student ended up graduating, making something of himself, and, of course, staying in touch with his mentor.
Even though Koch has had many success stories, she, just like everyone else, has her bad days too. There are days when a student is failing a class, or the student can’t afford to stay at the University, and there is just nothing that can be done. Koch says her career is full of ups and downs, but to her it’s all worth it.
“Just like a students’ schooling there are times when it can be very frustrating, but then you have those days that are really rewarding,” said Koch.
In her retirement, Koch looks forward to spending more time with friends and family and volunteering at non-profit organizations as well as getting more involved with her church. She says she also looks forward to spending some time to herself and reading a good book.
Koch’s faithfulness to the success of students is something to be admired. She will be dearly missed at UF.
“I hope I’ve had a positive impact on the University, and the students here,” said Koch. “That is the one thing when I walk away from here that I want to walk away feeling like I’ve made a difference.”
Koch would like to invite any student, faculty, or staff to an open house in the Oiler Success Center Tuesday, Feb. 27 to celebrate her time at UF before her last day on March 2.