Friday, October 19, 2012

Karen Patterson '73 brings a variety of experiences and a deep love of the College to Randolph's Board of Trustees

Editor's Note: This is the third in a series of stories featuring the five new members of Randolph College's Board of Trustees.

One of Karen Patterson’s ’73 favorite things about her alma mater is the instant affinity she feels when she meets anyone associated with the College, including random alumnae and alumni she meets at airports.

But after a recent meeting of the Randolph College Board of Trustees, she learned she has a new favorite part of the school. “Right now, I am most enamored with the panoramic view of the Peaks of Otter from the back of the new Student Center,” she said.

As president of the R-MWC Alumnae and Randolph College Alumni Association, Patterson also serves on the Randolph College Board of Trustees. She is one of five new members named to the Board this year.

“The College is in much better shape, by every measure, than it was even before the transition to coeducation, but the economy is not,” she said. “I am totally committed to ensuring the College thrives in a difficult environment.”

A long-time volunteer for the College, Patterson has also served as a chapter officer, alumnae admissions representative, and a career network member, among other roles.

A biology major at R-MWC, Patterson went on to earn her M.A. in biology from Wake Forest University and a Master’s of Library and Information Science from the University of South Carolina. She now lives in Aiken, South Carolina, where she works as the environmental sciences group manager and a project manager at the environmental consulting and engineering firm, Tetra Tech. She chairs the South Carolina Governor’s Nuclear Advisory Council, and is on the executive boards of Citizens for Nuclear Technology Awareness (a non-profit dedicated to educating the public about the safety and value of nuclear energy), and the SRS Heritage Foundation.

She is excited about her new role on the Board of Trustees for Randolph. “The past members of the Board of Trustees, President Klein and other College leaders, faculty, and staff have built a strong foundation,” she said. “The current trustees, and particularly the College’s leadership, including faculty and students, are enthusiastic and energized and understand what we have to do to continue the momentum. I can actually feel the difference when I am on campus.”

Giving back to her alma mater is important to Patterson. “This is where I learned to love challenges,” she said. “That learning is life-long.”

She believes the skills she developed at R-MWC will serve her well in her new role. “I thrive on challenges and hope I can contribute to strengthening Randolph’s future.”