WOMEN AT CWRU
EDUCATION • SUPPORT • EMPOWERMENT
PATRICIA KILPATRICK - ASSISTANT DEAN OF WOMEN
Patricia Kilpatrick (written in 1986)
For many people associated with CWRU, Patricia B. Kilpatrick is the University.
For 24 years, Kilpatrick has served the University, from being a faculty member in the physical education department to serving as secretary of the University and University marshal, a role that lets her take up the marshal’s baton and lead the University’s graduates during commencement exercises.
The Western Reserve Alumni Association has awarded the 1986 Distinguished Alumni Award to Kilpatrick for her contributions to CWRU and the alumni associations as well as the Greater Cleveland community.
Kilpatrick graduated from Western Reserve University’s Flora Stone Mather College in 1949 with the A.B. in history. She received the master’s in physical education from Western Reserve University in 1951. She also attended Ohio Wesleyan University from 1945 to 1947 and was a teaching fellow in the WRU physical education department from 1949 to 1951.
Students and teaching have always been a focal point of Kilpatrick’s career. She taught history and physical education at Lorain High School for one year. Over the years she also taught at Lakewood public schools and worked at Liberty Mutual Insurance.
Kilpatrick returned to the University in 1962 as a faculty member in the physical education department. Outstanding success at counseling students led to her appointment as assistant dean of Flora Stone Mather College in 1965 and as associate dean of Western Reserve College in 1972.
In 1977, Kilpatrick was named assistant secretary of the University, and in 1979 she became secretary. She also was director of Thwing Center.
Her office is responsible for the University archives and the coordinating special events including commencements and convocations. It also works with CWRU’s 10 visiting committees and its 50-member Board of Overseers.
As part of the job, Kilpatrick serves as secretary of the Faculty Senate, secretary of the University faculty, and marshal (the chief protocol officer for special convocations and academic processions.)
The University gives her an opportunity to work with people “who have a true common goals, who care about what they’re doing.” Kilpatrick once told Campus News “Working with young people is the greatest thing in the world.”
And as hectic as the job may get, it’s an occupation that she enjoys. “It’s just fun to be around here,” she said. “I never know who’s going to call, who’s going to ask a question. No matter what’s on my calendar something will happen that’s different.”
In addition to her work at the University, Kilpatrick has also been active in community activities. She is active in the Episcopal Church, serving as lay reader at Christ Church in Hudson, and holds the position of president of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Ohio (the highest office open to a lay person.)
By Gail Taylor CWRU, May 1992
Picture St. Patrick’s Day, 1986. Patricia Baldwin Kilpatrick—five feet eight inches tall, substantially built, with steel-gray hair and the gaze of a woman who means business—is seated at the front of Adelbert Hall’s Toepfer Room as secretary of Case Western Reserve’s Faculty Senate. She’s wearing a green a party hat.
Robert N. Baird, associate professor of economics and then-chair of the senate, had arranged for hates and Irish beer unbeknownst to Mrs. Kilpatrick, senate secretary, University marshal, and—since 1987—vice-president.
“She’s such a good sport,” Prof. Baird says of the University’s first woman vice-president. “I had talked to her secretaries and said, ‘You don’t mind if I bring some beer, do you? Don’t tell Pat.’ She wore her green hat throughout the entire meeting.”
If the anecdote evokes a person playing a prank on a sometimes stern mom, Prof. Baird isn’t the only one who thinks of Mrs. Kilpatrick I those terms. “She’s the mother of us all and a leprechaun,” says the theater-arts department’s Kathryn Karipides (GRS ’59, physical education), and the Knight Professor in the Humanities and Mrs. Kilpatrick’s oldest friend on campus.
This forceful but fun-loving leader—who waves her arms and shouts out orders at commencements, yet whose greatest impact on CWRU arguably has been as a mediator, advisor, and confidante—will retire this June. Her official functions, gathered over thirty years and so diverse that President Agnar Pytte dubs her position the “Kilpatrick of the University,” will be divided among other offices.
Besides acting as Faculty Senate secretary, her jobs include staffing visiting committees; running commencements, convocations, inaugurations, and the annual University ball; maintaining plaques; overseeing the operation of Squire Valleevue Farm; and supervising University Archives and the binding and microfilming of theses. She’s the custodian of the silverware from Flora Stone Mather College for Women. She represents CWRU in its athletic conferences.
“When I think of Case Western Reserve University, I think of her first,” says Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Stephanie Tubbs Jones (WRC ’71, LAW ’74), an active alumna who first met her friend the vice-president when Mrs. Kilpatrick was a dean of student affairs and Mrs. Jones was a student activist.
Indelibly identified as Mrs. Kilpatrick is with the University, she has made her mark on another institution as well. She has somehow had energy and enthusiasm left over from her work at CWRU to be a leader in the Episcopal Church, where she has held the highest lay office in her diocese and serves on the board of the church’s oldest seminary. “In some ways, when one thinks about the Diocese of Ohio, one thinks about Pat Kilpatrick,” says her friend, the Rt. Rev. Arthur B. Williams, who holds the diocese’s second-highest clergyman’s office, suffragan bishop.
Her church and University styles are parallel. As with so many at CWRU, Bishop Williams and the Tr. Rev. James R. Moodey, bishop of the diocese, count Mrs. Kilpatrick as more than a workplace colleague. “Pat has been exceptionally helpful to me as a wise listener and counselor and as a friend,” Bishop Moodey says.