Kathy (Mason) Yoder '66, '69 retires from University Registrar position after four decades at Urbana.
Kathy (Mason) Yoder, University Registrar, has been at Urbana University through eleven presidents, twelve academic provosts, more than forty-five commencement ceremonies, taught almost 20 classes, has had four different offices, and was the valedictorian of her graduating class twice.
In September 1964, Kathleen (Kathy) Yoder came to Urbana College as a student. She graduated with her associate’s degree in 1966 and her bachelor’s degree in 1969, the first class to graduate with a four year baccalaureate degree. She served as the Assistant Registrar from 1969 until 1971. In 1979, she applied for the Registrar position and has been in the role ever since.
Gary Crist, assistant professor of English, served as the chair of the Registrar search committee when Kathy was hired in 1979. He said, “We hired Kathy because she was bright, detail-oriented, a team player, and committed to the mission of the University. When she was hired, we were in a period of financial crises and curricular tumult. I thought that she would ‘stand her ground’ if she were pressured to by-pass documented policy.”
Yoder reminisces about the campus. “This is home for me. I always felt like I belonged here. In 1964, my education was important and so was my personal growth. There was a spirit here.”
She recalls walking through the woods to get to Browne Hall for classes when she was a student. Tennis courts existed where the Swedenborg library sits. A smile graces her face when she thinks about Lew and Jean Moore, who made the Moore Center for Mathematics and Science a reality on campus.
“During my time at Urbana, we grew together, struggled together, and built camaraderie. I feel like I walked through it all and came out a wiser and better person.”
“The saddest day ever was when the arches came down outside of Barclay Bailey Hall. The building was the heart and soul of academics. I never would have thought the building would be as vital as it is now.”
Kathy’s fondest memory was meeting her husband, Jeff, who retired from Urbana last year. “He is the person who quietly, with distinction, sought to educate men and women in the classroom.” She also recalls doing all of the processes by hand.
The changes in technology have been interesting. “At one point we had over 1,000 students and we were able to complete all of our processes in the time frame that our computers accomplish now. Of course, I suspect the ‘human computer’ was not quite as accurate. Too, we are now able to generate additional information and reports that we could not back then.”
She said her favorite part of working at Urbana is the relationships she has formed with students, as well as staff and faculty.
Many people have impacted Kathy’s tenure, but the support staff in the Registrar’s office is especially treasured. “Beverly has been with me for over thirty years, Cassie for eight and Tammy for five. I have had the privilege of working with some extraordinary individuals who have made my days in this office much easier. I have developed friendships I hold so dear and I am grateful for that.” Kathy’s journey at Urbana yields many strong connections.
“I’ve spent almost 50 years here. How could I not think so warmly about Urbana,” Kathy asks. “The opportunity Urbana University has presented for so many young people to succeed is incredible. There are so many wonderful people. Lives are truly impacted.”
Though Kathy is retiring from the Registrar’s Office, she isn’t leaving Urbana altogether. “There will be some travel, teaching, church related activities, and I hope to reintroduce myself to my dulcimer,” she stated. Kathy will still be an adjunct for a math class.
“You can remove me from Urbana, but you’ll never be able to take Urbana out of me,” she said.
She will also help with the transition with Urbana’s former Adult and Continuing Education (ACE) Director, Hedy Frick, into Frick’s new role as University Registrar.
Kathy’s commitment to campus is extraordinary. “Urbana University has been Kathy's life. She graduated from Urbana in 1969, met her husband here, reared her boys while she was working here, and will retire committed to the institution and its mission. I don't believe that there ever will be anyone else who is as committed to Urbana University as Kathy Yoder,” concluded Crist.