Kathy Colón began her career at UMass Amherst in 1992, working with records in Whitmore (the central administration building on campus). In 1998, she joined Professor John Hird (now Dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences) and Satu Zoller (now SPP associate director) as founding staff of the Center for Public Policy and Administration (CPPA, now the School of Public Policy, or SPP). She has continuously served as CPPA/SPP office manager since that time.
Kathy’s bio on SPP’s website reads thus: “Kathy Colón works closely with students, staff and faculty to provide academic and administrative assistance for SPP daily operations and management. She serves as SPP receptionist, processes admissions for the MPP and MPPA programs, coordinates graduate and undergraduate course schedules, and serves as personnel coordinator.”
But SPP faculty, staff, students and alumni know Kathy as that and much more: the go-to problem solver and glue that holds everything together—knowledgeable, kind, unflappable, and always willing to help others even when it requires putting aside her own work. To boot, she is perennially modest about her many contributions to SPP.
As many CPPA/SPP alumni will attest, it’s hard to drift too far from Kathy’s orbit. If a couple of years go by and she hasn’t heard from an alum, off goes an email with a “How are you? What are you up to?? Why haven’t you written???” Alums are, and will forever remain, members of the CPPA/SPP community with Kathy in charge.
Kathy is known for her love of animals. A devoted volunteer for numerous rescue organizations, those of us in Gordon look forward to the occasional visit by Tucker, Kathy’s own rescue “mutt.”
But Kathy’s pride and joy is her family, and she became a grandmother in 2016 to Piper Rae Monette, born to daughter Rachel and her husband Joel.
Kathy grew up in Whately, MA, and has lived there her entire life—indeed, she now lives in the same house in which she grew up.
Kathy's service was recognized at a University-wide breakfast held on April 27, 2017. SPP faculty and staff are delighted by the chance to congratulate Kathy, and to thank her for everything she does to make SPP a welcoming home!