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Kathleen M. Karpan - Diamond Jubilee Outstanding Alumna
Bachelor of Science - 1964 - Journalism
Master of Arts - 1975 - American Studies
Growing up in Rock Springs, Kathy Karpan had scant exposure to the cultural events that people in bigger communities took for granted. That all changed when she came to UW, where she encountered the wonders of live theatre, dance, classical music, modern art, and literature. "In the fullest meaning of the phrase, these university offerings -- both in the classroom and outside -opened my mind to a whole new world of cultural and intellectual experiences which changed me forever."
She also values her three years as Branding Iron editor, where the "independence and responsibility made my college work as real as the outside world of work." It also produced her favorite UW memory of "putting the paper to bed late Wednesday nights, toiling with my staff until well past curfew. But it was worth it all on Friday morning when the students virtually stampeded to get their copies!" At 22, she was U.S. Representative Teno Roncalio's press assistant, one of very few women in that role on Capitol Hill. In the mid-1970s, she returned to UW for a graduate degree, and followed that with a University of Oregon law degree. Between degrees, she was back in Washington, D.C., now as Roncalio's chief of staff. President Carter appointed her deputy director of the Department of Commerce's Office of Congressional Relations. In 1981, she managed a U.S. senatorial campaign. When her candidate lost his bid, Karpan joined the Wyoming Attorney General's staff, where she became Assistant Attorney General. She later became the state's first woman director of the Department of Health and Social Services. In 1986, Wyoming's people elected Karpan Secretary of State, and returned her to office in 1990. Her tenure has been marked by responsiveness to the social and economic needs of the people of her state.