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Parents’ gift supports late professor’s passion for travel, teaching

Thursday, June 7, 2012
Parents’ gift supports late professor’s passion for travel, teaching

Joanne Lane remembers asking her daughter, Catherine Tyler, how she got bitten by the travel bug.
“She told me, ‘It’s all your fault,’” Lane recalls. Catherine had been traveling from an early age.

By the time Tyler was an assistant professor of management for Oakland University’s School of Business Administration (SBA), she frequently shared her international expertise with her students and encouraged them to explore the world.

She traveled extensively with family, friends and students, and taught at the Vienna University of Technology in Austria and the University for Business and Technology in Pristina, Kosovo. Tyler was recognized for the international aspects of her teaching and management and was published in a number of respected publications. It was this spirit of adventure and love for teaching that inspired her family to create the Catherine Tyler Memorial International Award Endowment in Tyler’s memory after her 2007 death in a scuba diving accident.

The award provides support for graduate and undergraduate SBA students who participate in university-approved international internships or study abroad experiences.

The award’s ability to impact students’ lives gained significant momentum recently when her mother and father, Joanne and Robert, contributed another $30,000 through their estate. It’s their hope that the fund’s scholarships will provide OU students with the kinds of memorable, transformative travel experiences their daughter so valued.

Lane added that travel is a worthwhile experience for any student as it gives them an opportunity to understand and know other cultures and other people.

She says she often thinks about how much Tyler enjoyed her work and about the impact she had on her students. She recalls Tyler’s last day of instruction when one of her students stopped her on her way out the door.

“The student called her back and the class proceeded to tell her what a wonderful professor she was and how much they enjoyed her,” Lane says. “They gave her a standing ovation. She was so thrilled with that moment. It was so significant to her. Kate was too young to leave us, but she made an impact.”

Pictured above: Catherine Tyler, first row, second from left, with students on a study abroad trip to India.