The United States was undergoing serious changes when Katharine “Kathy” King Raybin ’64 was an English major at Wheaton: civil rights marches, the Cuban missile crisis, space exploration and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, to name a few.
As an undergraduate experiencing these events on campus, Raybin felt part of something great.
“I loved being on the campus where people cared about those things,” she said. “There was just a lot going on in America, and it was a privilege to be at Wheaton while it was going on, even though a lot of it was tragic and scary.”
Raybin will be returning to campus in May for her class’ 50th Reunion, which she is helping to plan, along with college roommates Beverly “Bev” Decker Reed ’64 and Elizabeth “Hydie” Richardson Ralston ’64.
“It’s been fun to reconnect with former classmates and try to get them to come, and to talk to people on the phone I haven’t talked to in 50 years,” Raybin said. “Whether they all come to the Reunion or not, the process has been wonderful.”
Raybin chose Wheaton in part because one of her role models, aunt Nancy Lyon Porter ’43, was a Wheaton graduate.
“I loved my English classes. I loved my friends. I grew up in a pretty insulated ‘vanilla’ town, so to then come to Wheaton where there was a much bigger mix of people was really wonderful for me,” Raybin said.
Her positive experience led her to make a major gift to the college and to commit to a Founders Society gift to create an endowed scholarship.
“I am adding Wheaton to my will in order to help people benefit from a Wheaton education like I had, to make a difference for students who can’t afford it,” she said. “I’d like to encourage the qualities of resilience, curiosity and perseverance in potential students who are conquering odds in even applying to Wheaton.”
After graduating, Raybin worked for a publishing company in New York, and then had several part-time jobs in special education and mental health as she moved west. In 1972, she obtained a master’s degree in special education at the University of Denver. She worked as a clinical educator, helping graduate students with their special education studies, and then did private assessment work and tutoring. She married her husband, Jim, and moved from Denver to Boulder, Colo., where they raised two daughters, Jenny and Becky.
When the girls were in high school, Raybin pursued a master’s degree in counseling at Denver Seminary. The same weekend her youngest daughter graduated from high school, and right as she herself was turning 50, Raybin graduated with her second master’s degree. She now works as a therapist, counseling mainly women.
“Along with books, I have always loved people,” Raybin said. “When people come in and they’re in transition or dealing with a loss or mental disturbance or an issue with a parent or child, I love helping them sort out what the issues are. I love walking alongside them.”