Somehow it seems appropriate that Kathleen Hackman Crowther G.O. ’75, lives in an 1880 farmhouse near her childhood home in Shaker Heights. Executive director of the Cleveland Restoration Society, Crowther is a leading historical preservationist and became president of the society last year. Since 1987, the Glen Oak graduate has transformed the Cleveland Restoration Society from a small, volunteer-run organization into one of the largest and most respected preservation organizations in the country. It tackles preservation issues in Cleveland, its suburbs and the Northeast Ohio region.
“You want the old and the new to mesh. . . . to have new buildings respect existing buildings,” Crowther told The Plain Dealer last year.
During her tenure, the alum established the Neighborhood Historic Preservation Program in inner-city neighborhoods, the Preservation Resource Center of Northeastern Ohio, the Sacred Landmarks Assistance Program and the Heritage Home Preservation Program.
Glen Oak laid the groundwork in preparing her for her career, Crowther believes. The school, which merged with Gilmour in 1982, “encouraged creativity,” she says. “Learning was fun, not drudgery. We felt that we were different from everyone else and liked that.”
Crowther earned a bachelor’s degree, cum laude, in art history and English from Case Western Reserve University, a master’s degree in urban studies from Cleveland State University and was selected a fellow of the Center for Social Innovation at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business in 2002. Crowther received the “Alumni of the Year Award” from Gilmour in 2003. She has served on Gilmour’s alumni directory committee and alumni reunion committees and was a speaker for its Cum Laude Society.
Crowther and her husband, Hub, a 1974 Gilmour graduate, have a 13-year-old son. She loves to travel and plans to visit Barcelona, Spain.
“Balance is the challenge, not always achieved,” she says. “I try to remember what my parents used to tell me – first things first; smile, kid; a place for everything and everything in its place.”
Throughout her career, Crowther has served in leadership capacities on the state and national levels, particularly in association with the National Trust for Historic Preservation. She was selected as the first local executive director to chair the National Trust’s Statewide and Local Partners Program. She is affiliated with the National Arts Strategies organization, which provides leadership development to arts leaders that helps them find new approaches to tough challenges. In 2007, Crowther participated in an exchange with French professionals in conjunction with the Courants Program of the French-American Foundation in New York City. In 2010-11, she was a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy in Rome.
Crowther keeps in touch with Gilmour alumni and plans outings through Facebook. “I really like Facebook now,” she admits. “It took awhile.”