Katharine Christian Eckman '09, remembered by family and friends as "a young woman with an enormous heart, great compassion for others, and a zest for life and learning," was born on October 27, 1986, in Wilmington, DE. A daughter of Richard P. '73, an attorney, and Susan May Eckman, she grew up in Chadds Ford, PA, and came to College Hill in 2005 from Unionville High School in Kennett Square, where she had been editor-in-chief of the school newspaper and enthusiastically involved in the music program.
"Kat" Eckman, also known as "Casey," brought to the Hill her vibrant and cheery personality, and an ardent willingness to engage in campus activities and in causes to which she was committed. Believing that students should "take part in establishing an environment that promotes personal growth and celebrates learning," she became a member of the Judicial Board. She also became active in the campus service organization HAVOC, serving on its executive board and as a site coordinator. Devoted to animals (especially her cat Angus, which she had rescued and adopted), she helped organize and led a group of student volunteers at Spring Farm CARES, an animal shelter in Clinton.
Kat Eckman, who was concentrating in psychology and minoring in English, had a variety of interests, including politics. She worked for U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle '61 of Delaware while participating in Hamilton's Program in Washington in the fall of 2007. And last summer, in London, she studied European politics at Middlesex University. Her interest in politics, as well as her love of trivia, led her to be a regular participant at Trivia Night on campus as her team's expert on presidents.
Highly conscientious and dedicated, Kat Eckman was above all known on the Hill for her infectious smile, wit, and a warmth of personality that drew people to her immediately and readily, so much so that one faculty member described her as "traveling sunshine." Her many friends were therefore devastated to learn that she had been diagnosed at the beginning of her senior year with acute leukemia. She died just three weeks after the diagnosis, on October 17, 2008, at the age of 21.
In addition to her parents, Katharine C. Eckman is survived by three sisters, Elizabeth, Susannah, and Louisa, and a grandmother, Mrs. A. John May. Services celebrating Kat's life were held on campus as well as at the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, where she had enjoyed accompanying herself on the piano and singing solos. The Katharine Eckman Scholarship is being established at the College in her memory, which will be forever cherished by those privileged to have known her.