To the late Patsy Kott ’90, the world was a big, blank palette awaiting exploration. A hiking and outdoors enthusiast, she possessed an adventurous spirit and a deep sense of wanderlust—best reflected in her frequent world travels and 31-year career with Rec Sports at Texas A&M University, where she made it her life’s mission to bring the outdoor world to Aggie students.
In 1985, Kott initiated TAMU Outdoor, now called Rec Sports’ Outdoor Adventures, one of the first university outdoor recreation programs in the state, and remained its leader until her retirement in 2013. “Patsy was passionate about getting students access to outdoor recreational sports,” said Jason Kurten ’98, who now directs Outdoor Adventures. “She convinced Rec Sports leadership to fund an adventure program that could offer backpacking, canoeing, rock climbing, paddle boarding and similar outdoor activities.”
Outdoor Adventures remains a mainstay of Rec Sports today, offering a wide range of classes and educational programs for Aggies. The program also organizes camping, hiking, rock climbing, kayaking and other outdoor trips, which are available for both students and members of the Bryan-College Station community.
Giving Back to the World
Kott’s dedication to the outdoors and selfless service guided her time at Texas A&M. “She instilled the Aggie core values and the concept of giving back in her staff,” said James Welford, development director for Rec Sports. She also routinely mentored students pursuing careers in outdoor recreation, including Kurten, who initially served as a student staff member under her. In her free time, she volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and the Eels on Wheels program, which helps people with disabilities gain their SCUBA diving certification. When she wasn’t working or volunteering, Kott traveled: During her lifetime, she visited six continents and hundreds of countries.
When Kott retired, the Department of Recreational Sports honored her legacy by creating an endowed scholarship in her name for student staff members in the Outdoor Adventures program. After Kott’s passing in 2015, the department received a bequest from her estate to add to the endowment. Now, thanks to her contribution, the Patsy Kott Outdoor Adventures Scholarship is awarded every year to a student worker in the program who demonstrates the same level of commitment and passion as Kott.
Through the memorial scholarship and countless stories of her impact, the Outdoor Adventures staff and student workers remember Kott and her mission. “I continually see her influence on the students I work with,” Kurten said. “When students hear stories about Patsy, they are inspired to live boldly in the same way that she did. She inspired people to seek adventure, to spend time exploring the outdoors, and to just get out there and live life. Today, I see our students living in her spirit.”
Patsy Kott ’90 made a bequest, or a gift in her will, to benefit Texas A&M. To make a bequest, an individual designates the Foundation as beneficiary of his or her estate plan. A bequest can be made as a percentage of your estate, a specific asset, or the balance or residue from your estate. Benefits include the ability to retain assets during your lifetime, lessen the burden of taxes on your family and support a Texas A&M area of your choosing. To learn more, contact Angela Throne ’03 at email@example.com or 979-845-5638.