Kate Belknap-Bruchak, C’83, is in one of her happiest places when she is paddling down the Main Salmon River in Idaho with friends. The water is moving with lots of energy, the scenery is spectacular, and the time with others is precious. A part-time river guide, Belknap-Bruchak knows how to read a stream, and she knows every aspect of a river, from the way the water moves to the rock art on the cliffs nearby and the flora and fauna. A professor, an adventurer, an outdoor educator, and a devotee of mythology, when Belknap-Bruchak looks at her Sewanee story, she has this to say: “The fact that I went to Sewanee influenced every turn in my life.”
The creativity with which she leads her life is one echo of her Sewanee background. Kate teaches full time at Colorado Mesa University: two mythology courses, an interdisciplinary course focusing on the Colorado River, and freshman English. “Everyone in the department teaches the freshman course,” she says.
On breaks and weekends, Belknap-Bruchak pursues her other avocations. For many years, she was a river ranger in Dinosaur National Monument, and she has been a ski instructor at Powderhorn Resort near her home in western Colorado. “When I moved here, I was driving down the highway one day and thought, ‘What do I most enjoy?’” The answer was teaching English, skiing, and being outdoors. “I just began putting things together that fit that picture.”
Along with gifts to women’s soccer and field hockey, Belknap-Bruchak has just made a contribution to establish a Cornerstone Scholarship for a Sewanee student. The Cornerstone program pairs donors of annual scholarships with students, and it is one foundation of fundraising for financial aid that is a top priority for Sewanee.
“I really zeroed in on the Cornerstone Scholarship for one thing because my only real skill is teaching. Going along with that, I very strongly believe in education—and education for everyone! The Cornerstone really spoke to me as an avenue for accomplishing that idea.”
To learn more about the Cornerstone program, contact firstname.lastname@example.org