UIS honors distinguished alumnus Richard Osborne
Richard C. Osborne, graduating class of 1973, was honored last week as the nominee for the Alumni Association Achievement Award for his work with Madison Capital Programs, where he is the Senior Managing Director.
“Obviously the process is flawed to pick me but it feels good to have some recognition,” Osborne said. “What’s even better is I haven’t been here in a long time, 30 years or more, and it’s great to be back and see what the school has gone from, which was a parking lot with doublewides in it, to brick and mortar with students living on campus and we heard today about the number of online students. It’s grown dramatically in that period of time and that’s wonderful to see.”
Osborne was a graduate student at UIS when it was still a commuter only school. He was a working student with a career and family.
“The sophisticated infrastructure of the University was doublewides. When I was here there wasn’t any brick or anything,” he said. “If it was not mostly it was exclusively a commuter school at the time. There was no student housing and so there was an older, mature group of people coming. A very active faculty with students in a positive way, interacting with students opposed to some larger schools that were more distant.”
At that time the business administration degree was much different than the traditional BMA.
“It was more a softer side of a master’s in business than an analytical MBA process, which has its pros and cons,” he said. “It gave you a better thinking process about the people’s side of business and as well as business law and things like that.”
He remembers his mentor on campus and how he used what he learned in his professional career. He recalled his interview in which he had to defend his thesis and his mentor sponsored him through the multi-hour process.
“They kind of grilled you over a few hours to see if you could breath and still had hands and arms and somehow I made it through that process,” he said.
Today Osborne and his wife, Charlene, split time living in Chicago and Arizona. In Chicago, they reside in the Grant Park area. Their three children and four grandchildren all live in Tampa Bay.
Osborne and his wife met at a party when Osborne sold the company Charlene worked for.
“He always loved a party,” she said.
Osborne said his master’s degree at UIS helped launch him into the successful career he has today. But, due to the nature of his situation, he didn’t get to enjoy the social aspects UIS now offers.
“In all of my schooling I was pretty much focused on my work and school,” he said. “The social aspects and some of the connections with activities weren’t there.”
For Osborne, the best part of the award was getting to see how everything has changed since his time here.
“It’s great to come back and see what’s happened at some place where I left some sweat and blood and hard work,” he said.