July 23, 2024

A tribute to Bill Osborn, a legendary supporter of students

After almost two decades of working at the College of Eastern Utah, Bill Osborn decided to leave and pursue other interests. His departure sparked an outpouring of e-mails from people who had contact with him throughout the years. No one who has left CEU prior to this point has had such a positive impression from campus, alumni and community like has been seen for Osborn the past few weeks. The Eagle staff wishes Osborn the best and knows the incredible loss to students that his departure will make.
Pat Robinson


After almost two decades of working at the College of Eastern Utah, Bill Osborn decided to leave and pursue other interests. His departure sparked an outpouring of e-mails from people who had contact with him throughout the years. No one who has left CEU prior to this point has had such a positive impression from campus, alumni and community like has been seen for Osborn the past few weeks. The Eagle staff wishes Osborn the best and knows the incredible loss to students that his departure will make.
Pat Robinson
Bill has always been there for me both at work and in my personal times of need. We have shared alot of good times. I feel like we broke him into a whole new world that took a lot of his shyness away. I’m sure he thanks us everyday for it. I will never have a boss that will come close to him. I repect him as my boss and as a person.
Debbie Boone
I’m so sad to see a long-time friend leave CEU. For someone I’ve known from my hometown of Blanding, I dread the day of seeing you depart from CEU. Before you came to Price I always saw the one-on-one connection you had with the Native Americans and non-Native American students. It followed you to Price but you became more like a father to many of them. Because of you, you gave many the determination to succeed in life and do better for themselves.
Too bad I never made the Navajo tacos I said I would make. Only you understood the Navajo jokes and I’ll miss the good ones you passed onto me. We’ll never forget you Bill. Hï gonee Bill (Good Bye Bill)
Charmaine Elegante
What can you say about someone who has both been your boss and a good friend for nearly 20 years. Bill is the best – and no matter what anyone says or thinks – he will be nearly impossible to replace. The students have always come first with him, as a financial aid director and dean of students, etc, etc, etc.
He has worn many hats while working for the College of Eastern Utah both at the San Juan Center and in Price. My hat is off to him for many jobs well done I am happy for him to be able to spread his wings and try something different but sad for all of us who he is leaving behind, we will miss you dearly.
Thanks for a great 20 years – and good luck to you wherever your journey takes you. I have known and worked with Bill for over 26 years. He is a good friend and has been a wonderful colleague to work with. He and I have had many talks together, trying to solve the problems of the world, of CEU and how we could help the students. We even ribbed each other about our political affiliations and it never seemed to change our friendship.
Jan Young and the ladies of the academic records office – Cirie Noyes, Debbie Boone and Darla Cloward
We started off in the Old Main building together. His office was down the hall from ours. One time when the asbestos crew came in to take the asbestos out of our ceiling, he let my staff and I camp in his financial aid office until it was finished. We were a little bit cramped, but it made for good times. When the new Student Center building plans were being drawn up, we figured that we could share a common space and make it work for the students. Once we moved in, Bill had been our token male for our student services area. He has had to put up with as many as 10 females at one time. Of course, he received his share of pampering, with all the great potlucks, treats and presents. (Men, eat your hearts out)
Bill and I have also traveled together up and down this state going to freshman orientations and participating in recruitment trips. I remember one trip coming home from Grand Junction with Bill, Lisa Skriner, Darlene Dilley and myself. We played a prank (can’t tell you what it was) that had Bill blushing. But he was a good sport! Of course he did get even with some people.
I have seen Bill in action with the students. He influenced lots of student lives through student government and ultimately made life-long friends of those he came in contact with. Their nickname for him was Papa Bill. Not sure if any of them have named their children after Bill!
The academic records office staff, as well as myself, are going to miss Bill for his knowledge, friendship and dedication to CEU. We wish Bill success and happiness in the future, wherever he lands. Don’t forget to write, call or send us e-mails.
Teresa Frazier, SJC SG Adviser
Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.” I have seen first hand how Bill has interacted with his government students; I have experienced how much his students appreciate him. At the annual bon fire ceremony in Moab when old officers leave, I have seen tears shed as each officer expresses their love for “Papa Bill”. He has made an impact on so many lives and has had a profound impression on mine. Bill has mentored me during the past few years as student adviser and immensely value his help.
I sincerely appreciate how he has included San Juan Campus; we felt as if we were a part of the Price student government and our contributions were valued. I am beginning to understand the countless hours it takes to build a strong foundation of good leaders, it is more than a 8-5 job and you have set a great example. Your student leaders have moved forward and now many are leaders at other colleges and communities, thanks to your willingness to teach and serve them. You will never be forgotten.
• Jesse D. Holt, SUU SB president, ’04-05 CEU SB president
Most of all, Bill, thank you for teaching me just how important students are and how they can impact our lives for the better. Thank you for using only one catcher’s mitt and always throwing back more than you received. “Over the past 5 years, I have had a personal and professional relationship with “Papa” Bill.
He has been a father figure, mentor and true student advocate while serving his time at CEU. Bill has served selflessly, putting the students first in every facet of his position. He has had a pulse of the general student population while fulfilling his role of ASCEU adviser. He has served his position(s) quietly asking for nothing in return; when Bill stood behind the students and the “Statement of Expectations” he gained no personal benefit. Bill felt strongly that the vision of the administration was not consistent with the vision of the institution, therefore Bill challenged his students, as well as the administration. In the end this led to his demise. CEU is losing an advocate and a true visionary, his presence will be missed, even if the administration fails to admit it. We love you and thank you “Papa Bill”!”
• Aaron Hales, ’05-’06 SB president
“During my time at CEU I never found another person who cared more for the students of CEU. I found Bill to always have the students interests at heart and worked hard at his job. I looked at Bill as a mentor and one of the closest friends to me. It is sad to know that this institution is losing one of its most valiant employees. I will always remember the kindness Bill showed to me and my colleagues.”
Thanks Papa Bill.
• Jed Lloyd, SB President ’03-’04
During my time at CEU, I was fortunate enough to get to work very closely with “Papa” Bill. I have not met a person that cares more about the happiness of the students, and the welfare of the school more than Bill. I was able to see first hand how much it bothered and hurt Bill when he would come across students who were dealing with tough issues in their lives. Bill had his hand on the pulse of student life at CEU more than anyone else on campus, because he wore so many different hats. He was the financial aid director, a dean of students, on the judicial committee, and student government adviser. Interestingly, Bill enjoyed having all of these responsibilities; even though many days his truck was the last one out of the parking lot, and the stress expedited the graying process of his hair!
He knew more about the goings-on at CEU then anyone else on campus, and the great thing about Bill was that he cared deeply about what was happening. He really wanted to see CEU flourish. He wanted to make sure the experience the students were getting was unforgettable. He wanted to make sure the students were getting a great education, and he wanted to make sure the students felt safe while attending school.
Bill was also a great leader. He let us make our own decisions and mistakes, and always backed us up in the face of criticism. He was loyal to us at all times. He was always there to give amazing words of advice, and helped direct us when we needed it. He was the level headed one of the group, he had a great vision of the things we could accomplish and also helped us understand the steps that needed to be taken to accomplish our goals.
Bill was more than an adviser, he is a great friend. My relationship with him has extended well past my time as president, and I continue to stay in touch with him. In fact Bill continues to stay in touch with many of the students that he has worked with over the years. He is an extraordinary person, always working hard to make life for those he comes in contact with more enjoyable.
Bill will be greatly missed at CEU. Forever more there will be a little bit of emptiness on campus that can only be filled with the smile and laugh of Bill.
• RiKelle Deaton (USU and alumna)
I have never met a more kind, welcoming, patient, and understanding man as “Papa Bill.” And believe me, he would need all these qualities to work with a big group of us rowdy college students. We referred to him as “Papa Bill” because that’s exactly what he was- an exemplary man that we could always turn to and rely on, for advice, a friendly smile, or just a willing ear to listen to our worries and concerns- a Papa. He was the perfect person to advise our group of fearless leaders. He inspired us to take the initiative and let us take the reigns, but knew just how and when to keep us in line. I learned a lot about myself and how to be a leader under his direction. He did everything a great advisor should do: he encouraged us to reach our goals and challenge the things around us that weren’t in the best interests of our beloved school. He told us what things needed to be done, then let us go about organizing the best way to approach and handle the situation. He offered us advice and tips and what our bounds were, but let us be the leaders and learn for ourselves through experience. He truly had the student’s best interest in his heart.
He was not only a great adviser, but a great friend. He went the extra mile in doing all he could to help us achieve our potential. He is very welcoming and numerous times opened his backyard and hot tub to our barques and parties as a council, even after several waterfights. Papa Bill’s always ready with a smile and a laugh. I am positive that we will remain friends for years to come. CEU won’t be the same without him!
• Emilie Dunn, SB President ’07-’08
Bill is an amazing guy, whenever I wanted to talk to him all I had to do was walk into his office and he would drop whatever he was doing to talk to me, no matter how long I was there. I know that Bill will always represent the student’s views and he is always willing to support the student’s views first. Bill has an amazing love for the students, they know him and he knows all of them no matter when they graduated. Bill is a very knowledgeable man, and he has helped the College of Eastern Utah grow and build upon many traditions while being here. With the help of many of the girls in the Financial Aid office (Pat, Charmaine, Jolene, and many others) he has helped many students to afford attending the College of Eastern Utah. During the summer I had the opportunity to work in the Financial Aid office, and it was amazing to see all of the students who have graduated come back to the college just to visit Bill and the ladies.
I can think of one word that describes Bill; inspiring. If I was having a bad day or something just wasn’t working the right way whether it be in ASCEU Student Government, school, or family, Bill always seemed to have the right answer to every question I had, and has a way of saying it so it didn’t sound like he was ordering me around. Bill knew that I would be an individual who could make changes in whatever I did in life and he always encouraged me to do my best at whatever I tried.
I know that not only myself but many of the ASCEU Student Government members will miss him as well. Bill has made a huge impact in my life, and it has been for good, thank you Bill. Good luck in all that you do. And don’t forget about us here at CEU!
• James Prettyman
It saddens me to hear that a close friend and co-worker is going to retire from CEU. I have been at the college for 12 years and there is no other place that the employees and the students they serve build the kind of relationships and friendships that are experienced here. I have worked very closely with Bill since he became the interim dean of students a few years ago. I can say without hesitation that he is one of the most dedicated, hardworking, and decent people I have ever met. I can only speak for myself when I say the college and its community is losing a very valuable employee. I do wish Bill all the luck in his future decisions and endeavors. However, I wished he would consider staying. You will truly be missed Bill much like a toothache but you will still be missed.
• Robbin Snow
I have known who Bill was ever since my daughter worked for him in the financial aid office years and years and years and years ago … . but since I started full time, I have got to know him. He is a very kind and caring person. He is dedicated to his job and helping all those around him. Bill has a great sense of humor and is fun to work with but is also sympathetic and understanding. I want to thank you for being a great friend and I wish you all the luck in the future. You will be greatly missed by all of us. Have fun in your retirement!
• Kathy Murray, SUN Center
When I heard the bad news that Bill was leaving CEU, I felt an over whelming loss and grief. I was afraid and questioned, how can we go on at CEU with out Bill at the helm of Finial Aid?
Bill is extraordinary, he really cares about others, he is knowledgeable, fair and he listens, and then helps improves and encourages students and others. No one will ever know the kind acts of service and caring he has given.
Bill, is a very hardworking person, he is wise and quietly confident. He always has time to assist and advise both students and co-workers. He has always found an answer to any problem or question I could present him with which were many and varied.
I remember Fall 2006 when he was offered a job at SUU a couple of weeks before school started but just couldn’t leave CEU with out anyone to do his job, which would have been a disaster for both the students and our college. That’s the type of person he is one you puts others needs before his own. He has been loyal to the College of Eastern Utah. Not many people spend their careers devoted to one institution and I applaud him for his consistency and dedication.
His students in ASCEU called him, “Papa Bill” a title well earned and of highest praise. I wish Bill well as he enjoys the outdoors, discovering new and different adventures. Bill is a marvel, a unique person one that will be greatly missed at CEU and in our community.
• Troy Hunt, communications
When I arrived in 2001, one of the first people who welcomed me was Bill. He was open and willing to answer questions. When we served together on College Senate, I found him to be a great resource. He has been a great supporter of the development of 107.9 The Edge, and all its related activities. It was always wonderful to have him step up and give support and ideas concerning what we do.
I personally will miss him. He has been a greatly positive influence to me.
• Ben Waldon
After hearing the news that you were thinking of leaving the College of Eastern Utah, I almost could not believe my ears. However over the months of consistent rumors I now know of the tremendous loss CEU will take by not having you on staff.
Bill you were the father to not only student government, but you helped many students grow in maturity as well as education. You will never be forgotten by those you helped.
CEU and all of those who know what administration has done and is doing, you will not forget this man of valor and integrity. You will not forget how much this single man has done to better CEU and all those who take part in it’s education. You will not forget how this man helped some of your children succeed in higher education, and you will not forget the fingerprint of his remembrance upon this school.
Bill, best of times out there, keep looking forward and never forget that although there may be less kind hearted people in the world, you do not need to be one of them to survive. Break the mold!