Paul and Joanna Osterhout to receive Doane Builder Award

Paul and Joanna Osterhout to receive Doane Builder Award

Paul and Joanna Osterhout

Few families represent as much Doane history as Paul and Joanna Osterhout's. Their individual family connections span a significant portion of Doane’s history and produced generations of Doane graduates.


For Joanna, Doane became a part of her life in 5th grade, when her family moved from a Kansas community to Crete. Her father, Glenn Peterson, was a new Assistant Professor of Music at Doane. He would take Doane’s name far and wide, leading the vocal music department for the next 17 years and establishing the Doane Vagabonds vocal performance group in the early 1960s. The group toured worldwide, including performing on several USO tours. Joanna became one of the Vagabonds herself, participating for two years before marrying Paul in 1969.


Joanna graduated from Doane with a degree in English Education in 1971. A teaching degree from Doane became something she had in common with four of her five siblings, as well as her mother, Emily. Doane bestowed achievement awards to her entire family in 2003 for its contributions to education.


Joanna went on to earn her master’s degree in Education from Oakland University in Rochester Hills, Michigan, in the late 1970s. She taught high school English for 26 years -- all but one spent at Lakeland High School in Milford, Michigan (1973-1999). She then taught speech and debate at the University of Illinois from 1999-2011, after which she retired. Joanna’s talents in education influenced thousands of students from different walks of life throughout her career.


Paul graduated from Doane with a degree in Music Education in 1968. He performed with the Doane Vagabonds for each of his four years on campus.


The Osterhout family’s roots at Doane can be traced back well over 100 years, starting with Paul’s grandparents, Milo and Olive Osterhout, who moved to Crete in 1903. Milo soon began serving on Doane’s Board of Trustees. Paul’s father, Milo David Jr., graduated from Doane in 1937 and became one of its longtime administrators, whose roles spanned eight decades and helped shaped Doane University as we know it. Paul’s mother, Erma, graduated in 1937 and taught Physical Education on the campus at Crete during the early years of their marriage. Paul’s brother, Milo David III graduated from Doane in 1960. He was married to Martha, who also attended Doane and later worked with Doane’s maintenance and grounds crew for nearly 20 years.


After his own graduation from Doane, Paul began his career teaching vocal music at Crete High School for two years. In 1973, he completed a master’s degree in Music History and Voice from the University of Missouri. Earning his PHD in Musicology from the University of Michigan in 1978 led to visiting professor positions in music history and music theory at Oakland University, the University of Missouri, and Michigan State University. He also served as a research assistant in the Office of Academic Planning at the University of Michigan for three years.


It wasn’t until 1984, though, that he believes he found his true calling: University Development. Over the next 28 years, this calling led him to Oakland University (9 years) where his roles included Acting Vice President; to Michigan State University (6 years) to serve as Director of Development for the Eli Broad College of Business; and to the University of Illinois (13 years), where he served as Associate Dean for Advancement at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and later as Associate Vice President for the University of Illinois Foundation. Paul retired from the University of Illinois in 2012.


Over the years, Paul and his teams raised millions of dollars at Oakland, MSU, and the University of Illinois. Paul shared his expertise and advice regarding fundraising with Doane's Advancement staff in two major efforts: raising $25,000 to name the Doane Vagabonds room in the renovated Whitcomb Conservatory and just last year, working with classmate John Lothrop, to endow a Delta Kappa Pi scholarship at over $100,000.


Paul has not only supported Doane financially, but he has also quietly worked in the background consulting with Advancement officers for several decades,” said Marty Fye, vice president for institutional advancement. “His selfless support has impacted our alumni and friends and made Doane a better place.”


Paul and Joanna reside in Burnet, Texas. Their son Aaron, his wife Tina, and children Kaitlyn and Paul, live in the Houston area. Their son Peter, his wife Holly, and children Alexis and Benjamin live in Brighton, Michigan.


The Builder Award is presented to alumni who have distinguished themselves and Doane through outstanding achievement, professional accomplishments, community service and their relationship with the university. This is considered the highest award an alumnus of the university can receive.