WKU VP Costello enjoys dance, storytelling

Katherine Wade

If Kathryn Costello had her way, she would spend most of her free time dancing, writing and spending time with her sons.

As vice president for Development and Alumni Relations, Costello said she is often too busy for the things she loves to do. However, she still occasionally finds time for her biggest passion — exercise.

Costello does pilates three times a week, takes daily walks, and does a little tai-chi. But her favorite form of physical activity is dance.

Costello said she likes to do all kinds of ballroom dancing, especially rhythm dances such as swing and Latin dances.

“I like music and movement,” she said. “It’s just a lot of fun.”

As a child, Costello took ballet and tap lessons and got into dancing during college. After that she took a few lessons and met other people who loved dancing. They would get together on weekends and dance for three or four hours.

Costello said she hasn’t been able to do as much dancing since she moved to Bowling Green, but she’d like to get back into it.

Costello came to Bowling Green when she was offered the job as vice president by President Gary Ransdell. The two have been friends since working together at Southern Methodist University in the 1980s.

Ransdell said Costello is “a pro.”

“She’s terrific,” he said. “I’m pleased she is devoting this portion of her career to us.”

Moving to Bowling Green has given Costello the opportunity to spend more time with her two sons, who live in Bowling Green and were born in Paducah.

She said they have been doing a lot of sight-seeing around the area.

“We’re just kind of exploring this part of Kentucky,” she said. “It’s kind of a walk down memory lane.”

John Costello, one of Kathryn Costello’s sons, said they have been to Lost River Cave and Mammoth Cave.

“We’ve been having a good time checking out the local stuff,” he said. “It’s just a beautiful part of the country.”

John Costello said having his mom in town has been great.

“For more than 10 years my brother and I both lived on our own and my mom was working in New York, and it was difficult because we didn’t get a chance to see her very often,” he said. “But she’s so much fun to be with. We’re kind of momma’s boys.”

Kathryn Costello, who was raised in Jasper, Ga., said she likes to write and collect stories about the South.

“I think most Southerners are storytellers,” Costello said.

Costello’s father was a small-town doctor. Over the years, she learned many stories about his patients and other people with who he interacted. She also recently discovered the letters he wrote to her mother during World War II.

“I’ve been putting together some stories for his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, many of whom never got to know him, about what the war was like through his eyes,” Costello said.

Costello also collected memories from her mother, who died last year.

“She was just a really wonderful, interesting person,” Costello said. “She went to Berkeley for graduate school, and that was a pretty radical thing for a girl from Georgia to do at the time.”

Costello said she doesn’t expect her stories to get published, but she enjoys writing and wants to preserve the memories for her family.