Kathleen S. Sellew, 60, of University Grove in Falcon Heights, died peacefully Aug. 22, at the St. Anthony Park Home after a long struggle with multiple myeloma.
Born in Santa Ana, Calif., in 1953 to Joan and Dick Troxell, she lived in Wyoming until age 12 and moved to Rochester, Minn., with her mother and sister, Sally, after her father’s early death.
At Macalester College in St. Paul she majored in linguistics and Spanish, spent a formative semester abroad in Bogotá, Colombia, and met her future husband, Philip, in the dorms the fall of freshman year.
After marrying on their graduation day in May 1975, Kathleen and Philip moved to Cambridge, Mass., where they lived until their return to St. Paul in 1984.
Their only child, Charlie, was born five years later.
After studying at the Harvard Graduate School of Education with a focus on international education, Kathleen devoted her career of more than 30 years at Harvard University, the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and the University of Minnesota to strengthening higher education in the developing world. She traveled extensively and worked with agencies in Latin America, Africa and Papua New Guinea, with a particular passion for aiding universities in indigenizing their faculties, long staffed by American, British or Australian scholars. She led development projects sponsored by Harvard’s Latin American Scholarship Program, the Asia Development Bank and the U.S. Agency for International Development, and authored books on the university systems of Central America and the Caribbean and visited South Korea as a Fulbright Scholar. When she left her work at the University of Minnesota on medical disability in 2008, Kathleen was associate director of the Office of International Programs (now GPS Alliance), with broad responsibilities for leadership and management. The university honored her in 2009 with its Award for Global Engagement, citing her as “a strategic thinker, determined leader, and a visionary in the field of international education.” In her final years at home, Kathleen enjoyed gardening, cooking, hosting friends at brunches and quiet dinners, and spending time at family cabins on Lac Courte Oreilles in northwestern Wisconsin and in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Kathleen was preceded in death by her father, Richard Troxell Jr., and stepfather, William Krage. She is survived by her husband, Philip; son, Charles (David Fiocco); mother, Joan Krage; sister, Sally (Bruce) Van Der Kamp; sister-in-law, Jan (Bill) Barnes; nieces, Kavvy Sonhos and Whitney Van Der Kamp; nephew, Tucker Hollingsworth; aunts, Avis Taylor and Nancy Dahl; and five first cousins.