Well-known for her volunteerism in the Hampton Roads community, Van Buren currently serves as education chair on the board of the Norfolk City Union of The King's Daughters and is a frequent volunteer at her children's school, Norfolk Academy. She also has long been an adviser for her Old Dominion sorority, Chi Omega. In fact, she credits her student years in the sorority with helping develop her leadership skills.
"It taught me to be a well-rounded individual, both professionally as well as civically. I learned the importance of volunteering and supporting your community."
Van Buren, known as Katie to her friends and associates, said she is proud of the progress Old Dominion has made since her student days, and she believes other alumni would be more inclined to become active in the life of their alma mater if they would come back on campus for a university event or Alumni Association-sponsored activity.
"As a student, you don't realize all that's going on with your school," said Van Buren, who has served four years on the Alumni Association board. "I love what Old Dominion has done for the community, and the leadership role it has taken regarding technology.
"Once you come back, walk around the beautiful campus and hear a presentation about the latest university developments, you can't help but be impressed by the changes. I'm really proud of my alma mater and I'm happy that I now have a chance to give back to the university. Old Dominion has always held a very special place in my heart."
As president of the Alumni Association, Van Buren said she wants to encourage the board to play a role in increasing the growing public awareness of the university. She also said the board plans to conduct some market research to find out what alumni want from their Alumni Association, as well as do a feasibility study regarding the building an alumni center on campus.
Additionally, she would like to see the association get involved in promoting more mentorship opportunities for students.
Van Buren received her bachelor's degree in nursing from Old Dominion and earned a master's in nursing from Medical College of Virginia in 1985.
A Norfolk native, she and her husband, Bill, have three children: Kathryn, 14, Kaitlin, 12, and William IV, 8.