Cabalka still connecting with fellow Maroons
“From the day I walked on the campus, I felt connected with the school.”
Pam Cabalka '76 says her sense of belonging at Roanoke College was immediate, beginning with her first days on campus and extending decades later as the current president of the Alumni Association.
"From the day I walked on the campus, I felt connected with the school," she says.
That passion grew as the native Pennsylvanian immersed herself in campus life, which apparently inspired future alumni even back then. Joanne Leonhardt Cassullo '78 says she decided to enroll at Roanoke partly because she was so impressed by meeting Cabalka when she first visited campus.
"Frankly, we all wanted to be just like her," says Cassullo, a College trustee. "My freshman year not only was she an RA, but she also was a cheerleader, homecoming queen, Kappa Alpha Sweetheart... and a constant presence on the Dean's List. She was as smart as she was popular and beautiful! Pam remains to this day a dedicated and selfless supporter of the College."
Before graduating cum laude, Cabalka enjoyed Roanoke College's liberal arts emphasis, which allowed her to explore several majors while remaining active on campus. "From a social and a leadership perspective, there were ways the school enabled me to be a big fish in a small pond," she says. "I could experiment and see what I liked and didn't like. The school allowed me that freedom."
Her bachelor's in liberal arts, a degree the College issued for a short while, immersed Cabalka in business, psychology and political science. That education has "significantly benefited" her over the years, she says, as did the College's emphasis on writing and public speaking. After graduation, Cabalka went to The College of William & Mary and received her M.B.A. She now has 30 years of experience in the high-tech industry, working in management roles for various companies, including The Service Bureau Company, Drake Prometric and Boundary Medical.
Cabalka, who lives in Minnesota, also started a consulting business, Schaper Inc. (based on her maiden name), and for the past three years has worked exclusively for Kryterion, Inc. There, she is EVP of sales, marketing and client services and is responsible for the company's growing Distance Education/Distance Learning market. She describes herself as the "chief evangelist" for its propriety system of administering secure tests remotely using biometric technology, web cams and remote proctoring. With these technologies, distance education students are able to take proctored test at home, 24/7 instead of driving to a testing site.
Always valuing education, Cabalka was invited to join the President's Advisory Board about 12 years ago. Juggling between work and time with her husband, Rick, and son, Blake, she also served as chair of the PAB from 2004 through 2006. In addition, she and her husband are avid golfers, and Cabalka was the first and only female President of Edina Country Club and is a Director of the Minnesota Golf Association.
She hopes her enthusiasm for Roanoke College is infectious, especially now as she leads the Alumni Association. Cabalka hopes to encourage alumni to help recruit students, donate money and mentor graduates.
"It is reaching out to alumni who haven't been involved and pulling them into the fold," Cabalka says.
By Pamela Podger