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Alumni spotlight: Debbie Kurth ’80

| Gary Johnson

Photo caption: Debbie Kurth was a recipient of the UW-Eau Claire Alumni Association’s Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award in May 2023.

Debbie Kurth started volunteering at an early age and hasn’t stopped.

She is a civic leader in several organizations in Rancho Bernardo, a northern community in San Diego, California, where she lives, and has been inducted into the Rancho Bernardo Hall of Fame. Her support of local charities, small businesses and community enrichment has benefited the North County community for many years. She has been honored multiple times for her community leadership and volunteer work, including being recognized as the California Legislature’s Woman of the Year in 2019 for the 77th Assembly District from among 250,000 women.

Kurth, originally from Lancaster, was the first in her family to graduate from a four-year college when she earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology. After graduation, she worked for a modeling agency in Houston, Texas, which she calls “a great opportunity doing live shows and promotions.” She earned her master’s degree in health care and was a full-time health care administrator in San Diego, running long-term, sub-acute and primary-care facilities. Kurth later made a career change and founded her own company called Business Services International, which specializes in meetings and special events worldwide. She remains president of BSI today.

Kurth says being a member of the Delta Zeta sorority at UW-Eau Claire was an important part of her college experience. She credits courses in her psychology major for helping her better understand and work with people, serving her both professionally and personally. Courses in her speech minor enhanced both her speaking and writing skills.

“My four years at UW-Eau Claire were a wonderful growing experience for me,” Kurth says, “which helped me enter the business world better prepared.”

Kurth’s advice for future graduates is to be bold and make decisions based on what is best for them, knowing mistakes will be made along the way. How a person handles those mistakes is what counts.

“Don’t be afraid to try new things outside of your comfort zone,” Kurth says. “You never know what you will discover. Everyone tells you to work hard, but it’s true. If something is important to you, push yourself to see it through.”

Kurth was a recipient of the UW-Eau Claire Alumni Association’s Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award in May 2023 that recognizes distinguished service to the community, state or nation in a manner that brings credit upon the award recipient and the university.