Tammy Dugan Robbins '90
My experience at MacMurray College prepared me for success in my life and my career in so many important ways. I cannot overstate the importance of the core curriculum and its emphasis on writing and communications skills — without that hardcore practice of writing an essay every week and preparing for debate and discussion, I would not have had the essential skills I needed to get into my graduate journalism program, nor in my first job as a reporter, which prepared me for a career I love. But some of the most important lessons I learned at MacMurray were lessons about who I am and that my definition of 'success' is the only one that should matter for me. I learned that success isn't a lack of failure but the strength and knowledge of one's own self to be able to pick yourself up after a failure and learn by either trying again and/or finding a different path. I learned that I'm a person who leads by enthusiasm, and that the key to feeling successful for me is to have a cause I can support passionately and have fun with while making a real difference for people in my community. I learned that success for me is having work that doesn't feel like work, having something to laugh about every day, and maintaining strong and fulfilling friendships.
Growing up in Carlinville, Illinois, Tammy knew she wanted to attend a small school to major in art. She instantly felt at home at MacMurray on that rainy Columbus Day as she toured campus with Eric Collins '88 and fell in love with the stately buildings and friendly students. As a student, Tammy was active on campus, serving as president of Phi Nu, co-captain of the cheerleading squad, and an RA in Rutledge Hall. With the kind guidance of her academic advisor and beloved professors, Tammy changed her major to English with a minor in art. After graduating from Mac, she completed a master's degree at Sangamon State University (now the University of Illinois-Springfield) in their prestigious public affairs reporting program.
Tammy's career has revolved around communications, working as a reporter/news editor at the Macoupin County Enquirer and then as a reporter for the Arlington Heights (IL) Daily Herald. Realizing that she wanted to work with young people and in the non-profit sector, Tammy went to work as the news bureau assistant at Central Missouri State University and then as public relations manager at the Girl Scout Council of Greater St. Louis.
Following her desire to work for an organization that made a difference in the lives of children, Tammy found her position nine years ago at the Shriners Hospital, where she is director of public and community relations. The hospital system, which was founded in 1922, is one of the largest pediatric sub-specialty health care systems in the world and focuses on children with a host of orthopedic conditions, spinal cord injuries, burns, or cleft lip and palates. The hospital in St. Louis is one of 22 locations and is recognized by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top 10 pediatric orthopedic hospitals in America, along with its partners, St. Louis Children's Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine. The hospital has an active patient roster of 13,000, performing about 100 surgeries a month and seeing approximately 1,000 patients per month in its outpatient clinic. The St. Louis hospital primarily serves nine states — Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana — but has taken cases from just about anywhere, including Guatemala and Haiti.
Tammy and her husband, Rob, reside in the historic Cherokee-Lemp neighborhood in St. Louis.