College Mum honoured by Durham University
(30 June 2011)
A retired university employee who became a 'college mum' to thousands of students during her Durham University career is to receive an honorary degree.
Born in Sunderland, Carol Carr, aged 62, began her working life at Sunderland Hospital and then moved to her first job at Durham University in the Business School in 1973, before taking time out from her career to raise her family.
She returned to Durham University in 1982 becoming Secretary to the Vice-Principal of The College of St Hild & St Bede, the largest undergraduate College at Durham University in 1987. She continued working at Hild Bede until her retirement in 2009.
Carol was hugely popular with Hild Bede students who requested that she be appointed to a role where she could be more involved in the running of the College and provision of pastoral care.
She became College Secretary, liaising with University faculties and departments to help students with their academic studies, and providing care and advice to students with family, health and personal problems.
Students increasingly came to see Carol as the friendly face of the College, and in 1992 she was awarded an honorary life membership of the Hild Bede Student Representative Council for services to student welfare, an award unique for a College Secretary. She was successively promoted to Student Support Officer and finally Senior Tutor in 2005.
Professor Chris Hutchison, Principal of The College of St Hild & St Bede, said: "When Carol returned to full-time employment as the Principal's PA and Secretary in the College, she discovered her vocation and Hild Bede discovered its College Mum!
"Carol's energy and ability very quickly garnered her the trust and admiration of the students. She has been a much-loved member of staff and 'mum' to students and thoroughly deserves this honour."
Carol praised her family - husband Mike and their daughter and son - for their support during her career. Mike is a College tutor and they are both active members of the Senior Common Room at the College.
Carol said: "I was lucky to have a career that I really enjoyed and feel that I was very privileged. I loved my work caring for students and seeing them start as freshers and develop into graduates. I've been so lucky to walk into this beautiful environment every day.
"My husband and family have really supported me throughout my career and Hild Bede College has been a massive part of all of our lives, and a lovely one.
"The whole family has been involved at the college helping with everything from stuffing envelopes to carrying cases for guests when they arrive and leave, and we've made a lot of friends over the years."
College tutors perform a pastoral function giving students a point of contact in a College should they need help, advice and support on any matter related to their stay in Durham.
The tutors help and advise students on a one-to-one basis and they also help to organise group activities and social events, to enable students to settle at University.
Carol will be attending the Congregation ceremonies this year to see some of the students she has helped during their studies graduating this year.
She added: "Durham staff pride themselves on the support they provide to students and getting this honorary degree is the icing on the cake for me, an award that I'll treasure for doing a job that I loved."
Sarah Unwin, SRC President, College of St Hild and St Bede, said: "Carol was like a second mum to everyone in college, with a manner that could put you at ease within seconds and a personality that could comfort in even the toughest of situations. She was far more than a Senior Tutor; she was the backbone of college who always went beyond the call of duty."