SOE News

“Turning on the lights” for others gives them hope, Professor Emerita Carol Malloy tells School of Education graduates

Graduates in Memorial Hall


Carol Malloy


Dean Bill McDiarmid presides as faculty members applaud the graduates


Eliz Colbert

Photos by David Gellatly

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Carol Malloy (Ph.D. ’95), who served on the faculty of the School of Education for 15 years until her retirement last summer, told graduates to “turn on the light” for others during her commencement address to the School of Education’s 307 graduates at the School’s commencement ceremony on May 9, 2010.

Malloy quoted columnist and writer Kathleen Parker, who said that her 11th-grade English teacher “turned on the light” for her by introducing her to William Faulkner, making her feel important and giving her confidence.  “Kathleen Parker regarded this teacher with distinction because he changed her life with a flicker of light,” Malloy said.

Kathleen Parker went on to become an award-winning writer. Last April, she won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary.

Malloy recalled some of her own experiences connecting with students and building their confidence, and urged the graduates to provide their future students with care and concern. She said that turning on the light for a student also provides hope, which embodies a combination of honesty, openness, passion and excellence.

“Someday soon, you will be the ones who will turn on the light for your own students,” Malloy told the graduates, expressing her confidence in their ability to do this well. 

Malloy is a mathematics educator who dedicated her career to improving opportunities for all students to learn mathematics, especially students who have been traditionally underserved. A former high school mathematics teacher, she was recognized with the Mentor Award for Lifetime Achievement from UNC-Chapel Hill last spring, and was named a Distinguished Alumna in 2004 by her undergraduate alma mater, West Chester University in West Chester, Pa.

More than 1,200 people attended the commencement ceremony in UNC’s Memorial Hall.

Presiding at the ceremony, Dean Bill McDiarmid reminded graduates of the School of Education’s belief that everyone can contribute to the world if they have the opportunities to reach their potential. “We recognize that students from some backgrounds have historically been denied the opportunities they need to reach their potential – and we have a responsibility to transform those opportunities,” he said. “That is both our challenge and our opportunity.”

McDiarmid charged the graduates with meeting the challenge and seizing the opportunity. “The world around us is evolving in ways few would have predicted 50 years ago,” he said. “We can predict that the pace of rapid change will not abate. That means we will need people who have the intellectual alacrity, social skills and commitments to meet not just the challenges we currently face but those we cannot now foresee. That’s where all of you come into the picture. It’s a tall order, but we have every confidence that you are up to the task.”

Dr. Eliz Colbert, president of the School of Education’s Alumni Council brought greetings from the Alumni Association. She welcomed the graduates to “an elite group of educators who are leaders in the classroom, leaders of schools, of districts, leaders across our state and our nation, leaders who make a difference for children every single day.”

She cautioned that “the road will not always be as joyful as it is today,” but she assured graduates that the power of resiliency will help them overcome challenges in the future.

The 307 graduates included 109 baccalaureate, 177 master’s and 21 doctoral degree recipients, as well as numerous licensure completers.