A WOMAN who became a “mum” to thousands after they flew the nest has been honoured.
Carol Carr began her career with Durham University’s Business School in 1973, after moving from her first job at Sunderland Royal Hospital.
She took a break to raise her family and returned in 1982, going on to take up a post of secretary to the vice-principal of the college of St Hild and St Bede in 1987.
Now the 62-year-old, who retired in 2009, has returned to be presented with an honorary degree in recognition of her work with its students.
As college secretary, she liaised with faculties and departments to help students with their academic studies, and provided care and advice with family, health and personal problems.
Students increasingly came to see Carol as a friendly face.
In 1992, she was awarded an honorary life membership of the Hild Bede Student Representative Council (SRC) for services to student welfare, an award unique for a college secretary.
She was promoted to student support officer and finally senior tutor in 2005.
Professor Chris Hutchison, principal of the college, said: “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, a college tutor, and their daughter and son, for their support.
“I was lucky to have a career that I really enjoyed and feel that I was very privileged,” she said.
“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.
“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.”
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 of the college, 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.”
Professor Keith Wrightson has also received an honorary degree.
He is an expert in the history of the North East, has written about the early modern coalfields of County Durham and is now based at Yale University in the United States.