Mourning the loss of Dr. Carolyn Sundy
Cumberland, KY -- During the early morning hours of Sunday, September 27, the students, faculty, and staff of Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College lost a beloved family member.
Dr. Carolyn Sundy joined the Southeast family on September 1, 1976. She rose through the ranks as a faculty member in our Medical Laboratory Technology Program, eventually earning the distinction of full Professor. During her decades at the College, she directed the Upward Bound Program and spearheaded the Southeast Scholars Summer Program. In 2011, she became Southeast’s first Chief Diversity Officer. Three years ago, Carolyn earned her Ph.D. in Community College Administration from Mississippi State University, and the scholarship she began during her studies recently received national attention.
Over the past 44 years, the accolades Dr. Sundy garnered and the strides she made on behalf of minority and underprivileged students were vast. However, I doubt her accomplishments are what motivated people from all over the country to travel to Lynch, Kentucky during a pandemic to pay their final respects. What truly made Carolyn shine was her belief in and support of others.
I have been honored to call Carolyn my friend during my 25 years at the College. Never did I count on her friendship more than when I became president three years ago. She was just the kind of friend I needed. She was plain-spoken, but always kind. She was generous with her praise, but insightful with her suggestions for improvement. She was the kind of leader who looked to fix the process, but uplift the people within that process. I felt so much more capable in my new role knowing the Carolyn Sundy was in my corner.
Most importantly, Carolyn never missed an opportunity to advocate for our students. Just as all educational institutions across the country, Southeast has faced many challenges since mid-March. Carolyn never wavered. She listened carefully to the concerns of our students, and she worked tirelessly to make sure the College continued to give them the best possible service.
I was in no way ready to receive that early morning phone call, to learn that our dear Carolyn was gone. The region has lost an icon. Southeast has lost a mother-figure and a champion. I have lost a colleague and a cherished friend. To say that I will miss Carolyn is simply not enough.
(Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion Carolyn Sundy served students in Southeast Kentucky for 44 years.)