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Carol J. Strong

Strong Leadership from Dr. Mom

A Tribute to Dean Carol J. Strong

By William "Bill" Strong, Emeritus Professor of Secondary Education



Carol Strong grew up in a working class family in Portland, Oregon, the second of six children, the one who cared for younger siblings. Early on she didn't know the luxury of indoor plumbing, but she was smart and pretty, good in school, and friendly to classmates. Wanting to fit in, she paid attention to the social conventions of the late 50s, while working summers in Oregon's berry fields and sewing her own clothes.

Dale Mildenberger, who is in the midst of his 35th season as the head athletic trainer at USU, is to USU what milk is to cereal - you just can't have one without the other. He is there to watch over the athletes, prevent injuries and then take care of those injuries when they inevitably happen.

Carol Strong and Family

Carol Strong and Family

She married young in 1961, and five years later there were two preschool children. By 1971 she had overcome academic fears to graduate with top honors in speech/language pathology from USU. By 1973 she had earned a master's degree from the University of Illinois and begun a distinguished teaching career at USU, one that culminated in the Professor of the Year award (1998) and being named Trustee Professor of Communicative Disorders (2001).

In 1989 Carol was the first graduate of USU's research and evaluation program–and her proud children dubbed her Dr. Mom. Her award-winning research later became The Strong Narrative Assessment Procedure, with a national audience. Other articles and books, such as The Magic of Stories: Literature-Based Language Intervention, secured her place as a leader in the field. In 2000 she was named the CEHS Outstanding Scholar/Researcher of the Year.

Before becoming dean in 2004, Carol directed the Women and Gender Research Institute, managed a SKI-HI Institute federal grant, and served as associate dean for research. Her leadership drew on qualities that had brought success in teaching and research arenas–namely, forward planning and clear communication, absolute integrity, and a genuinely authentic and optimistic spirit. She has loved working for the college and interacting with its generous donors.

Carol Strong and Bill

Bill and Carol Strong

As dean, Carol helped secure $25M from the Emma Eccles Jones Foundation, $1M from the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, $3M from the Sorenson Legacy Foundation, and $2.5M from the Lillywhite Estate. This funding will provide seven endowed chairs, one endowed program, and a building valued at $17M. Carol extends hearty congratulations to CEHS faculty for continuing to rank in the top 2% of all graduate schools of education nationally–the only college in the region to maintain this decade-long record.

"There are no words to describe all you have done for me over the years. I still ask myself, 'What did Carol say about this?' You opened up a world of joy that I have thrived in for so many years." ~Tobey Fields

"I would like to add my thanks to the many others. Your mentorship has been important in my professional development. Thank you for your personal investment and support–it makes a great difference!" ~Kay Bradford

"Carol knows personally what access to education can mean so she leads by heart-felt example." ~ Bill Strong

Carol Strong

Stan Meyrick (chair, National Advancement Board) presented retiring Dean Carol Strong with an amazing gift at her April retirement reception. Unbeknownst to Carol, donors and friends of the college contributed to the new building endeavor by naming the main hallway The Carol J. Strong Children's Street. The "street" is the first floor hallway which will connect the Dolores Doré Eccles Center for Early Care and Education and the Sounds Beginnings Preschool in the Emma Eccles Jones Early Childhood Education and Research Center

"Carol is a person of integrity, a person of compassion, and a person of strength. Thank you, Carol, for your friendship, grace, and dignity." ~Byron Burnham

"She has always been deeply passionate about her role as mentor and teacher to many, many students." ~Stan Albrecht

"As a doctoral student, I was always a bit amazed that you would ask for my input. Thank you for helping me feel that my opinion was of value. Thank you for your model of kindness and friendship." ~ Barbara DeBoer

"I have many fond memories of you, but probably nothing stands out as much as the job you have done as Dean. You have not only continued the legacy of excellence, but have taken the College to new heights." ~Prent Klag

"Nelson Mandela shared a quote that I think captures what you have done in your career here at USU. 'There is no passion to be found playing small–in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.' I think you have lived LARGE and because of this our lives here at USU are LARGE." ~Todd Campbell

"My life is truly better because of you. I will miss you so much. Please know I appreciate all that you have done for me." ~Marsha Rawlin

Click here to view the original pdf version of this tribute from the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services Magazine