Carol M. Ross BA ’64 has been named the SON Alumni Association’s 2018 Honorary Alumna of the Year for her outstanding service to the community, School, and nursing profession.
Carol began her education at Mary Washington College before transferring to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to receive her bachelors in religion in 1964. Her journey from a religion degree to an advanced practice nurse APRN led Carol and her husband Coleman Ross (UNC ’65) to over a decade of leadership and service to improve psychiatric mental health care to patients in North Carolina and to the students and faculty of the UNC School of Nursing.
Upon returning to North Carolina from Connecticut and determined to make a difference, Carol teamed up with a local nonprofit, the Inter-Faith Council for Social Services, and opened a mental health clinic at the men’s homeless shelter in Chapel Hill as a volunteer. The clinic, which opened early in 2008, continues to provide psychiatric care and medications to approximately 300 people annually.
While working at the IFC, Carol also began her relationship with the UNC School of Nursing. She established an endowed undergraduate scholarship to honor her mother, who was a nurse and very influential in her life. She served 8 years on the School of Nursing Foundation Board of Directors and began working with SON faculty and students; supporting them through clinical placements, networking, advocacy and philanthropy.
Her admiration and respect for our psychiatric mental health nursing faculty and her desire to continue her advocacy for patients in North Carolina led her to an incredible philanthropic investment in the School. In 2013, Carol and Coleman established the Carol Morde Ross Distinguished Professorship in Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing. This professorship currently supports Dr. Victoria Soltis-Jarrett and the profession in three specific ways — improving access to mental health care; ensuring the education of psychiatric mental health advance practice nursing; and furthering health policy that supports psychiatric mental health nursing practice.
Carol’s relationship with the School goes beyond that of philanthropist and advocate. She is, in essence, everything an alumna could be. She leads in her profession and dedicated her life to serving the needs of patients. She has invested so much of her time and talent into the School of Nursing, and she advocates for us at every possible opportunity. When it comes to Carolina nursing, Carol’s heart is truly in it!
(Pictured: Carol and Coleman Ross with two former recipients of the Eunice Morde Doty Scholarship)