MCC Daily Tribune

Carolyn Wendell, Professor Emerita of English

The College community was saddened to learn of the recent passing of an inspirational educator, Professor Emerita of English Carolyn Wendell.

Originally from Superior, Wisconsin, Ms. Wendell earned a master of arts degree from the University of Iowa and a bachelor of arts degree from SUNY Binghamton's Harpur College of Arts and Sciences. She began her career in higher education teaching freshman English and literature courses at Wisconsin State University prior to joining MCC as an instructor in 1968. She was promoted to assistant professor in 1992 and to professor in 1989. She retired with the rank of professor emerita from the English/Philosophy Department in 2002.

Known for her expertise in science fiction and writing, Ms. Wendell contributed to numerous MCC committees and professional development activities. In 1990, she researched ways MCC could integrate women's studies into its offerings. In addition to producing the Faculty Women's Caucus newsletter for MCC, she was a published author who contributed to a variety of journals, conferences, workshops and professional symposia.

Her husband Jonathan passed away in 2017.

As demonstrated by the following comments from English/Philosophy faculty, Ms. Wendell is fondly remembered by her colleagues and deeply missed.

According to Professor Kathy O'Shea, "Carolyn an active feminist, was a founding member of the MCC's Women's Caucus. Her passion for varied literature led her to teach Women and Literature and design the department's first science fiction course. Faculty who worked with Carolyn remember well her bluntness and her kindness. She was a mentor and a friend."

Professor Holly Wheeler adds that Carolyn was an outstanding mentor to new faculty and adjuncts. "She always had a funny story and a kind word about my teaching when I was feeling inadequate or when I worried about upcoming observations--and she always stressed 'when' not 'if' while speaking about the possibility of my teaching at MCC full time. I appreciated her honesty, perspective on the discipline, and her mentorship."

Department Chairperson Tony Leuzzi describes Carolyn as one of our deepest and most engaged readers. "While it might be assumed that all professors like to read, very few read with as much gusto or intensiveness as Carolyn. She kept a journal to write critical commentary on every novel or memoir she read, and often began any conversation with a friend or colleagues with 'What are you reading?'

"In addition to this, Carolyn's direct, sometimes brash candor was always motivated by generosity. She was, as Professor Ann Tippett has noted, 'a feminist by necessity' and as Professor Jay Keith once observed 'a feminist of the first-wave,' someone who paved the way for future generations of women to achieve equity in the workplace."

Kress, Anne
Office of the President
10/31/2019