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March 04, 2011

Carolyn Neff, Secretary of the University

Carolyn Neff, 1958

Trusted right hand of University presidents, trustees, and faculty; coordinator of self-studies and accreditation visits; organizer of anniversary celebrations, countless building dedications, conferences, and commencements (when there were three ceremonies each year!), Carolyn Neff was the first woman to serve as an officer of the corporation as Secretary of the University.

Miss Neff “had a great organizing ability....She was, in my mind, the epitome of the staff person, which is a high and honorable calling. She knew how to get things done...her instinct for strategy was formidable.” [1]

She was born Mary Carolyn Neff 7/23/1914 in Memphis, Tennessee. A graduate of Bay Village High School, she entered Cleveland College in 1936 while working as an office manager at Bonne Bell, Inc. After her 1945 graduation from Cleveland College, Miss Neff held several administrative positions at Cleveland College and in the University Development office. In 1955 she became administrative assistant to the president and Secretary of the University in 1959.

In 1967 the newly created Case Western Reserve University faced the challenge of reconciling different policies, systems, and cultures of Case Institute of Technology and Western Reserve University. Miss Neff shepherded and supported the Constitutional Assembly, which devised the new faculty governance structure.

In recognition of decades of service, the 1978 University Ball was given in her honor. She was named Secretary Emeritus of the University in 1979. Her memorial service was held at Amasa Stone Chapel June 20, 1985.

President Louis Toepfer escorts Carolyn Neff to the University Ball, 11/18/1978

Other stories about CWRU women
Other Women's History Month recollections include Bess Barr LeBedoff, Mary Frances Pinches and Helen Stankard

Posted by hxy2 at March 4, 2011 03:10 PM

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