Claire T. Carney: Trustee, alumna, mother, citizen, friend

 Claire T. CarneyAs a student, alumna, mother, and University of Massachusetts Dartmouth trustee, Claire T. Carney is an enduring example of the power of education to transform the lives of individuals and families.

"Your name has become inseparable from the word dedicated," reads the Distinguished Service Award she received from the university's Student Senate in 1989. "You have gone out to meet your responsibilities here as you have faced the challenges of your personal life, with utmost capability, with intense commitment and with great zest."

A 1940 graduate of New Bedford High School, Mrs. Carney immediately went to work in the inventory department of the Morse Twist and Drill Machine Company. Later, as her husband Hugh was serving overseas during World War II, she worked office jobs at Otis Air Force Base, the U.S. Naval Hospital and the Internal Revenue Service. Widowed in 1962 with children ages 10, 12, 13, and 15, Mrs. Carney went back to work at Morse Twist and Drill to support her family.

In 1968, Claire invested her savings, her unparalleled work ethic, her talent, and her trust in starting a real estate rehabilitation business with her eldest son, Patrick. The company, now known as the Claremont Companies, has grown into a very successful national real estate development and management firm.

Just as the company was starting, Mrs. Carney also decided to go to college, continuing a lifelong commitment to learning that endures today. At age 50, Mrs. Carney graduated from UMass Dartmouth (then known as Southeastern Massachusetts University). It was 1973 and her degree was in English. This was just one year after the current UMass Dartmouth library opened.

In 1981, Mrs. Carney was appointed to the university's Board of Trustees by Governor Ed King. She was reappointed to the board by Governor Michael Dukakis in 1984. She has volunteered her services to the board of SHARE, the rehabilitative engineering organization based at the university, and she was past president of the university's Library Associates and remains an active member.

She received the SMU Alumni Association Service Award in 1982, the university's Centennial Award in 1997, and an honorary degree in 1990.

Mrs. Carney has served as chair of the town of Dartmouth Historical Commission for five years, and as a trustee of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. From her home in Florida, she continues to volunteer ideas and energy to causes that expand educational opportunity. She served for 15 years on the board of the Life Long Learning Society at Florida Atlantic University, and continues to serve on the board of the Directors of the American Association of University Women in Boca Raton.

Mrs. Carney's family has always been a central focus of her life. Her four children, like her, are living examples of how education changes lives. Her son, Patrick, is the CEO of the Bridgewater Massachusetts- based Claremont Companies. Her daughter, Dr. Doreen Parkhurst, is an emergency room physician at North Broward Hospital in Pompano, Florida, and an assistant dean and director of the Barry University Physician Assitants Program in Miami Shores, Florida. Her son, Mark, is a budget analyst at UMass Dartmouth, and her youngest son, H. Jay Carney, is the chief development office the Eye Health Vision Center in North Dartmouth.

Mrs. Carney has loved her role as "Grandmere" and has along with her children, her son- and daughters-in law always encouraged her 11 grandchildren to pursue the own dreams through education. She now has two great grandchildren just beginning their learning adventures.

- from the Blue & Gold Gala program, October 14, 2006