43 - A Committed Woman with a Heroic Heart

“Chi Omega was designed to help us become committed women with heroic hearts,” Dr. Mary Ann Carroll.

Dr. Mary Ann Carroll’s commitment and heroic heart were evident in all that she touched. She was nationally recognized for her work in graduate education, championing students’ needs and perspectives.

Throughout her career, she served as chairman of the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools, as a member of the Board and Executive Committee of the Council of Graduate Schools of the United States, and as a member of the Board and Executive Committee of the Graduate Records Examinations. She served as President of both the Indiana Association of Graduate Schools and the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools. Mary Ann was active in the international society for education, Kappa Delta Pi, and following her retirement as Dean at Indiana State, she served as Assistant to the Dean of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

Dr. Mary Ann Carroll in 1994

Among her Chi Omega Sisters, Mary Ann was best known as S.T.B. from 1969-1978, a strong advocate for our collegian Sisters, and a magnificent orator.

She was born January 29, 1929, in Terre Haute, Indiana, to George Charles Carroll and Margaret Mountz Carroll, a 1921 initiate at Xi/Northwestern.

Mary Ann, a Chi Omega legacy, started her own Chi Omega story when she became Model Initiate during the installation of Alpha Delta/Indiana State in 1949. Her sister, Elizabeth Carroll Shearer, who was five years her senior, had also joined Alpha Delta earlier that year.

Shortly after initiation, Mary Ann went on to serve as the first G.T.B. of the chapter, modeling her initiative, commitment, and instantaneous passion for the Sisterhood. While at Indiana State, Mary Ann earned her bachelor’s in math and chemistry in 1950, her master’s in 1955, and doctorate in education in 1963.

She spent 54 years as a teacher and administrator over the course of her life, with several years being spent with two schools in Terre Haute, Indiana, where she taught mathematics and served as Dean of Girls 1950-1964.

After earning her doctorate, Mary Ann returned to Indiana State University in 1964 as Assistant Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, and in 1976 she was promoted to Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, positioning herself to eventually become Indiana State’s longest-serving dean at the time.

Her expertise and love for higher education coupled with her desire to empower collegian women led her to be the perfect Sister to serve Chi Omega as S.T.B from 1969-1978, then on the Foundation Board from 1982-84. She was also highly involved in the Mary Love Collins Memorial Scholarship Fund Selection committee.

Mary Ann was known for her eloquent speaking, which was witnessed by countless delegates at Conventions throughout the years. Nuances of her quick wit and humor often shone through, and she was able to captivate audiences with her contagious energy.


Dr. Mary Ann Carroll at the podium at a Convention at The Greenbrier in the 1960s
Dr. Mary Ann Carroll speaking at a State Day while serving as S.T.B.

While serving as Dean, Mary Ann’s unwavering commitment to Chi Omega and her tireless work in higher education was honored in 1994 as she received the Malinda Jolley Morton Woman of Achievement award at Convention.

Dr. Mary Ann Carroll featured third from the right

She continued as Dean of the School of Graduate Studies until January 1, 1996, when she became Assistant to the President and Director of Governmental Affairs at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. This same year Indiana State University recognized her with a Distinguished Alumni Award.

While at Indiana State University, she was instrumental in bringing approximately 15 million dollars of federal funds to the University. She then helped bring in 7 million dollars of federal funds to the Rose-Hulman Institute and 4 million dollars for Crane/Rose-Hulman projects.

Mary Ann retired on December 31, 2004 at the age of 75.

Her accreditation experiences included serving on the Board and as President of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges, which accredits colleges and universities in a 17 state region. She served as chair or a team member on over 30 college accreditation visits including trips to branch campuses in Moscow, Zimbabwe, Kenya, and London. She was chair of the NCA Centennial Planning Committee and served in an accrediting capacity for the National League of Nursing and the National Association of Industrial Technology.

Her community activities included serving on the Board and as President of the Wabash Valley Community Foundation, on the Board and as President of the Board of Overseers, as a member of the Board of Managers, and as Treasurer of the Swope Art Museum. She served on the Board of the Union Hospital Foundation and as Chair of its Grants and Awards Committee. She also served for 27 years on Senator Richard Lugar’s Air Force Academy Selection Committee.

Dr. Mary Ann Carroll joined Omega Chapter September 6, 2018, at the age of 89, but her work in higher education and in her community live on in posterity. Her legacy continues as one that moved Chi Omega Sisters to become “committed women with heroic hearts.”