A First for Carolina Women

Susan Grey Akers became the first female dean at Carolina...

Susan Grey Akers became the first female dean at Carolina...

Before she accepted a job as associate professor of the newly established School of Library Science at Carolina in 1931, Susan Grey Akers asked if there would be an opportunity to advance her career. That opportunity came just a year later.

In 1932, Akers was promoted to acting director of the school and to full professor, the first woman at the University to attain that status. She became the full director in 1935, and in 1942, she was named dean. She retired from that job in 1954, but continued to teach for several more years and remained active at the school until her death in 1984.

“She was gracious, friendly and scholarly,” then UNC System President William C. Friday said, according to a 1984 article in The Chapel Hill Newspaper, “and will be remembered as one of the leaders in teaching and administrating as the University grew from a relatively small campus to a large, complex institution. The University is grateful for the contributions of this great lady.”

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