Thelma Carroll: Education trailblazer in the Be A Reader (BeAR) Program

by | May 18, 2023 | Other News


A trailblazer and an active Be A Reader (BeAR) mentor, Thelma Carroll has impacted many lives.

In 1960, Carroll applied to and was accepted at Lincoln University, a historically black university in Pennsylvania. She majored in English and graduated in 1964 with a Bachelor of Arts degree – among the first women to graduate from the school, breaking barriers and paving the way for generations of women.  She later received her master’s degree in public administration from Temple University and became a civil servant, working with the housing and urban development department.

One of only a few women on campus at Lincoln University, Carroll faced discrimination and adversity. The women did not have dormitories or other amenities, but, as Carroll proudly states, “What we had was the desire to stick together as the women of Lincoln U!” Despite many obstacles, she persevered and became an accomplished student and leader. She was also involved in community service projects and helped organize protests against segregation and discrimination.

Carroll has been with the BeAR program as a reading mentor for many years, starting at College Park Elementary and transferring this year to Chesterfield Academy, where she helps struggling students improve their reading skills. Her passion for reading is contagious; many of her students have become avid readers.

Carroll’s legacy as a trailblazer and BeAR mentor is a testament to her strength, resilience, and compassion. She has inspired countless individuals to overcome obstacles and pursue their dreams and has helped generations of students develop a love for reading and a thirst for knowledge.

Among Carroll’s numerous awards and honors for her educational contributions and commitment to social justice, in 2019, she was inducted into the Lincoln University of Pennsylvania Hall of Fame, joining a select group of individuals who have significantly impacted the university and the world.

The United Jewish Federation is fortunate to have Carroll as a dedicated and beloved BeAR mentor.

-Robin Ford