Sarah Carter settles into life as first lady

By Hayley Burgess
Managing Editor
Kayloni Wyatt

While it takes most new students and residents some time to adjust to the train that runs by campus, it didn't take Sarah Carter, wife of Chancellor Kyle Carter, long to adjust to the train despite its running in front of her house. 

"I don't pay attention to it. I've adjusted to it," she said. "I just don't pay any attention to it and tune it out. I'm so tired when I go to sleep, I don't hear it." 

It also helped that she had to deal with a train when she taught at an elementary school in Missouri. 

When she was a teacher she used her guitar skills to sing songs to her class. She even used it to teach her children their home address. 

Carter said that the adjustment to living in Pembroke after living in Cullowhee, when her husband was Provost at Western Carolina University, has been an easy one mostly thanks to the people. 

"I just really like people," Carter said. "I find wonderful people wherever I go, and I embrace the differences and I enjoy being with the people I'm with." 

Carter, 62, is a native of Daytona Beach, Fla., where her parents moved after World War II and lived until they passed away a few years ago. 

She attended Mercer University in Macon, Ga., where she met her future husband, Kyle Carter, during Freshman Orientation on their second day of school. 

With a warm smile, she talked about how her husband caught her attention, 

"He sent me a note in my mailbox on campus asking me to meet him at the co-op at 6:30," Carter said. "I was really lucky to find such a good man at 18." 

The Carters have two children, Heather, who has a Ph.D. in Nutrition, lives in Atlanta, Ga., with her husband Daks and works for the Center for Disease Control. They had a baby, Ryland, Dec. 2, 2010. 

Their son, Travis, has a Ph.D. in Social Psychology and is currently doing a Post Doctorate Study at the University of Chicago. 

Carter said both her children were able to visit her new home in August. Because the house in Pembroke was provided by the University, the Carters were able to keep their house in Cullowhee, N.C., which their daughter and her family frequently visit. 

Since coming to UNCP, Carter has been involved in several committees, including the Health Committee and the Installation Committee. The Health Committee focuses on the health of the faculty and staff at UNCP. 

"I'm really interested in promoting health and wellness to students, faculty and staff all around campus," Carter said. 

On the Installation Committee, Carter is helping work on a week of activities to promote UNCP before the installation ceremony for Chancellor Carter on April 15. 

According to Carter, the week preceding the ceremony will be the time to showcase the students, faculty and staff's work at the University with a main focus on art, talent and music created by them. The 2011 Pembroke Undergraduate Research and Creativity (PURC) Symposium will take place April 13 during Installation week in the U.C. Annex. 

Carter also shared that during Installation week an Honor student will be shadowing her husband for one day and reporting the day to other Honor College students. 

"We want everybody who has something to do with the campus to feel honored throughout the week," Carter said. 

Future plans
She also has plans to be more vocal in the redesigning of the cafeteria. 

"I'm working with Sodexo to make the dining hall more open. I want to promote healthy choices for students," she said. 

Carter expressed her desire to see the campus become more sustainable. She would like to see a recycling bin on every corner on campus. 

When she isn't working on committees, Carter enjoys painting designs on white porcelain and tiles. 

"I love antique pieces. It brings me great joy. I love creating something beautiful," she said. 

She has several of the porcelain designs she's made decorating their home. 

She is currently painting a few pieces for the annual GPAC silent auction fundraiser March 19. 

Carter also enjoys walking her 7-year-old dog, Dooley, who has adjusted to UNCP easily. 

"He loves it [UNCP]," Carter said. "He loves all the activity and loves to wander around in the back yard."