Carter honored with civic award at LMU

Published 2:36 pm Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) President Clayton Hess presented the 2017 Mary Mildred Sullivan Civic Award to Wilma Patton Carter during LMU’s Winter Commencement exercises in Tex Turner Arena.

LMU is one of approximately 60 colleges and universities in the United States to have the privilege of awarding the Algernon Sydney Sullivan and Mary Mildred Sullivan Awards. The awards are given to recognize individuals whose “nobility of character” and dedication to service sets them apart as examples for others.

Carter, a native of Speedwell, Tennessee, and graduate of Powell Valley High School, married fellow Speedwell native Roy C. Patton in 1953. The couple left the area and Carter started a career with Mercy Hospital in Monroe, Michigan, working for Dr. Vernon L. Weeks for nearly a decade. After she returned to Tennessee, she went to work for LMU as a technical services librarian. After three years, she went back to the medical field, beginning a decade of service at the Daniel Boone Clinic in 1966. She paused her career to care for her ailing spouse before returning to LMU’s Carnegie Vincent Library in 1978. She remained at LMU until 2001, also serving as interim librarian for one year during that time.

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In 2001, Carter married Ray Carter, a fellow LMU employee, and the pair retired to travel together. After enjoying six years of marriage, Ray Carter suffered a massive stroke and Carter once again demonstrated her compassionate spirit by providing care for him until his passing in 2014. Since then she has filled her time traveling, visiting, assisting her family members and caring for great nieces and nephews. She once again answered LMU’s call in August, when she came back to work in the division of University Advancement.

“Individuals such as Wilma who embody service and care leave such a wide circle of influence, which truly improves the lives of others wherever they go,” Hess said while presenting the honor. “Today, Wilma’s influence has never been more evident. Wilma knows — and cares — about the students she has guided, the patients whose health she had played a role on helping and the friends and family that continue her LMU legacy today.”