“Carolyn Hamrick has been with the college for 24 years and so she has helped to build so much of who we are today. She was one of the strongest student advocates I’ve ever known,” GHC Interim President Renva Watterson said. “She began as a part-time instructor, then she went into full-time faculty, then moved along and has offered leadership across service area and on several campuses and has been at Cartersville since, I believe, 2005, so she almost opened that campus.”
She said Hamrick’s passing is a loss for the world of higher education.
“For one thing, we are stunned because it’s just so unexpected this would happen. Carolyn was very active in the community; she was just a force to be reckoned with,” Watterson said. “We’re so deeply saddened, not only for this college community, we are a family, but also for Bill, her husband, who was long the registrar at Kennesaw [State University]. They are higher education folks through and through, and so they really understand and appreciate what it takes to run a successful and effective college. And, certainly, Carolyn was the epitome of that.
“She had such a heart for students; she was a tremendous supporter of faculty and staff. She was embedded in the community and loved and appreciated by everyone.”
Representatives from the chamber also said they appreciate all of Hamrick’s efforts over the years to further the chamber’s goal of economic development.
“We simply do not have the words to express the deep sorrow we feel over the death of Carolyn Hamrick, chamber board of director, Leadership Bartow graduate and past co-chair of the Bartow Business Women. Her encouragement and support of our chamber was unwavering,” Adena Harper, 2014 chamber chair, and Joe Frank Harris Jr., chamber president and CEO, said in a statement. “Please know that we are here to support this family. We wish them peace to bring them comfort, courage to face the days ahead and loving memories to cherish forever in their hearts.”
Hamrick previously expressed to The Daily Tribune News her love for education.
“There is nothing more rewarding than seeing students succeed,” Hamrick said. “Many of our students come in scared and underprepared. People have told them they shouldn’t go to college or that they weren’t smart enough. To see those students walk across the stage at graduation or to have a student come into your office and tell you that GHC made a difference in their life makes you feel great.”
She also said she appreciated being able to work with the chamber and engage in volunteer work at Sam Jones United Methodist Church.
“These activities allow me the opportunity to be involved and to give back to my community. Cartersville is a great place to live and it’s because of the people. I want to be able to give back to my community,” Hamrick said.
The funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday at Sam Jones United Methodist Church. The family has requested that in lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Sam Jones United Methodist Church Building Fund or the Georgia Highlands Scholarship Fund.