Carole Carpenter Starts New Phase in Her Life
Published on Thursday, 31 May 2012 15:46
Carole Carpenter's life changed dramatically when she crossed a bridge over the Ohio River almost two decades ago and attended a mass at Franciscan University. Now, the woman who led Ave Maria University's fundraising efforts since the school's beginning, is crossing another bridge in her life, into a new career in real estate.
Her new career challenge isn't really that different, she explained.
"I spent the last 14 years of my life helping to carry out Tom Monaghan's compelling vision for establishing a new faithful Catholic university, surrounded by a multi-generational community," she said in a recent interview. "Now that my task with the university has ended, I have decided to use my skills and experiences to help grow the Ave Maria Community." Right, Dr. Carpenter with her husband, Reid.
Dr. Carpenter didn't start her professional life with a goal of selling real estate, or even working in academia. She trained as a nurse and then, with a master's degree in nursing, wound up in her first academic position as the dean of nursing at a community college in Pittsburgh. From there, after getting a doctorate in education, she became the executive dean at West Virginia Northern Community College in Weirton, WV.
And it was from there that she crossed that bridge over the Ohio River to visit Franciscan University of Steubenville and attended a mass there.
"I was touched seeing so many kids from all over the world," she said. She was Episcopalian at the time, but a year later she converted to Catholicism and told the head of Franciscan Unversity, Fr. Michael Scanlan, that she wanted to work at the school. She was hired there by Nick Healy, who four years later was working with Tom Monaghan and offered her a job at the new college Mr. Monaghan was starting up.
Having been part of Ave Maria University's growth for so many years, she says she understands the need for change at Ave Maria University that brought in a new management team under President Jim Towey, leaving no role for her, Mr. Healy and many others who had been with the university since its inception.
"No one knew better than I that change was needed," she said. "People who build something are not necessarily the people who maintain it. It was time for a transition. It was the right time all the way around."
It meant a big change for her, personally, although one that is not without other rewards. The new phase of her life affords her the opportunity to spend more time with her family, including four grandchildren, two aged 12 and 14 in Naples and two aged 15 and 18 in the Washington, DC, area. Pictured, Carole and Reid Carpenter flank much of their family at a family reunion in Connecticut, l-r: grandson Alex, son Don, daughter Susan, son Scott, grandson Brendan, son Jeff, daughter Christy, grandson Ethan.
"This is a huge transition in my life," she said. "I thought about returning to nursing or another academic role but thought the best use of my skills would be right here."
So she became licensed as a real estate agent and began working for the John R. Wood company, working out of an office on Immokalee Rd. in North Naples.
Dr. Carpenter lives with her husband, Reid, in the Del Webb community at Ave Maria.
"We love it here," adding that she thought she could do nothing better than help other people come to Ave Maria to live.
"Real estate lets me do that," she said, "while staying connected to the Ave Maria vision." Pictured right, Carole and Reid Carpenter with grandsons Aiden and Brendan.
Carole Carpenter can be reached at her new office at 229-449-2739 or by email at