President, head chef

Rachel Abbey

Despite her schedule, Cartwright finds time for her family

In the little time she’s not working, President Carol Cartwright likes to experiment with exotic recipes, travel wherever possible and spend time with her family.

Free time is rare, said her husband Phil Cartwright.

While most of her travel has been work-related the past few years, Carol Cartwright, 64, said she loves traveling. Phil Cartwright, 68, said their favorite thing to do is visit their three children and their families in Virginia, Wisconsin and California.

The couple has two daughters; Catherine, 35, and Susan, 31; one son; Stephen, 33; and Catherine’s two children, Margaret Johanna, 3, and Owen Phillip, 6 months.

“We are a close family,” Cartwright said.

She said she loves spending time with her two young grandchildren in Wisconsin, even if finding time to visit can be hard with her packed schedule.

“I’m trying not to put the pressure on for any more,” she said, laughing.

She said she will visit them during the Halloween weekend and wants to see them in their costumes. Cartwright said her granddaughter, “Josie,” is at the “princess stage.”

“She’s looking forward to (Halloween),” Phil Cartwright said. “She’s already getting stuff ready.”

The Cartwrights always spend holidays with their kids and other relatives, he said. Their 40th wedding anniversary will be in June 2006, about the same time as Cartwright’s projected retirement. The family already has plans to spend that week together.

Cartwright also has an interest in photography, her husband said. When their two oldest children got married, she made them 2-volume scrapbooks filled with childhood photographs.

Cartwright said she loves to cook her family’s favorites when they visit, but she personally likes to push her boundaries.

“For me, the most fun is trying something I’ve never tried before,” she said.

She said she does not have much time to cook, but she does have a large collection of cookbooks.

“If we have a long day, and my husband asks if I want to go out to eat, it’s the last thing I want to do,” Cartwright said. “I’d rather sit down and look through a cookbook.”

She said she also makes time every day to exercise.

“She’ll come home at 10 o’clock at night and exercise, or she’ll get up at 5 a.m. before a meeting,” Phil Cartwright said.

“There are many a day when she has gone from the house before I get up, and I’m in bed before she gets home.”

For the past 14 years, Linda Hermann, assistant to the president, has organized Cartwright’s schedule and balanced the many aspects of her work.

“I’ve enjoyed every minute. It’s been a challenge to keep up with her,” she said.

Hermann said she has watched Cartwright balance interactions with faculty and students, as well as with outside influences and the government, with grace.

“She has a very gracious style and manner to her,” Hermann said. “I’ve seen many people come in and out of the office, and she’s always received them graciously. She’s probably the hardest working person on campus.”

Busy as she is, Cartwright enjoys her work, said David Creamer, vice president of Administration.

“I think I can work as many hours as she does, but not with the enthusiasm she does,” he said.

Along with her contagious enthusiasm, Creamer said, the confidence Cartwright has in her staff is important in a leader. She trusts them with the freedom to do their jobs without constantly looking over their shoulders.

Cartwright is a strong group leader, said Tom Hensley, emeritus professor of political science. She allows an open exchange of ideas, but she also has a clear agenda in mind, keeping groups on topic.

“She makes decisions in a timely manner, rather than allowing faculty meetings to go on as they often do,” he said.

Contact administration reporter Rachel Abbey at [email protected].