Diane Carroll: the Heart of the University


Photo provided by Dr. J.C. Casey

In the midst of a hug, Diane Carroll is surrounded by her friends, Donna Miles, Karen Holcomb, Layne Thrift, Dr. J.C. Casey. Dr. Rachel Jones, and Jordan Vinyard who attended the 2023 Spring DaVinci Awards Celebration. The ceremony honored Carroll and President Feaver for their contributions to higher education.

Paul Tointigh, Managing Editor

When entering the door to the Office of the President of USAO, one may expect to sit down and have a chat with President John Feaver.

To get to Dr. Feaver however, that person must go through another person who sits at the desk in front of the President’s Office. That person is Diane Carroll, executive assistant to the president and USAO board of regents secretary, whose personality and accomplishments cannot be contained in the office in which she serves.

Carroll has served in her position for 23 years. During her time at USAO, Carroll has contributed much to the institution, both in a professional and relational way, building friendships with faculty and students that extend far beyond her desk.

“She [Carroll] is very active in the life of the institution she’s a part of. She’s active in the committees and staff, so she’s really familiar with the broad range of activities,” Dr. Feaver said.

Dr. Jan Hanson, professor of music, says Carroll contributes professionally to USAO by how she markets the college publicly.

“She’s just so detail-oriented, and she does her best all of the time to show USAO in its best light. She’s very serious about it, and she puts a lot of effort into the things that she plans,” Dr. Hanson said.

Dr. Hanson has worked with Carroll for many years, planning events outside of USAO. No matter what that event is the outcome, Carroll always puts the campus and its events in a positive light, according to Dr. Hanson.

Carroll sometimes serves as the face of USAO, especially in her role as secretary to the board of regents. Due to her detail-orientated nature and ability to handle the various responsibilities she has, Carroll knows the ins-and-outs of USAO.

What makes Carroll a great public face for this college is who she is as a person. Her kindness and genuineness as a person has won many people over, and she has made great friendships because of that.

One of those great friends is Eileen Thomas, administrative assistant to the dean of education. Thomas has known Carroll since day one, as Thomas was on the search committee to hire her.

“Our friendship evolved from phone conversations, to lunch, and now we take trips together,” Thomas said. “Now we’re at the point that we can finish each other’s sentences, and she’s such an easy friend to have. She’s just fun, and it’s like I have another sister.”

Kaye Atkinson, former assistant to the registrar, is another one of those great friends. Atkinson worked closely with Carroll when Carroll was a part of the Office of the Vice President (VP). The two became fast friends, because Atkinson says she [Carroll] was such an easy person to get along with.

Atkinson said she was drawn to Carroll because of her spontaneity with people, whether a friend or stranger.

“She’s always like ‘how can I help you?,’ even with people she doesn’t know,” Atkinson said.

Atkinson said that Carroll is like a mother-figure to students on campus, due to her ability to listen to students and offer them advice. Atkinson continued to say that Carroll is a bundle of joy, a steadfast person on this campus, and her sister.

“She brings her love to USAO, and I have never seen anyone as dedicated – except perhaps Feaver – to this campus,” Thomas said. “She is one of Feaver’s biggest advocates, and she is very kind, generous, and loyal. Her love for USAO is unbelievable.”

Thomas said Carroll has done much for USAO outside of the president’s office as well. Carroll supports the campus, from sports to arts, and volunteers at the Food Pantry twice a month. Carroll also maintains a position on the Ninnekah Public School System’s school board.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Carroll organized a relief team composed of USAO students of faculty and made the drive to help those affected by the natural disaster. She is also an active member of Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit that provides home repair and housing to families in need.

In her many years at USAO, Carroll has touched many lives of both faculty and students.

“She’s one of those people who I can’t think about without a big smile on my face,” said Dr. J.C. Casey, professor of Communication. “She’s the most genuine person, and she makes you feel like you’ve known her for years. She is a role model for honesty and integrity.”

Carroll has made it clear that when Dr. Feaver retires from USAO in December 2023, she will be retiring with him, for good this time.

Carroll has a personality that fills the room, despite her small stature. While she may be small, her heart is big and her love is bigger. Her heart for this campus, its students, and its staff has not gone unnoticed. Though she may be retiring for the second time in December 2023, the impact she has left on this campus will be felt for years to come.


Paul Tointigh is a third-year Communication major at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.