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Passing of Alumna Carolyn Marie Smith Green

Founder’s Day 2017 (Mrs. Carolyn Marie Smith Green, bottom, center)
Mrs. Carolyn Marie Smith Green

Dear NCCU Community,

It is with sadness that I share with you this message confirming the passing of a member of our university’s founding family, Mrs. Carolyn Marie Smith Green.

Mrs. Green, the granddaughter of North Carolina Central University’s founder Dr. James Edward and Mrs. Annie Day Robinson Shepard, left this earth on Wednesday, August 7, 2019. Her loss is being felt throughout her own family, as well as among the NCCU community, her hometown of Henderson and our alumni network.

Born the daughter of late Isaac H. Smith, Jr. and Annie Day Shepard of New Bern, N.C., Mrs. Green graduated from North Carolina College at Durham with a Bachelor of Science in Commerce (Summa Cum Laude) in 1951. She was a devoted mother of three and wife of the late Dr. James P. Green, a physician in Henderson, N.C.

In upholding the legacy of her grandparents, Mrs. Green led the way in creating cultural change in Henderson, N.C., and was involved in many civic and community activities. She was the first African American woman to run for the school board in Vance County and after desegregation, she reorganized the parent-teacher organization at E.M. Rollins Elementary School. Additionally, she was the first African American asked to join the Hospital Guild at what is now the Maria Parham Medical Center; she later served as its treasurer and president. Her family legacy also led her to create the Shepard Alliance for Enlightenment with the Triangle Community Foundation, a nonprofit that funds organizations that execute preservation projects chronicling the history of people of color in North Carolina. She also volunteered with the American Heart Association and raised funds for the American Cancer Society. Mrs. Green was a life member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and a longtime member of the Cotton Memorial Presbyterian Church of Henderson.

Funeral services for Ms. Carolyn Marie Smith Green will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 14, 1 p.m., at Cotton Memorial Presbyterian Church (511 North Chestnut Street, Henderson, NC 27536) with Rev. Delton Farmer officiating and eulogistic remarks given by Elder Eva M. Clayton. The interment will follow in Elmwood Cemetary. The viewing is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019, from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., in the chapel of Davis-Royster Funeral Service Inc., 926 South Garnett Street, Henderson, N.C. 27536, and at the church prior to the funeral service. Visitation for family and friends will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 13, from 6 p.m. to 8 p., in the chapel of Davis-Royster Funeral Services. 

The obituary for Alumna Green is here: https://www.davis-royster.com/obituaries/Carolyn-Smith-Green?obID=5647279#/obituaryInfo 

Please also take a moment to read this article on Mrs. Green here: https://infoweb.newsbank.com/apps/news/document-view?p=AWNB&docref=news/15B9128C4BD557B8&f=basic.

Please hold the first family of NCCU, the Shepard family, in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. 

In Truth and Service,


Johnson O. Akinleye


Johnson O. Akinleye, Ph.D.


Published: Friday, August 09, 2019
by Director of Marketing and Communications, Quiana M Shepard
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