Fred Ohles, President of Nebraska Wesleyan; Joy Carol, Dr. David Mickey, former professor; Harry Huge, Esq.

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Legends & Legacies Alumni Award for Humanitarian Work




The Introduction of Joy Carol at The Awards Ceremony

for the Legends & Legacies Humanitarian Award 

by Harry Huge, Esq., and Classmate



            You will hear later the summary – and I say summary – of the achievements of Joy.


            What you won’t hear and understand is the human and self determination of this woman to overcome and then achieve greatness. For that is what her life and her overcoming all odds to even live – let alone achieve.


            Three times she faced imminent death – from a brain tumor, from a lethal strep infection in Sri Lanka – the freakish moment of horror when standing on a quiet street corner and a car jumped the curb and onto the sidewalk and smashed her through a plate glass window. And then an unknown guardian angel riding to the emergency room with her in the ambulance.


Immediate – random – inexplicable – face to face with death – no rational explanation – instead having to every day confront the randomness of the universe and the fearful knowledge that life is not guaranteed, not a given but something so precious and so fragile that one of two things happen – you quit or you make the moment and moments so meaningful that they blossom and grow and live before your eyes.


            That is what Joy did and is doing with her life –


            Her accomplishments are so rare and so diverse and so in every corner of the globe you wonder if there are more than one Joy Carols.


n      30 years of international development, creating institutions which thrive today – from the first on the ground program in Vietnam after the war, in which she negotiated with both the Vietnamese and US governments to establish the Save the Children program

n      And do not forget she introduced the oil companies to the Vietnamese Government in the Gulf of Tonkin, and she was the US convener of the Forum on Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos for all the Non-Governmental Agencies working in the area;

n      She found time to be awarded the outstanding educator in the US;

n      She founded the 1st Center for Women in Brooklyn – now entering its 36th year

n       Scandinavia, Africa, Asia, Latin America, India – it is easier to list the places Joy has not created humanitarian and lasting human institutions – like the South Pole

n      She also found time to write six books, spend time in Greece,  garden at her beach house in Hampton Bays;

n      And oh yes – into that extraordinary busy schedule add volunteer work with the Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, Central Park, and the Broadway Soup Kitchen


            But the outside worldly achievements pale in comparison to the inner triumphs of self and overcoming the demons of the world – demons that can snatch your life away in seconds.


That in my view is Joy’s most enduring achievement


George Bernard Shaw wrote – “Life is not meant to be easy, but take courage – it can be delightful.”


            You took courage, Joy.


The world is now and will be a better place because you graced it with your presence.


Congratulations, Joy Carol.







           Joy's Acceptance Speech :

Thank you Nebraska Wesleyan so much for this very special alumni award. I feel deeply grateful and honored to receive it and will always treasure it.                                  


Like other Wesleyan graduates, I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to attend this incredible university and to have been given an outstanding education. What I received at Wesleyan has provided me the foundation to work in many locations around the world in different fields ranging from education to psychology to international development to spirituality and health. Wesleyan gave me the motivation and the conviction that I could reach out, that I could be involved in the world in ways I never dreamed I could.


When I first graduated, I had no idea of the impact Wesleyan would have on my life’s journey. Having grown up on a small farm near Clatonia, Nebraska (population 199 – if you counted the dogs), I thought the universe only existed in our church, in our one-room schoolhouse, and on our farm in the wide open spaces of the Plains. I wasn’t exposed to many diverse aspects of life. But I did have some big dreams as a little girl. After my dad read books about Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig to me, I was sure I’d grow up to be a Yankee baseball player!


Fortunately, Wesleyan helped me focus on better options by offering what I needed: strong role models, practical knowledge, and an exposure to a whole new world. Most of all, it provided me a sense of confidence that would take me in my professional and volunteer work to the slums of Asian cities, to the poorest villages in Africa and Latin America, to war devastated areas of Vietnam, to Ground Zero in New York City following 9/11, and to my computer as an author.


Thank you, Wesleyan, for all of this – and for this award. I truly believe it will inspire me to continue my work in humanitarian efforts – for the next 50 years of my life.







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