50 for 50

Barbara Cole — A Sandhills Legacy

Barbara Cole

When author and Sandhills professor Barbara Cole was four years old in Anson County, North Carolina, she discovered what she wanted to be. She saw her older cousin pack up a trunk and a brown briefcase to go away to college to become an English major. Little Barbara was so impressed that she decided that’s what she wanted in life. “I went off to first grade with a brown satchel like my cousin’s, determined to be an English teacher,” she recalls.

Barbara Cole’s dream came true. For 45 years, Mrs. Cole has taught English at Sandhills Community College and, in doing so, has helped other people realize their dreams.

“At Sandhills, we are dream builders and dream catchers,” she says, with characteristic language mastery. “Students learn how to be successful and can go anywhere they want from here. The importance that this college puts on helping students is second to none.”

Mrs. Cole says she loves teaching people about their language. “When I was young, I heard people say they hated English courses and I was determined to find my own – maybe more enjoyable – way to teach something I loved,” she comments.

This passionate professor also teaches two Humanities courses, which she and fellow faculty member Bill Harris wrote and developed. The courses include a trip to Washington, D.C. and New York City during fall break and a trip to London and Paris over spring break. “To take students to these exciting cities to learn on site is a fabulous experience,” she reports.

A special joy came in 2009 when Sandhills Community College honored Mrs. Cole, an author of three children’s literature books, by naming the children’s area of the Katharine Boyd Library the “Barbara H. Cole Children’s Literature Center.” 

“I’ve never been so honored in my life,” she says. “The library is a wonderful place, including the people who work there. I’ve always loved the library at Sandhills, a place we all feel welcome.”


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