Joyce B. Parker
2013 University Medallion
Joyce Bennett Parker was a faculty member in the Department of English at Coastal Carolina University from 1965 to 1998. She was the first chair of the Department of English, serving from 1965 to 1974, and she was the University’s senior faculty member from 1991 until her retirement in 1998. Parker was the first faculty member to carry the University Mace at ceremonial functions.
In her academic career, Parker fused her love of literature, particularly children’s literature, with her love of music. She was an advocate for community literacy, leading the Literature and Leadership conference at Coastal in l996 and the Happily Ever After Children’s Literature conference in 1998. An accomplished musician, she organized Coastal Carolina’s first student chorus in the late 1960s. She directed 11 musical theatre productions in the community and at Coastal Carolina, and sang leading roles in Oklahoma, Hello Dolly and The Music Man. Parker led a workshop for faculty on Music as Motivator and had her students participate in the local VIVACE arts festival.
During her final year at the University, she organized a “Celebration of Robert Frost,” which presented selected Frost poems in music. She was also secretary of the Faculty Senate for all the regional campuses when Coastal Carolina was part of the USC system. In 1971, Parker received Coastal Carolina’s Distinguished Teacher Award. She was named one of the Outstanding Young Women in America in 1972.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Erskine College in 1958 and a master’s degree in English from Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College in 1961. She did postgraduate work at the University of North Carolina, University of South Carolina and the University of Wisconsin.