It’s the People: Carolyn Thomas and Bob Pohlad

It's the People

Drs. Carolyn Thomas and Bob Pohlad stand on St. John beach, Virgin Islands, in 2013.
Drs. Carolyn Thomas and Bob Pohlad stand on St. John beach, Virgin Islands, in 2013.

Dr. Bob Pohlad, Professor of Biology, Horticulture, & Environmental Science
Dr. Carolyn Thomas, Professor of Environmental Science & Biology

Dr. Bob Pohlad arrived at Ferrum College in 1978 as a biology professor. He spent the next 41 years at the College teaching biology, horticulture, and environmental science. His wife Dr. Carolyn Thomas joined him at Ferrum in the fall of 1979 where she spent 40 years as a professor of environmental science and biology. They taught together, engaging Ferrum College students in world-wide travels to Africa, the Virgin Islands, Ireland, and more countries, as well as showcasing nature in our own backyard. The couple retired together in May 2018. In January 2020, Dr. Thomas passed away at the age of 71. “Being at Ferrum College, on a campus such as ours, she embraced every place as her outdoor laboratory,” Dr. Pohlad remembered. “If she could get outside and get students in the creeks or pond, she knew that they would learn to love what she did.”

Ferrum College will always be a special place to Dr. Pohlad. “Carolyn and I could teach together, side by side, raise our family in a wonderful community of people, develop close and lasting ties to so many students and colleagues, and feel the joy of their successes over all these years,” he said. “We both loved to provide everyone the opportunity for experiential learning and share our love of travel and discovery with them.  Seeing that look of joy on their faces when they lived a new experience was such a pleasure. I think that goes for both of us.”

Carolyn Thomas and Bob Pohlad on their wedding day.
Pohlad and Thomas during Ferrum College's 2019 Commencement.