College retiree Mary Marsha Cupitt receives Honorary Associate of Science degree from Durham Tech

Mary Marsha Cupitt, a former Durham Technical Community College instructor, received an Honorary Associate of Science degree at the College’s Commencement on May 24,2023, in recognition of her dedication and service to the College and its students.

Cupitt taught at Durham Tech, pioneered new pathways for students, and in retirement continues to stay connected with the College and provide opportunities for students through the C2 Scholarships.

Cupitt began at the College in 1987 when late President Phail Wynn hired her and three other instructors to help restart the College’s University Transfer program. 

“I came from N.C. State after teaching mathematics there for 10 years. I loved working at Durham Tech because students need you more at the community college level,” Cupitt said. “It was a pleasure working at Durham Tech and helping students with diverse backgrounds. I enjoyed every minute of it.” 

The College’s University Transfer program wanted to create a strong, friendly, and nurturing environment to prepare students for university standards. They worked alongside universities to ensure Durham Tech’s curriculum aligned with their courses, and successfully relaunched the program.  

In 1996, Cupitt received the College’s Excellence in Teaching award.

Of course I feel wonderful about it,” she told the Durham Herald-Sun at the time. “Durham Tech emphasizes quality instruction and to be a representative of all those great instructors is wonderful.”

Cupitt’s commitment to students extended beyond the classroom.

“I wanted students to have a true college academic and social experience,” she said. So she founded the Durham Tech Thespian Society. Her husband, Larry, built the sets. 

Their first production was “Inherit the Wind.” In following seasons, they performed plays that included “The Laramie Project,” “Hot l Baltimore,” “Biloxi Blues.” 

“Students really liked being in them.” Cupitt said.  “It gave them an opportunity to express themselves and to develop as young adults.” 

She also co-founded Gamma Beta Phi honor society at Durham Tech. “It’s important to recognize our students’ achievements and honor them,” she said.

She retired from Durham Tech in 2006, but soon returned and helped to develop the Transfer Center, Transfer Connections, and assisted in the creation of the N.C. College Transfer Program Association. 

She also helped to create curriculum guides that helped students plan their Durham Tech coursework for their intended university and major. 

Today, the Cupitts continue to support and enhance the education opportunities for students with scholarships they provide through their C2 Scholarships, which they named based on her maiden name of Callender and Larry’s last name of Cupitt. 

Mary Marsha Cupitt said she was deeply appreciative to receive the honorary degree from Durham Tech. “It’s really nice to have your work and contributions recognized in this way,” she said.