Remembering Millicent Blair Arnett (1972-2013)

Millicent Blair Arnett, MS-SLP Class of 2002, died May 22, 2013. Below, Department of Allied Health Sciences Associate Chair for Student Services and AHEC Operations Brenda Everett Mitchell, UNC MS-SLP alumna Heather Petrusa, and current MS-SLP student Chanel Blaylock share their reflections about Millicent.

Remembering Millicent Blair Arnett (1972-2013) click to enlarge Millicent Blair Arnett

“Millicent Blair Arnett truly found her niche as a pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP).  She thoroughly enjoyed her work with children as much as she enjoyed interacting with her sons, David and Matthew.

Millicent was admitted to the DSHS graduate program in SLP in 2000 after having been an elementary school teacher for a few years out of college.  She discovered this career and pursued it with great passion. In 2006, I asked Millicent if she’d like to work with me on an AHEC-funded grant aimed at recruiting underrepresented students into the Allied Health Professions at UNC Chapel Hill.  She enthusiastically agreed to assist me in this part-time effort in addition to her work as a SLP.  Millicent was responsible for managing many of the outreach efforts from the UNC Chapel Hill campus to statewide partner campuses of North Carolina A & T State University, North Carolina Central University, UNC-Pembroke and Elizabeth City State University, and Dudley High School.

College students heard about UNC AHS disciplines through presentations delivered live at UNC Chapel Hill and teleconferenced to partner campuses.  Millicent was occasionally asked to share what she did as a SLP with the students.  In her typical bubbly and energetic manner, she did not just talk about being a SLP, but also demonstrated how to engage children in speech and language activities.  She was so effective in her presentations that even students who were not interested in SLP as a career option were excited to participate.

Millicent continued to stay in touch with me after her work with the grant and shared the joys and challenges of life.  Her faith in God kept her grounded during the difficult years prior to departing her life.  My life was made richer because of my affiliation with Millicent.  I will miss her dearly.  Her life reminds all of us to seize each moment of life and to pursue our passions with great fervor.” - Brenda Everett Mitchell

Heather Scott Petrusa, left, and Millicent Blair Arnett at the 2007 ASHA Conference.
“Millicent was an ambassador for the profession of speech-language pathology.  Her enthusiasm for working with children was infectious and persuaded me, and probably many others, to pursue a career as a pediatric speech-language pathologist.  Millicent’s passion for children was evident when she spoke about both her work and her sons.  I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from her experience and also collaborate with her professionally.  She will be greatly missed.” - Heather Scott Petrusa, MS-SLP Class of 2008

“I was greatly influenced by Millicent’s love and passion for helping others.  As a freshman in college, I searched aimlessly for a future career and was unable to find something that I would enjoy.  After a candid talk with Millicent about the wonderful opportunities in the field of speech and hearing sciences, I was able to secure a lifelong dedication to helping others as well.  Millicent always provided great wisdom, guidance, and encouragement to help me through my journey, and for that I am forever grateful.  Millicent’s willingness to help others succeed in the field of speech-language pathology will continue to live on through the lives of many she touched.” - Chanel Blaylock, Second-year MS-SLP Student

Millicent's obituary, published in The Charlotte Observer, can be found at

Millicent Blair Arnett Memorial Speech-Language Pathology
Annual Scholarship Fund

The Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences has created the Millicent Blair Arnett Memorial Speech-Language Pathology Annual Scholarship Fund at the Medical Foundation of NC to accept contributions from alumni, faculty, and friends in memory of Millicent.  Contributions to this expendable account will be awarded annually to a deserving UNC SLP student and presented at the UNC Allied Health Sciences Student Scholarships and Awards Brunch held each fall.  The Chair of the Department may decide at a later date to convert the account into a  permanent endowment if the funds contributed reach the scholarship endowment minimum.  Click here to make an online gift to Millicent's scholarship or contact Kyle Gray at 919-966-3352 or