Sad News of the Passing of Longtime Ithaca College Friend Carol Serling

By IC News staff, January 14, 2020
Rod Serling's widow was a member of the Board of Trustees for 18 years.

It is with great sadness that we write to let you know that longtime Ithaca College friend and supporter Carol Serling passed away on Jan. 9, at the age of 91. The widow of the late Rod Serling, Carol had served for 18 years on the Ithaca College Board of Trustees and was named an honorary trustee in 2002. Survivors include daughters Jodi ’74 and Anne, grandsons Samuel Serling-Sutton ’11 and Ryan Rothstein-Serling ’12, and granddaughter Erica Serling Petersen.

Carol met Rod while both were attending Antioch College, from which she graduated in 1950 with a degree in psychology and education. She served in a variety of volunteer and civic roles for many years, and she was a passionate steward of Rod’s legacy following his passing in 1975 while he was serving as a visiting professor at the college.

She served as associate publisher and consulting editor of the Twilight Zone magazine, project consultant for 1983’s “Twilight Zone: The Movie,” supervising producer for the 1994 television film “Twilight Zone: Rod Serling’s Lost Classics” and executive producer of the current CBS All Access revival of the “Twilight Zone” series, hosted by Jordan Peele.

Carol began donating examples of her husband’s work to the college, with these generous gifts continuing over the years to help establish the Rod Serling Archives as the largest single collection of television scripts and screenplays by the extraordinary writer. The collection also includes his six Emmy Awards; original typed scripts for most episodes of the Twilight Zone series; unproduced scripts; and photos, films and books from Serling’s personal collection.

two women with plaque

President Emerita Peggy Ryan Williams with Carol Serling and a plaque for the Carol and Rod Serling Studio.

She helped endow the Rod Serling Scholarship in Communications, which is awarded to students in the Roy H. Park School of Communications who demonstrate outstanding creative scriptwriting ability, and she regularly contributed to other scholarship funds at the college.

Carol also took a central role in establishing the annual Rod Serling Award for Advancing Social Justice through Popular Media, which is presented to a contemporary media industry professional whose work shines a light on prejudice, inequality and evolving social norms. Awardees have included legendary writer and producer Norman Lear; award-winning writers/producers Bill D’Elia ’69 and David E. Kelley; “Black-ish” executive producer Kenya Barris; and David Simon, creator of the celebrated HBO series “The Wire.”

She also served as a judge for the Rod Serling Scriptwriting Competition, which honors excellence in a short script displaying strong contemporary social themes in the science fiction and horror genres, and whose winner is recognized at the award ceremony. This year’s ceremony, scheduled for April 8 at the Directors Guild of America Theater Complex in Los Angeles, will be dedicated in Carol’s memory.

First elected to the Ithaca College Board of Trustees in 1983, she had a distinguished record of service that included chairing the audit, compensation and benefits, and trusteeship committees. In 1995 she was honored by the Ithaca College Alumni Association with the James J. Whalen Meritorious Service Award, which recognizes non-graduates for their distinguished contributions to Ithaca College through professional, civic or philanthropic activities.

In keeping with her family’s wishes, there will be no public memorial or funeral services. We join the members of our community in extending our condolences to her family, and in being incredibly grateful for Carol’s dedication to, and work on behalf of, Ithaca College.

David H. Lissy ’87
Chair, Ithaca College Board of Trustees

Shirley M. Collado
President, Ithaca College