She was born in Berkley, CA, on April 22, 1951, and spent her youth in Fullerton, CA. Growing up, she was an atypical California girl who enjoyed the beach (but not surfing), participated in science fairs (instead of tanning contests), and explored nature with her siblings on their parents’ ranch in the Sierra foothills.
Diane met her future husband, John (“Jack”) Monrad, on one of her first days at Duke University, from where she graduated with a B.A. in psychology in 1972. She obtained her M.A. (1975) and Ph.D. (1978) degrees in developmental psychology from Johns Hopkins University, studying child psychology under Dr. Mary Ainsworth and psychometrics under Dr. Bert F. Green.
Diane and Jack married in 1972, and later became the proud parents of three children: Maggie, Catherine, and Elizabeth. She spent her early career years in Durham, NC, where Maggie and Catherine were born, followed by Elizabeth’s birth when the family moved to Richmond, KY. Upon moving to South Carolina in 1988, she spent time at home with her young children until 1991, when she joined the University of South Carolina’s College of Education and worked in the School Improvement Council Assistance program.
At the time of her death, she was the Director of the South Carolina Educational Policy Center in the University of South Carolina’s (UofSC) College of Education – a position she held for over 26 years – and a research associate professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policies. An accomplished researcher and policy expert, she managed and led several groundbreaking K-12 research and evaluation projects in South Carolina and elsewhere, and published over 50 reports, journal articles, and books. One of her professional joys was collaborating with her colleagues and mentoring the many graduate students she supported over the years. Diane also enjoyed sharing stories of family and lending an ear to the College’s building and support staff during her tenure.
Diane was devoted to her family, her cats, hobbies (including reading and antique doll collecting), and was an ardent follower of the Duke Blue Devils basketball team. She loved gardening, and, later in life, enjoyed tending to her many orchids and amaryllises. An avid animal lover, she was fond of watching birds and saved, nurtured, and fostered countless cats over the years. Diane was loyal, trustworthy, strong and passionate, worked hard at her job and looked out for her clients, students, friends, and family. She was a brilliant mind and a rock in our family – she will be greatly missed.
She is predeceased by her parents, Donald Vincent Mahony and Margaret Lowrie Mahony, and by her sister Cheryl Mahony. She is survived by her husband Jack, her daughters Maggie, Catherine (Gabriel Whalen), and Elizabeth (Christopher Freeman), and her grandchildren Henry and Clara Whalen, whom she adored to pieces. She is also survived by her siblings Lynn Mahony, Richard Mahony, and Jan Mahony (Ed Kroner) and niece Grace Kroner.
A celebration of life is planned for Thursday, September 14, from 4:00 to 6:00 pm ET at the Spigner House, 915 Gregg St., Columbia, SC, for those wishing to share stories and memories. In lieu of flowers, and to honor Diane’s dedication to helping graduate students pursue the craft of quality research, please consider a contribution to the Dr. Diane Monrad Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund (https://donate.sc.edu/drdianemonradmemorialscholarship) within the College of Education at UofSC to support the research and scholarship of future education professionals.