After receiving a degree in radiology from the College of DuPage in 1980 and working for 15 years as a radiology technician, Peach Carr made a drastic career change – she became a fashion designer.
Carr, 57, a self-taught designer, appeared on the television show “Project Runway” after her daughter convinced her to audition for the show. She was one of seven alumni honored Nov. 9 during the College of DuPage’s fourth annual Distinguished Alumni event.
Others honored were Roy Beaumont, who is the vice president of select service and extended stay lodging at Marriott International; Patrick Cullinan, who is the medical director for Centene, which is a Fortune 500 company that provides services to government-sponsored health care programs; College of DuPage nursing professor Dilyss Gallyot; entrepreneur and internationally known keynote speaker and facilitator Tom Krieglstein; award-winning composer and theatrical sound designer Christopher Kriz; and Amgen scientist Marsela Jorgolli.
“Seven years ago, my daughter was watching ‘Project Runway’ and she told me I should audition for ‘Project Runway,’’’ Carr said. “I told her that she should mind her own business. And she downloaded the application and filled it out. There were 14,000 applicants, and they took 17 of us. So that changed the direction of my life in more ways than I could ever say.”
After appearing on the show, Tim Gunn and the show’s executive producers told her that she had a future in fashion “if I decided to pursue it,” Carr said.
She did just that and started Peach Carr Designs, “chic fashion designed by women for women.” The Lake Forest resident, who previously lived in Winfield and Wheaton, is grateful for the education she received from the College of DuPage.
“It gave me an open mind and perspective on the world I didn’t have before,” she said. “It introduced me to a whole variety of people who were there for many different reasons and looking for many different things to get out of the experience. It opened my eyes, and I think it opened my heart a lot more in the two years I was there.”
Carr also was on the forensics team during her time at College of DuPage.
“It was an amazing experience, and that just rounded out my two years there,” she said. “That added a different dimension of fun.”
Carr is glad that she decided to change careers and become a fashion designer.
“It’s really wonderful to have an idea and see that idea completed,” she said. “It is so rewarding to have someone feel good about themselves because of something that you made, something that came out of your imagination.”