Sue May Kirkland was born in Hillsborough North Carolina and in her early years, attended the Burwell School and the Nash and Kollock Select Boarding School and Day school for Young Ladies. Kirkland taught briefly at Peace College in Raleigh and there she met Charles Duncan McIver. McIver encouraged Kirkland to become the lady principal of the State Normal and Industrial School and she accepted the position which she held for 22 years. She passed away unexpectedly on June 8th,1914. A residence hall was named after her which was later torn down for the construction of Moran Commons.