UNCG Magazine

Spring 2020

RISE TO THE
CHALLENGE

Pandemic Report

Simply
Unprecedented

A new strain of coronavirus has jolted the world. It closed all in-person classes and prevented all public events at every UNC System school. But learning, research, and our university’s much-needed impact go on.

March was a cruel month. Without drastic public health measures, April would have been the cruelest.

The first case of the coronavirus in North Carolina was detected on March 3.

On March 11, UNCG officials, in accord with UNC System universities, canceled all in-person classes for the following week, giving faculty time to prepare online lessons. As of March 23, all classes were online. The spring sports seasons were ended. All performances, lectures, and games were canceled. Alumni Reunion weekend would be online-only, with big hugs replaced by heart emojis. And in a first for this campus, the May Commencement was postponed.

A global pandemic and UNCG’s mission

A Message from Chancellor Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr.

Our world has been forever changed. The outbreak of the coronavirus that initially seemed so distant has touched all of our lives in profound and personal ways. The first cases were reported in North Carolina in early March, and the steady spread has reached our community and nearly every part of our state. And through it all, UNCG perseveres, and maintains its focus on our mission: educating our students and preparing them to contribute to our society in meaningful ways.

We are in uncertain times and, in many ways, uncharted territory with the realities and required responses associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The impacts at UNCG have been swift and significant, and we’ve had to make decisions based on fast-changing and unpredictable circumstances.

Nurses on the Front Line

Dr. Ernest Grant ’93 MSN, ’15 PhD, president of the American Nurses Association

Dr. Ernest Grant ’93 MSN, ’15 PhD, president of the American Nurses Association

Duty calls. During the current pandemic, nurses across the state and nation are serving long hours with limited supplies and protective wear. Dr. Ernest Grant ’93 MSN, ’15 PhD, president of the American Nurses Association (ANA), has a broad perspective, as he represents the nation’s 4.3 million registered nurses.

An expert in burn care, he oversaw the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center’s Outreach and Prevention Program for many years. After Sept. 11, 2001, he volunteered in New York, caring for patients injured in the attacks. And now there’s another cataclysm, one that we all are facing: the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak.

“It’s vitally important that we do everything we can to slow or stop the spread of COVID-19 and to reduce, not only the string of infections that are happening now, but also what might happen in the future,” he said in a March 30 interview. “Because, as more and more people contract it, it’s obviously going to prove quite a strain on the health care system as well.”

As ANA president, he is advocating for those on the front line to get the personal protective equipment they need. He is working with and encouraging government authorities to monitor supply chains to ensure that vital medical equipment goes where it is most needed. And through videos and social media, and through interviews with national news programs, he has spread the message: Follow your local and state directives about sheltering in place.

“I know it’s very difficult. I’m a bit frustrated, myself, with having to stay indoors most of the time, but we all must do our part,” he said.

Heart to Heart

Her dad’s taught her a lot. Now she’s teaching him a few things too.

Grit. Stamina. A great sense of humor. And the ability to check your emotions at the door. These are some of the characteristics that reveal themselves when getting to know Les and Sara Nichols, a father-daughter team currently making their way through the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program at UNC Greensboro.

These also happen to be traits that define a successful health care professional able to withstand the trials of a hospital emergency ward. Les and Sara know this well. Outside of school, the father and daughter duo serve in the same emergency unit at High Point Medical Center, where they take what they learn in the classroom and apply it on the job, and vice-versa.

Les and Sara tackle job- and school-related problems by drawing upon their respective experience and skill sets. Les is able to bring his many years’ experience working in various fields and being a dad to the table, while Sara is able to bring her fresh perspective and right-brain sensibilities. “I know his strengths and weaknesses and he knows mine, so we can help each other out,” says Sara.

They are passionate about what they do, and they have each other’s backs – on the hospital floor as well as in classes, at clinicals, and during marathon study sessions for big exams.

I know his strengths and weaknesses and he knows mine, so we can help each other out.

Sara Nichols

Heart to Heart

Her dad’s taught her a lot. Now she’s teaching him a few things too.

Grit. Stamina. A great sense of humor. And the ability to check your emotions at the door. These are some of the characteristics that reveal themselves when getting to know Les and Sara Nichols, a father-daughter team currently making their way through the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program at UNC Greensboro.

These also happen to be traits that define a successful health care professional able to withstand the trials of a hospital emergency ward. Les and Sara know this well. Outside of school, the father and daughter duo serve in the same emergency unit at High Point Medical Center, where they take what they learn in the classroom and apply it on the job, and vice-versa.

Les and Sara tackle job- and school-related problems by drawing upon their respective experience and skill sets. Les is able to bring his many years’ experience working in various fields and being a dad to the table, while Sara is able to bring her fresh perspective and right-brain sensibilities. “I know his strengths and weaknesses and he knows mine, so we can help each other out,” says Sara.

They are passionate about what they do, and they have each other’s backs – on the hospital floor as well as in classes, at clinicals, and during marathon study sessions for big exams.

Nursing Perspectives

UNCG has a proud nursing heritage. Its undergraduate bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program is rigorous, with an N.C. licensing “pass rate” to prove it: 93% of the Spartan students pass it on the first attempt. The program – with many first-generation or non-traditional students – is supportive, with a degree completion rate of 98%. And once they are done, they are in high demand, with an employment rate of 99%. They have the knowledge and skill needed in diverse health care settings.

These are unprecedented times, but this is what we signed up for when we became nurses. Our mission as nurses is to promote well-being and serve the health needs of our communities.

Dr. Robin Remsburg ‘82 MSN, dean of the School of Nursing

We asked Susan Safran ’77 and Jana Welch Wagenseller ’76, both former nurses who received their BSN from UNCG, about nursing and this pandemic. We also asked Dr. Robin Remsburg, dean of the School of Nursing, and Associate Dean Audrey Snyder, who has been point person for the nursing school’s coronavirus information outreach. Their insights are invaluable.

Grace Under Pressure

One UNCG alumna has become the image for all nurses during this wave of coronavirus.

Perhaps you’ve seen the meme on Reddit or Twitter? A nurse sporting sunglasses, mask, walkie-talkie, and an arm sleeve of animal tattoos, making her way with confidence as though in an epic movie battle scene.

It’s UNCG’s own Grace Cindric, 2016 graduate of the UNCG School of Nursing and one of many health care professionals on the front lines during this pandemic.

Rise to the Challenge:

Call to service frames our future

A new Nursing and Instructional Building. A new Campus Master Plan. And on the horizon: a much-needed renovation for Jackson Library, an innovative and impactful arts collaborative space at the corner of Tate and Gate, and a vision to spur the technology corridor along Gate City Boulevard. These latest developments in the transformation of UNC Greensboro’s campus will give the University the capability to better serve our students and the needs of the broader community.

newsfront

Creative in command

Creative in command

Meet Greensboro’s new leader for all things arts.  Ryan Deal was hired last fall to lead Creative Greensboro, the city’s new office for arts and culture.  The UNCG graduate has the perfect blend of corporate, nonprofit, and artistic experience. But the path to becoming Greensboro’s first-ever chief creative economy officer often felt long and winding. […]

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Seeing the New South

Seeing the New South

What does contemporary “Southerness” look like? This is the challenge that UNCG geography professor Dr. Rick Bunch and his collaborators from the College of Charleston – Mark Sloan and Mark Long – took on in their book and exhibition, “Southbound: Photographs of and about the New South.” In the project, fine art meets geography in […]

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Residential college turns 50

Residential college turns 50

Fifty years of community-building are being celebrated this year, as UNCG’s first residential college turns 50. Ashby Residential College opened in 1970 as an effort to foster community amongst students in a difficult time. Since then, it has been joined by Strong and Grogan, bringing residential students together to empower them to succeed. The residential […]

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A time out with Kyle Hines

A time out with Kyle Hines

Catching up with the first American to win four EuroLeague titles Kyle Hines ’08 is arguably the best basketball player in UNCG history.  He remains the program leader in total points, field goals, blocked shots … the list goes on. He was such a force for the Spartans that his jersey was retired during the […]

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‘It’s never too late’

‘It’s never too late’

Wife, mother, grandmother. Breast cancer survivor. And now UNCG Homecoming Royalty.  56-year-old Vickie Whitt, a communication studies major, was crowned at the annual Homecoming celebration in October.  For “Grandma V,” the honor represents the fulfillment of a promise she made to herself at age 50. “I never went to college until after I battled cancer, […]

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Gimme a bee

Gimme a bee

Last fall, UNCG marked the opening of the Plant and Pollinator Center, the first research facility in the nation to focus on both plants and pollinators. It includes a molecular research laboratory space, a field lab space, a community engagement room for classroom instruction and meetings, and the field station, which is made up of […]

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'Together Again'

Alumna Emmylou Harris’ first performance on campus since the 60s was one for the ages.

The auditorium was packed. The Class of 1969 cheered their classmate from the front rows.

The upbeat “Here I Am” opened the show. She encored with the country standard “Together Again” and then the song she called the first great one she herself wrote, “Boulder to Birmingham.”

She had starred, along with Sandra Hopper (now Dr. Sandra Hopper Forman) ’66, ’71 MFA, in Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” on that very stage 54 years earlier. Sandra was on hand for the concert.

thestudio

Turn up the front burner

Turn up the front burner

UNCG alumna and guest curator Ashlynn Browning ’02 MFA assembled a stellar lineup of artists for the “Front Burner: Highlights in Contemporary North Carolina Painting” exhibition at the North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA). Featured are 25 painters from throughout the state working in a variety of media and styles, including UNCG art professor Barbara […]

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High Notes

High Notes

Omar Ibn Said, an enslaved Muslim scholar in mid-nineteenth century Fayetteville, was a topic of alumna Rhiannon Giddens’ discussion on campus last autumn. She has composed an opera on him, which was scheduled to debut this spring in Charleston, but its premiere will have to wait. That fall evening, she and Francesco Turrisi played a […]

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Cool jazz legend

Cool jazz legend

Jazz icon, band leader, and composer Dave Brubeck was born 100 years ago.  This fall, the biggest Brubeck centennial celebration in the world will be hosted at UNCG, with an opening concert by the Brubeck Family Quartet, followed by several days of performances, reflections, discussions, choreography, and social events.  While Brubeck is widely known as […]

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London Calling: Dominick Amendum

London Calling: Dominick Amendum

What do you do when you come off the high of having worked on the first national tour of the smash Broadway hit production of “Wicked?” Well, you begin work on a high-profile, international stage production of a wildly successful animated film.  This February, the Dominion Theatre in London will play “The Prince of Egypt,” […]

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Outtake

Spring forth Native to North Carolina, flowering dogwoods have long graced our campus. The trees’ blossoms – the official state flower, in fact – announce spring’s warmth and longer days every year. This flowering dogwood was photographed recently near the Bryan Building. The trees on our campus provide welcome joy, and the dogwood berries are a delicacy for birds. We were the first UNC System school to be named a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation – and the campus received this honor yet again this spring.

Photograph by Martin W. Kane
“There are always flowers for those who want to see them.”
– Claude Monet

Outtake

“There are always flowers for those who want to see them.”
– Claude Monet

Spring forth Native to North Carolina, flowering dogwoods have long graced our campus. The trees’ blossoms – the official state flower, in fact – announce spring’s warmth and longer days every year. This flowering dogwood was photographed recently near the Bryan Building. The trees on our campus provide welcome joy, and the dogwood berries are a delicacy for birds. We were the first UNC System school to be named a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation – and the campus received this honor yet again this spring.

Photograph by Martin W. Kane
Spring 2020

UNCG Magazine is published by University Communications

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PO Box 26170 Greensboro, NC 27402-6170
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PUBLICATION’S EDITORIAL ADVISORS

Vice Chancellor for University Advancement
Beth Fischer

Vice Chancellor for Strategic Communications
Jeff Shafer

Director of Alumni Engagement
Mary G. Landers

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David Pesci

PUBLICATION’S STAFF AND CONTRIBUTORS

Editor
Mike Harris ’93 MA

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Lisa Summerell

Lead Photographer
Martin W. Kane

Writers / Copy Editors
Alyssa Bedrosian ’19 MA
Matthew Bryant
Brittany Cameron
Avery Campbell
Michelle Danner-Groves ’16 MA
Chris Garton
Susan Kirby-Smith ’06 MA
DePaul Straub
Tommye Morrison
Amy Snyder
Alexandra McQueen

Production Facilitator
Sherri MacCheyne ’10, ’14 MSITM

Web Manager
Matthew W. Johnston

Designer / Advisor
Mark Unrue

Videographer
Grant Evan Gilliard

Contributing photographer
Mike Micciche

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