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Dreamers and doers
On a unique path

One of the most high-profile women in NASCAR, DeLana Harvick '96 used her UNCG English degree and lifelong racing-world experience to build a career in NASCAR public relations and marketing. She and husband Kevin Harvick own Kevin Harvick Inc., which competed in the NASCAR Nationwide and Truck series, where it won three championships. She oversaw the essential marketing/sponsorships work. Over the past year, their Nationwide teams merged with Richard Childress Racing. A big focus for her now? She delivered their first child this summer — detailed in her weekly baby blog and popular tweets. And their work with the Kevin Harvick Foundation continues, helping young people fulfill their dreams.

 

Kay Yow '74 MEd, '08 HONR was a pioneer in advancing women's basketball. In her 38 years as a college coach, she compiled a 737-344 record. In 1986, she led the United States to gold medals in the World University Games and the Goodwill Games. In 1988, she was the head coach of the United States team that won an Olympic gold medal in Seoul, South Korea, just 10 months after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. After her death in 2009, Renee Brown, WNBA chief of basketball operations and player relations, reflected on her impact. “Without a doubt she will be remembered as one of the most beloved coaches in the history of women's basketball. Her players adored her but it was so, so much bigger than basketball. They adored and respected her for the life lessons she imparted along the way; she taught them the value of being a good person and representing themselves and their families in the proper manner. Kay did more than prepare her players for basketball; she prepared them for life.”

 

Joan Johnson '75, Fran Sandridge, Dr. Terri Shelton and a host of others took a chance on an out-of-the-box idea — creating Beyond Academics, a program that allows students with intellectual disabilities to attend college classes and leave with a certificate and the skills to help them on the next step of their life journey.

 

JoAnne Smart Drane '60 and Bettye Ann Tillman '60
JoAnne Smart Drane '60 and Bettye Ann Tillman '60

No list would be complete without JoAnne Smart Drane '60 and Bettye Ann Tillman '60. They became the first African-American students on campus and paved the way for the students who came afterward. It was a scary time to be a trailblazer and these women made a difference for generations to come.

 

 

 

Ann Dearsley-Vernon '60, '61 MFA, Marilyn Lott Merrill '62 and Eugenia “Genie” Seaman Marks '62x, also known as The WC Three, made a stand when it went against the grain. On Thursday, February 4, 1960, the third day of the sit-ins at the Woolworth store, the women donned their class jackets and joined the students from N.C. A&T and Bennett College in protest of discriminatory policies. The ramifications were powerful. Dearsley-Vernon was expelled, although that expulsion was later lifted. The girls received threatening letters and phone calls. But their willingness to fulfill a moral obligation, while frowned upon by the administration at that time, is a point of pride for many today.

 

And they weren't the only WC women to join the protest. Betsy Toth '63 went the next day, and Claudette Graves Burroughs-White '61 also participated. “For WC to be a noticeable part of the sit-ins meant a lot to me, personally,” Burroughs-White said in an interview in 2000. She went on to serve 11 years on Greensboro's City Council and was later named as one of the National Conference for Community and Justice's 2007 Brotherhood/Sisterhood Citation award honorees before her death that September. “She was a drum major for justice,” says long-time friend and former mayor Yvonne Johnson in a News & Record article.

 

 

 

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