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Dance on

The fall issue of UNCG Magazine on the Studio page included notes entitled “Dance across the decades.” Below is an article I wrote last October for The Forester, the monthly newsletter of TFAD (The Forest at Duke), a retirement facility where I live at age 95.

I entered WC of UNC in 1935 and graduated in 1939, thoroughly enjoying the dance program throughout nearly eight decades.

Let's dance

In July 2012 the United States Postal Service honored four famous dancers on Forever stamps: Isadora Duncan, Katherine Dunham, Bob Fosse and José Limón. I have danced with one of them. ONE time — José Limón!

In the '30s the famous Humphrey/Weidman Dance Group, with Limón as premier dancer, was engaged to perform at WC-UNC Greensboro. A reception to honor the dancers was to be held in the gym a day prior to their performance.

As a freshman at WC, I had barely been admitted to join with the student modern dance group.

With several hundred attending, the reception began with dance demonstrations. It was announced that José Limón would dance next.

He rose and came to my front row seat, took my hand and led me in bewildered amazement to the floor. I was whirled into a stance with arms outstretched and legs askew as Limón spun all around me. Each of my novice's moves of “Where'd he go? Where'd he go?” was matched with elegant responses of dance. He made US look good.

When the music ended, I got a hug and kiss from José which I treasure nearly 80 years later as I purchase a sheet of U.S. Postage Stamps honoring dancers — and José Limón.

Elizabeth Freeland Dube '39

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More thoughts on shifting from WC to UNCG

Yes! I was here when WC became UNCG. In 1962 I was a freshman from West Virginia in Room 102 Jamison Hall. Memories before and after back then were not that different. I only remember seeing a few men. One we saw often in the dining hall, with a smile on his face, at a table with seven women! Loved the name change. It sounded better.

Ann (Wendy) Chrislip Dale '66

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My biggest memories regarding the two names involved those two big events of getting the blazer in the sophomore year and the ring in the junior year. As a 1965 graduate, my navy blue blazer has The Woman's College crest on the pocket and the onyx ring has UNC Greensboro on the crest.

Lois Bartlett Lee '65

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I just finished reading the latest issue of the UNCG magazine.

I will be 87 in June. I graduated in 1948 from Woman's College and still keep up with two of my old Spencer Dorm buddies. I had mixed feelings about doing away with the freshman dorms in the Quad, but of course it was the right thing to do. Because I was a Home Economics major, I questioned doing away with that program some years ago, but it appears the college has not thrown us completely away after all.

I have attended three class reunions since graduating and felt the pride of being an alumni each time.

I'm proud of the decision (years ago) to include veterans in the university, and I pray that my “neck of the university” will continue to serve North Carolina in this capacity of our nation.

Betty Lou Bruton '48

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Not ever had I experienced male competition in my family because I only had sisters. An older sister was my competition as to who got to ride to school in the front seat of the family car. And she always won.

When Woman's College was to be renamed the University of North Carolina at Greensboro the year after my graduation from nursing school I had no opinion about the name change or acceptance of male students. Activities on campus weren't a part of my college life since I was married with children and commuted 50 miles each day. Getting accepted as a student and being able to become a registered nurse were my educational goals. (I didn't know it at the time but rejection from a local hospital's nursing program was a blessing for me!)

When I encountered a distraught, younger student because the school would be co-educational I was actually stunned. She believed females would no longer hold important student positions and the change was a step backward and not forward. The incident did give me pause for thought then and later.

My first memory of having male competition was at a family get-together one Christmas. The family in this instance included my husband's parents, his three brothers, one sister and their families. The holiday table couldn't accommodate everyone so Grandma wanted the first seating to be the men. Sixty years later I still remember my feelings of resentment towards that solution.

My thinking was to include everyone in the possible table seating and the outcome would be determined by chance. Such as drawing names to determine which relative would receive my Christmas gift at the family party? I probably voiced my feelings to my husband. Anyway, after that one time I either got over my expectations or the solution was altered because whatever the seating I was content.

Before entering Woman's College my presence in the architectural drafting room as one of the draftsmen made me a novelty but I saw myself as intruding on “male” territory and so I accepted the “go-for” position. It ran the other direction when men became nurses. At first to me all men were outsiders in the nursing profession.

Only quite recently have I realized the extent that women were and are discriminated against. And the ease of my accepting the discrimination amazes me now. It is so obvious to me now how advertising, earlier movies and my religious belief influenced my opinions as to a woman's “place”. Women were housewives in most ads. Even though early movies portrayed women as dominated by and not as sensible as men I didn't notice at the time. Religion, I knew, put men above women or at least the church leaders said so.

Reflecting on my school's changes back then I am pleased with the name change and co-ed status. I feel more pride saying I went to school at UNCG than saying I went to school at Woman's College. By including both genders a school is more inclusive. I like that.

Ruth L Summey '63

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