In 2017, UNC Greensboro’s CHANCE program hosted 120 Latino and Hispanic high-school students for a three-day college immersion experience on the UNCG campus. The summer program exposed students to classroom experiences, leadership development, course registration, campus organizations, workshops, panel discussions and a college residence experience.
Now in its second year, CHANCE has shown its dedication to making college a reality for Latino and Hispanic students by nearly doubling attendance, expanding programming and extending its duration to five days. The 2018 CHANCE program hosted 110 Latino and Hispanic students and saw support from all over the University.
“This year, every academic school in the college is involved in some capacity,” said Dr. Rod Wyatt, senior director of college completion initiatives. “While growing, we tried to maintain the focus on that hands-on experience.”
CHANCE is funded in large part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as part of the Frontier Set initiative. As one of 31 Frontier Set schools, UNCG was selected to further a number of initiatives with the aim of identifying successful strategies to improve graduation rates, especially for low-income and first-generation students and students of color.
“Our main goal is to help these students envision themselves as university students,” said Dr. Amy Williamsen, head of the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures. “Many didn’t think they could make it to college, but every one of the 36 eligible high-school seniors in the 2017 program applied to college. That’s a tremendous success rate.”
Of those 36 seniors who applied to college, 22 applied to UNC Greensboro and 17 were admitted.
CHANCE is the only program of its kind in the state, and has received more than 250 applications from the mountains of North Carolina to the coast.
Over the summer, 42 Spartans got a “head start” on college thanks to Spartan StartUp, UNC Greensboro’s new five-week summer bridge program for incoming students.
The program’s goal is to prepare students for academic success and to help ease the transition to university life.
Thanks to funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and UNC System, the students received individualized academic support and advising, participated in co-curricular and recreational activities and developed a strong network of peers, faculty and staff.
For new student Brandon Totten, who plans to double major in media studies and English, the program helped him develop a community of friends and mentors. He also formed good study habits that will be critical to his success.
“I went to the study sessions every day,” he says. “When you see the results of the time you put in, it makes you want to continue those habits in the fall.”
The program will continue throughout the year, with students living in the same residence hall on campus, as well as taking general education classes and participating in co-curricular activities together.
Beth Fischer joined UNC Greensboro in August as vice chancellor for advancement. She had been executive director of university development at UNC Charlotte, leading major gifts, planned giving, corporate and foundation relations and donor relations. She designed and led the campaign strategy, planning and execution of Charlotte’s “Exponential” capital campaign. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Guilford College before pursuing her JD at Case Western Reserve University. Beth received an “Outstanding Women in Business” award in Charlotte last year. A member of Women Executives, she is an American Leadership Forum Senior Fellow and a past president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Charlotte Chapter.
I have long ties with Greensboro. I grew up in Clemmons, which is right outside of Winston-Salem. My mother is an alumna of UNC Greensboro. I went to Guilford College. When I was looking at colleges, I remember visiting UNCG and thought, at the time, it was too big. As an 18-year-old college student, my main requirement was I wanted a really small campus. As a student, I worked at Four Seasons Mall. And later when I was in law school, I interned at the Greensboro Legal Aid Office downtown.
It was in the mid-60s. She had a career in accounting, but I believe the major was administrative science. She was very high on UNCG and has been a donor for 45 years.
I'll tell you, there’s a lot of spirit and heart behind why I do what I do. None of my grandparents had anything more than an eighth-grade education, and as a result it was really important to my maternal grandparents that their children go to college. They were farmers in Randolph County, and at the time my mom could not go to Chapel Hill as a woman and study for four years unless she was studying education or nursing. She wanted to study business, and her opportunity to do that was at UNCG. As a first-generation college student, that college degree changed her life, and thus the trajectory of my family and my life. The fact that she is an alumna has a really, really special meaning for me.
My work helps students who are a lot like her obtain a college education, and I can’t think of a better way to pay it forward than to go to her alma mater and do my best to represent the University to our alumni and friends.
I think it’s the opportunity to work with people who are passionate about UNCG, and to work with them to create opportunities that benefit our students. The work we do in advancement, it matters, all day long. And if we do our very best, then who knows what kind of student we’re going to educate, and what mark they’re going to make on the world? It is such a privilege to get to play a small role in making sure students have that opportunity to earn a college degree. So the work I do: I build relationships to advocate for UNCG. It might be that that relationship results in a philanthropic gift. I certainly hope so, but it might also be that I help a student worker in our office get an internship that helps them look for a whole new career path. Or I connect the alumni back to the university and engage them in a volunteer path. It is really fun to get to know people that way. I love learning about people and their stories. To get to do that for the endpoint of advocating for UNCG is just a thrill and a privilege.
KNOW SOME THINGS NOW YOU DIDN’T KNOW THEN? Wish you could pass some advice to your younger self? At Reunion in April, the Class of 1968 did just that. Anne Howard ’68, co-chair of the Reunion planning committee, helped organize the activity. “Some of us came to campus with a definite career plan. Others, like me, were a little clueless. I asked the women – using the wisdom born of hindsight – to write a note to themselves,” she said. “Generally, people told themselves that everything would be OK – that things would work out.” Every note was a gem. Here are some samples:
STUDY MORE – BUT ALWAYS TAKE IN THE WORLD AROUND YOU. • I WOULD TELL THAT GIRL THAT SHE CAN BECOME AN ANTHROPOLOGIST AND SHE CAN GO TO EGYPT AND DIG. • SPEND LESS TIME WORRYING ABOUT GRADES, AND CONCENTRATE ON LEARNING. • DO THE RIGHT THING IN YOUR RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHERS – EVEN WHEN IT’S HARD. • YOU’VE GOT THIS, GIRL! DON'T EVER BE EMBARRASSED TO FAIL. MAKE THE EFFORT. • DON'T HESITATE TO SPEAK UP WHEN YOU FEEL YOUR VOICE NEEDS TO BE HEARD. • DON'T TAKE ANY 8 A.M. CLASSES. • TAKE ADVANTAGE OF ALL THE EVENTS ON CAMPUS. • FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU ENJOY THE MOST AND FOLLOW THAT PATH. • ALL THE "NOTES" DON'T HAVE TO BE RIGHT – JUST CALL IT IMPROVISATION. • TAKE AS MANY NON-MAJOR CLASSES AS YOU CAN WORK INTO YOUR SCHEDULE. YOU WILL NEED TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE WORLD AND VARIOUS CULTURES. BUT DON'T FEEL YOU HAVE TO LEARN EVERYTHING IN FOUR YEARS – YOU WILL NEVER STOP LEARNING. • LIGHTEN UP, ENLIGHTEN YOUR OLD SELF. YOU ARE TOO SERIOUS. ENJOY ALL THAT THE UNIVERSITY HAS TO OFFER. TAKE MORE COURSES THAT ARE NOT JUST THE REQUIRED ONES. • ALWAYS FOLLOW THE GOALS THAT YOU SET FOR YOURSELF, NOT THE ONES THAT OTHERS WANT FOR YOU. • SLOW DOWN – REGISTER THE MOMENT – LISTEN AND LEARN! DON'T BE SO BUSY, BUSY, BUSY!
In 1989, a UNC Greensboro professor, 21 students, two graduate assistants, a film crew and a photographer went on tour with the Grateful Dead to study its fan culture and community. Built around two sociology classes, the experience was unlike anything researchers from UNC Greensboro, or most other universities, had ever done.
Some called it UNCG’s Year of the Dead.
Now, nearly 30 years later, the campus will experience another Year of the Dead.
Throughout the academic year, UNCG will host
• Three screenings of the six-hour documentary series “The Long Strange Trip” on Nov. 16, Feb. 8 and April 19.
• A curated exhibition on psychedelic counterculture Feb. 4-9.
• A performance by a UNCG Grateful Dead cover band.
• UNCG Dead Scholars Unite!, a day of scholarly
presentations based on the Grateful Dead and their fans at the Elliott University Center on April 27.
• A semester-length online course on the Grateful Dead’s legacy in the spring — taught by Dr. Rebecca Adams (Gerontology/Social Work), the UNCG professor who led the 1989 class.
Adams recalls that when she took her classes on the road that year, much of the academic community considered popular culture a frivolous area of study. Almost 30 years later, she thinks fondly of the risk she took and how the University supported her.
“I’m very proud that we did it. I can’t tell you how many people were inspired to take risks and study something a little different than the status quo.”
Photo © Lloyd Wolf All rights reserved.
When the first bell rang on Aug. 27, a new chapter began. But the first day of classes was just one of many special days for the Reidsville school this year.
On March 1, it was official: UNCG would partner with Rockingham County Schools and the Moss Street community to transform Moss Street Elementary into Moss Street Partnership School in an effort to increase student success at the school. The school would open in six months.
The school is part of a larger initiative of the General Assembly to improve student learning in low-performing schools. UNCG is one of nine UNC System campuses to develop new elementary or middle schools implementing innovative approaches to teaching and learning.
The students will benefit from hands-on projects that incorporate science, technology, engineering, visual and performing arts, and mathematics, as well as counseling and nutritional programs. The school will also serve as an educator-preparation and professional learning site.
Principal Catina Chestnut ’95, who earned a degree in biology from UNCG, was hired in April.
She helped greet 25 volunteers from UNCG and the community on July 18 for a service day. They delivered sets of classroom supplies to every teacher in preparation for the first day of school. They also hauled furniture to and from classrooms, cleaned and organized storage space and worked hand in hand to clear the school gymnasium of supplies and furniture.
The families and community got a first look at an open house Aug. 19. It’s not often UNCG’s Bands of Sparta pep band plays at a school’s open house, but this was an occasion deserving of some noise, as teachers, UNCG student-teachers, staff and Chestnut welcomed parents and board members.
The students met their teachers and received “welcome bags” with UNCG items such as pencils, notepads, stickers and even blue and gold beads. And they got a taste of the science experiences they’ll enjoy.
In the makerspace, they checked out a 3D printer, and kids loved controlling robots. The makerspace is modeled after the UNCG School of Education SELF Design Studio, equipped with green screens, invention kits, Legos, Google Expeditions and more – a few of the tools teachers can use for hands-on projects.
Here’s to a yearful of exciting learning.
In 1968, students received university recognition for the Neo-Black Society (NBS), an organization that became an integral part of UNC Greensboro’s history.
At its foundation, the society’s goals were to support voter registration drives, to connect students with community education initiatives and to establish an African American history course at UNCG.
“NBS members gained a second home in the university and support in civil rights issues,” said Elisha Gutloff ’92, current Alumni Association Board president. “They brought the celebration of African American culture to campus at a time when African American students were just starting to be admitted as students.”
Elisha, who first joined the organization through a dance troupe, has served on the Alumni Board for seven years and has mentored UNCG students, in addition to reaching out to other alumni.
“We can look at the number of African American UNCG students and alumni 50 years later, and that speaks volumes about the work the NBS has done,” she said. “It is an honor to celebrate the 50th anniversary.”
"Being a part of NBS really became the cornerstone for most of my college friendships. We were so young but so dedicated – dedicated to our university and our culture. Few things compare to the feeling of singing ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’ during those meetings." —WHITNEY HILL ’09, FORMER NBS CHAIR AND CURRENT ALUMNI BOARD MEMBER
Carnegie Hall, the Grand Ole Opry and Walt Disney World – all venues where Greensboro Youth Chorus alumni have performed. They may have joined the chorus in high school for two years, or joined at age 8 and spent 10 years under the direction of Ann Doyle ’69, who founded the chorus in 1988.
“The most valuable thing for me was to see them grow, to see the light go on,” Ann said.
In May, she retired from directing the Greensboro Youth Chorus after 30 years, leaving a legacy of quality music education for children.
Ann came to UNC Greensboro in 1965, from the North Carolina foothills. Greensboro felt like “a monumental city” to her, but she soon found lifelong friends and mentors, such as Dr. Richard Cox, her professor in conducting. She also met her husband, Sam Doyle, at UNCG.
“I grew immensely, just being in that environment,” she recalled.
Over the years, she took the Greensboro Youth Chorus to sing at Canterbury Cathedral in England, Notre Dame in France and the Kathaumiwx festival in British Columbia. She guided them as they joined the cast of operas such as “Hansel and Gretel,” “Amahl and the Night Visitors” and “Carmen.” She taught them to read music and use proper singing diction – and helped them gain confidence that launched them into future success.
In her retirement, she will continue to direct the choirs of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church and look for news from her Greensboro Youth Chorus alumni from all corners of the world. Among them is MacArthur Genius and Grammy-award winner Rhiannon Giddens.
“I love to hear what these kids are doing, after all these years,” Ann said.
Jordan, Hodges receive University Honors
Sarah Cole Jordan ’56 and Luther H. Hodges Jr. received UNCG’s two highest honors in public service last spring: the Holderness/Weaver Award and the Charles Duncan McIver Award, respectively. Known as “University Honors,” the awards recognize extraordinary public service in North Carolina and beyond.
Jordan was honored for her lifelong dedication to championing children’s rights and improving higher education. Her contributions include establishing the Sarah Cole Jordan Class of 1956 UNCG Teacher Education Fellows Endowment Fund, which provides eligible undergraduates the mentorships and experiences needed to become effective teachers.
Hodges was recognized for his work in ensuring student success, supporting the arts and broadening access to information and literacy. His contributions have supported numerous museums, art centers and university libraries in an effort to improve the quality of education in the state.
Dr. John R. Locke, director of bands and founder and director of the UNCG Summer Music Camp, will retire in December after more than 36 years with the University.
To honor his storied career, the School of Music will host a retirement dinner Nov. 17. A retirement concert Nov. 18 will feature an Alumni Band and the University Wind Ensemble, both conducted by Locke.
Also, the School of Music has established the
John R. Locke Scholarship Fund to provide assistance to future UNCG music students.
Learn more at vpa.uncg.edu/locke.
Fairest of them all Through Dec. 9, the Weatherspoon Art Museum features “Dread & Delight: Fairy Tales in an Anxious World,” an exhibition that displays depictions of classical fairy tales across time. From a life-size enchanted carriage made of crystalized candy to an 1,800-foot braid, each work dismantles and re-envisions a story. “Dread & Delight” will be accompanied by a catalogue charting fairy tales in the visual arts. It will include a fairy tale by Pulitzer Prize finalist Kelly Link ’95 MFA.
R. Keith Harris ’97 MFA remembers the moment he first felt inspired to become an actor.
He was nine years old, watching a film on a late 1960s, wooden-bodied tube-TV. He can’t remember the name of the film, but he does remember the rush of inspiration he felt while watching an actress’s performance.
“There was just so much in this look on her face,” Keith says. “Such a combination of hurt, love, betrayal, anger. I saw that shot and decided right then, ‘I want to do that!’”
That inspiration never waned. Keith has appeared in more than 70 shows and movies, with some notable appearances including recurring roles on AMC’s “The Walking Dead” and the TV adaptation of Stephen King’s novel “Under the Dome.” He’s even written, produced and starred in his own feature-length film, “Changing Gears,” released earlier this year.
Keith credits much of his acting chops to his experience in UNC Greensboro’s Master of Fine Arts in Acting program. Keith was first introduced to UNCG after being cast in a North Carolina Theatre for Young People tour. Through that production, he met and interacted with UNCG faculty and felt it was the right place for him to continue his training.
“I’m hands-down a better actor for having trained at UNCG,” he says.
In particular, he remembers classes like Contact Improvisation and those based on the Sanford Meisner approach as instrumental in making his acting more authentic.
"If it’s in you, you have to do it or you’ll wonder all your life. Take meaningful steps in the direction of what you want. If you’re finding a place to get better, you’re already taking that first step." — Keith offers this advice to rising actors.
Herbie Hancock, winner of 14 Grammy awards including Best Album and Lifetime Achievement Award, created a new sound in jazz between hard bop, funk and rock. The one-time member of the Miles Davis Quintet plays at UNCG Auditorium on Feb. 12, as part of the University Concert and Lecture Series.
See the full series listing: vpa.uncg.edu/home/ucls.