Home   |   NewsFront   |   Feature Stories   |   Class Notes   |   PDF Version
CARS program is Cutting Edge
A Model working with the UNCG CARS program

The innovative Consumer, Apparel, and Retail Studies program prepares Spartans for the industry’s future.

By Elizabeth L. Harrison • Photography by Martin W. Kane

In 1999, Summer Scott-Samuel ’96 drove from Greensboro to small-town Mount Airy, North Carolina. She had a bachelor’s degree in clothing and textiles from UNC Greensboro and little on-the-job experience when she walked into an interview with Cross Creek Apparel.

Scott-Samuel recalls her interviewer’s fateful words: “You don’t have all the qualifications we are looking for, but I like you so much we’re going to give you a chance.”

On a recent phone call from her Barbados office, her nostalgia is palpable. “What I learned, being in that job, is my strong suit was telling the story – giving every concept, design and product or color assortment a reason for being,” she says.

Her time at Cross Creek planted the seed for a robust 21-year career, leading to her role as merchandising manager for the Printwear Division at Gildan, SRL, one of the largest apparel manufacturers in the world.

Her position now is a hybrid of product development, design, assortment planning, a dash of marketing and overall “creative inspiration.”

In other words, telling the story.

“My varied experience is a little unique, and this is all due to the UNCG CARS (Consumer, Apparel, and Retail Studies) program and the various aspects of fashion that we learned,” Scott-Samuel says. “Today many students leave design programs with a targeted degree and may only have skills for one aspect of the business.”


Preparing students like Scott-Samuel for all aspects of the $217 billion apparel industry is steadfast in the CARS program’s 100-year history. Nestled in the Bryan School of Business and Economics since 2011, CARS has carved out a niche – preparing students for work beyond the runway. Students engage with industry leaders through required internships and guest lectures, develop close relationships with faculty and stay on the cutting edge of industry trends and processes through access to the latest technology.

The apparel industry accounts for approximately 12 percent of all U.S. retail sales, according to the market research company The NPD Group. And CARS students are helping to transform the business not just in the U.S., but globally.

“You have New York City, L.A., and North Carolina,” says Dr. Nancy Hodges, CARS department head. “That’s the legacy that the industry has had here, and we are right in the heart of it and have always maintained a forward-looking approach to educating our students.”

Students arrive at UNCG with fashion on the mind, yet leave with a much broader view.

“When they come to us, they think about runways in New York and Paris, and that’s such a tiny part of the industry,” says Hodges. “There are so many opportunities that go beyond that.”

Scott-Samuel, whose grandmother was a seamstress, says she has been into fashion for as long as she can remember. She is a self-proclaimed “Army brat” – accustomed to transitions, adapting quickly and meeting new people. Thanks to her CARS internship in the summer of 1995, she discovered her unique place in this industry that set in motion her future career in merchandising.

Scott-Samuel, who had stints at Russell Athletic and HanesBrands, oversees the front end of creative development for five brands at Gildan. She helps marketing “tell the story” of a minimally designed product line – the look, feel, what consumers really want when purchasing a wholesale product. She closely monitors runway and street trends that can be interpreted into the basic styles that her brands offer. She makes seasonal inspiration/research trips to L.A., New York and London, and she attends annual trade shows and meets with key customers to stay on top of what’s happening in the market.

It’s joyful, Scott-Samuel says about her work. She never dreads a day. And CARS launched this path for her.

“The way the CARS program was structured, you weren’t just focused on being a designer or just being a marketer,” Scott-Samuel says. “That allowed me to be a more well-rounded person who could go any direction within an organization and say, ‘I can do this,’ without being pigeon-holed into one thing.”

As part of CARS’ 100th birthday celebration, the department launched the Centennial Alumni

Industry Speaker series featuring graduates working in various aspects of the industry. The objective was to expose students to the range of jobs available, suited to their unique skill sets.

Scott-Samuel, who flew to North Carolina in February to speak in the series, explains.

“With companies now being more streamlined, knowing various aspects of the product cycle is definitely a benefit and a feather in your cap.”

The initiative to give students a broader focus is something that hasn’t changed in a century.

In 1917, the North Carolina College for Women established the School of Home Economics and created the Department of Clothing and Textiles and Housing, riding a wave of growth in the textile and apparel industry throughout the Southeast. The department would later be renamed Clothing and Textiles until the early 1990s, when it became the Department of Textile Products Design and Marketing before assuming its current name – Consumer, Apparel, and Retail Studies – in 2005.

Dr. McRae C. Banks, dean of the Bryan School, recalls one of his first interviews at UNCG and the tension in the room as they discussed CARS’ big move to the Bryan School. Banks felt strongly that the school
should focus on innovation and globalization – what would become two of the four pillars (along with sustainability and ethics) of the Bryan School. The CARS program was a perfect fit: “I cannot imagine an industry more innovative and global.”

Over the years, partnerships have developed with industry powerhouses like Belk, HanesBrands and VF Corporation. The required internship program, where students can choose among hundreds of industry partners, is a strength of the CARS program.

“It is not only about understanding the theory and application,” Banks says. “We want to take it one step further, and that is to inject practice into it.”

The CARS Industry Advisory Board was established in 1984, one of the first on campus, and is composed of 20 individuals occupying senior- level positions in consumer, apparel and retail-related organizations. The board works with CARS to maintain an innovative curricular focus and offer students opportunities for career development and professional networking.

Now, CARS houses over 300 undergraduate and graduate students and eight faculty, offering bachelor of science concentrations in apparel design, global apparel and related industries, and retailing and consumer studies. A master of science is available online and on campus. The undergraduate program has been ranked in the top 25 nationally in both apparel design and merchandising for the past six years.

The PhD in consumer, apparel, and retail studies, one of the first PhD programs on campus, is over 50 years old.

In 1989, Corinth Milikin ’89 PhD graduated with a list of industry contacts. She abandoned the idea of teaching after landing a job at JC Penney right out of the gate. From there, a successful 25-year career followed, spanning the globe from Taiwan to Georgia, where she retired in 2016 as director of quality assurance from Aramark Uniform Services in Lawrenceville.

She never aspired to be a clothing designer, but the breadth of understanding of design, construction, textiles and anthropometric sizing she received at UNCG was critical to her career.

"Individual aspects of my work might appear to be quite simple,” Milikin says. “It is the ability to see all aspects of a garment from concept to end product and beyond to product performance over a period of time that made it possible to correct small things that would prevent major issues." Like Milikin, Carrie Coyle ’07, Champion Products Inc. women’s designer at HanesBrands in New York City, didn’t enter the CARS program with an eye on being a designer. But life had other plans.

“Ultimately, it was the desire to create and innovate that led me to the CARS department,” says Coyle, who came to UNCG for its dance and theater programs. She majored in apparel product design with a minor in business administration.

Ten years later, Coyle has created products for industry leaders such as Calvin Klein, Urban Outfitters and Champion.

While in school, Coyle was inspired by her classmates and professors to establish THREADS, the official student organization of CARS, which now provides opportunities for students to showcase their designs and develop their talents beyond the classroom.

Lindsay Sharpe, the current THREADS president, is one of those students. She joined the organization as a freshman.

“As an apparel design major, people automatically assume that you want to be on Project Runway,” Sharpe says. “A lot of people I’ve met want to have their own line or start a business. I can see myself doing that, but not right away. I would rather be helping out a business, coming up with strategy, thinking of better ways to target their consumers.”

Through required studio classes and being in a creative environment, Sharpe discovered her own unique ingenuity. She is currently an intern at VF Corporation.

On day one of her new job in merchandising at Belk, Jessica Papier ’17 breathed a sigh of relief that she had paid attention in her retail math class at UNCG.

“I find myself going back to terms – consumer behavior, thinking about how customers shop and buy products,” says Papier, who will graduate
in May 2018 with a master of science degree in CARS. “Not just from one class. The classes layer onto each other. Every new semester added terms, so by the end of graduation, you couldn’t tell what you learned in a certain class because it was interwoven.”

And Akilah Shaw ’03 never thought her costume history class would come in handy on a side project – until about a year and a half ago, when she was asked to do wardrobe styling for a movie.

“Literally, I had to pull the book out,” says Shaw, merchandising manager for HanesBrands in Winston-Salem. “Now, in my day-to-day job, I need to know every aspect of the industry, from a product development standpoint of the initial concept to final production that is merchandised on the retail floor.”


In 2007, Coyle and her classmates were still sketching by hand. A decade later, sketch pads have turned into computer screens and sketches into virtual images.

Sharpe was the first student to become certified in a new 3D software that has become ubiquitous in the industry.

UNCG is the first university in the Piedmont, according to Robert Garner ‘90, to offer students training for VStitcher, the 3D virtual prototyping software for developers, pattern makers and technical designers, by Browzwear.

“VStitcher is the future,” Sharpe says, and adds that the software saves time by eliminating the need to make real samples and helps break down communication barriers.

The likeness of real fabric and proportions in the computerized images, seam by seam, stitch by stitch, even down to the strategic placement of rips and holes in jeans, is uncanny.

The CARS program has been teaching computer-aided design (CAD) since the late 1990s, moving to full integration of technology by 2006 with the CAD software system, Lectra. And students have access to the program’s 3D body scanner, a full-body measurement system.

Greensboro's VF Jeanswear, part of VF Corporation, began using VStitcher six years ago, says Garner, senior manager for patterns at VF. Garner later reached out to his alma mater to engage faculty and students who would become versed in the software.

Now, a number of faculty and students have been trained in VStitcher, which includes patternmaking and design features.

CARS was still in the School of Home Economics when Garner entered the program in 1987 with an interest in the apparel industry. He chose UNCG because of its experiential approach and its openness to allowing him to design his own coursework.

His patternmaking courses at UNCG were intense, and so hands-on that his transition to real work in the field was very comfortable. Garner entered the workforce as a patternmaker at Ruff Hewn in High Point before moving into patterns and merchandising at M.F. Girbaud and sourcing at Polo. He began working with VF Jeanswear's Wrangler in patternmaking in 1999.

“Our partnership with UNCG and the partnership that has been created between UNCG and Browzwear will help move their apparel program

forward into the future,” Garner says. “Students will come out of this program using cutting- edge technology in the apparel business, and the demand for them will grow exponentially.”


“We serve a dynamic industry that’s constantly changing,” Hodges says.

The program’s name changes are an example of its swift adaptation to reflect the real world – from the 1960s, the height of the textile industry
and the first endowed professorship on campus, to dropping the word “textiles” when the industry began to unravel in the early 2000s. They had to shift to a focus on retailing and understanding consumer behavior.

Now, the landscape has shifted once again. Faced with the threat of Amazon, mega-retailers like Target, Belk, Walmart and Macy’s are designing their own brands, increasing competition. Industry leaders are looking to social media for the latest trends.

“Companies such as Amazon have changed the retail landscape
by creating a simplified, efficient and accelerated transaction for the consumer,” Coyle says. “As a result, consumers are making more of their purchases online and spending more time researching trends via online platforms such as fashion blogs and Instagram.”

There’s a consciousness in consumers, Scott-Samuel says. They are much more educated about their clothing, where it comes from, what it’s made of. Hodges and Banks say the CARS program addresses these issues across

the curriculum, not just at the bachelor’s but master’s and PhD levels. “In our field we can’t say ‘no,’” Hodges says. “Faculty are very committed to making sure what we’re doing in the classroom is what our students need to be employable when they leave us.”

“We think about innovation within the context of invention, but innovation is about doing something new and different that is marketable but implemented or adopted by others,” Banks says. “In the apparel industry, one has to stay abreast of what consumers want.”

Omni-channel marketing. Ecommerce. Virtual. All buzzwords Papier says the CARS program taught her before she entered the workforce. In a recent practicum paper for her graduate work, Papier addressed the issue of getting Millennials back into stores and increasing consumer activity.

But sometimes, change is painful. Historically, CARS had a top-ranked tailoring professor.

“Those days are gone. They are seriously gone in this country,”

Hodges says. “So how do we incorporate skills important to tailoring quality and craftsmanship but do it in a way that translates more readily
in the kinds of jobs they'll be doing at VF or Ralph Lauren?”

Garner believes strongly in preserving a solid foundation and quality in apparel.

“VStitcher will not make you a patternmaker or a designer,” Garner says. “You still need the fundamental knowledge of doing patterns by hand, drawings and fitting people.”

CARS is charging into the future, preparing students for this brave new digital world of apparel and coaching them on how to adapt to a global marketplace in the ever-shifting landscape of the industry.

Hodges says the department shares a collective vision to continue building on partnerships and staying up to speed on the latest technology advances to keep students competitive.

Garner believes his alma mater is headed in the right direction.

“What excites me about being a graduate of UNCG is they are getting a leap on this,” Garner says, speaking of the program’s priority on technology. “My hope is this moves at least the apparel department forward and really helps them get a lot of attention so they can draw on the brightest and people who will help elevate the program and give recognition in the industry.”

Summer Scott-Samuel


“I was never the person that was always the A student and had the most meticulously sewn garments.

I liked Dr. Vass because she could always help me figure out the best way to get to the end result.”

Summer Scott-Samuel ’96, speaking about
Dr. Dianna Vass, UNCG assistant professor, 1995-2001.

Lindsay Sharpe

Vanity Fair

“I would rather be helping out a business, coming up with strategy, thinking of better ways to target their consumers.”

Lindsay Sharpe, CARS major and THREADS president

Carrie Coyle

Hanes Brands Inc

“I'm extremely grateful for the overall support that was shown to me as a student, as that ultimately allowed me to compete and receive several scholarships while in school, in addition to receiving the support from the department to ”

Carrier Coyle '07

Jessica Papier


“Dr. Tu especially saw my capabilities early on. Sophomore year, he nominated me to apply for the National Retail Federation scholarship program. I was a semifinalist and got to go to New York. He is so personable and understanding and cares about his students.”

Jessica Papier ’17, on Dr. Kittichai "Tu" Watchravesringkan, UNCG associate professor and director of graduate studies for CARS.

Learn more about the innovative CARS program at UNCG.

Sculptor's Spirit

By Mike Harris • Photography by Martin W. Kane

Jim Barnhill looks through archival photos on a workbench: of a 2002 visit on site with many members of the Class of ’53, all in hardhats. Of the foundry in Seagrove. Of the 2003 installation of the statue onto the 10-foot base. He wanted it to be placed tall, in order to inspire – and so students were less likely to try to climb it.

“Poor Mr. McIver over there,” he says, referring to the statue on Jackson lawn. “He’s had all sorts of stuff put on him over the years.” So far, students have mainly just put apples at the Minerva statue, a good luck tradition.

There are lots of memories in those snapshots.

The Class of ’53 commissioned him to sculpt Minerva. Elliott University Center (known earlier as Elliott Hall) was expanding. The statue would anchor the area between the center and College Avenue.

He gave Minerva’s face a stern gaze, feminine with a strong jawline, he says. She is our “alma mater – ‘nourishing mother.’”

The helmet with crest suggests power – and wisdom gives you power, he adds.

“In conceiving Minerva, I was looking for a figure with both movement and, yes, a stillness.”

One foot is off the base, the plinth. “I call it ‘plinthus interruptus.’”

Additionally, the form has a curve, further suggesting movement, with the heel out of the frame.

“The robing was to suggest the flutes of a column.” He used ropes of clay to achieve the ripples in her robing. He notes you can still see the ropes under the tooling marks if you look very closely.

The paneled-looking device on her chest, above the high waistband, is inspired by an approach Michelangelo took on one of his Madonna statues. “I think it worked pretty well.”

The greenish, verdigris patina was of vital importance. “I wanted a crusty, came-from-the-bottom-of-the-Mediterranean-Sea look.” It conveys age and depth, associated with wisdom.

At the Carolina Bronze Sculpture foundry in Seagrove, he worked on the patina himself. He still maintains the patina with cleanings and touch- ups of the statue.

The rise of a sculptor

Jim came to UNCG to study painting as a master’s student. During his first semester he ventured into a sculpture class, and he was hooked.

He had never before sculpted live models. Professor Andy Martin let him finish the painting course doing sculpture. He has never looked back.

Department Head Bert Carpenter had recruited sculptor Peter Agostini from New York City. Jim still marvels at his first visit to campus, into the foundry. “There was Peter Agostini working on something, and he just started talking to us about art, and it was fascinating.”

“He had an international reputation.”

After graduation, Jim was in various locations in the U.S. He returned to teach art in the school system, then at NC A&T. Early commissions included works in Asheville and Birmingham. The large bust of Booker T. Washington at his birthsite. Then the iconic statue of the Greensboro Four on the front lawn of NC A&T. As he worked on that, the Woman’s College/ UNCG Class of ’53 commissioned him to create Minerva at his alma mater. Later, he’d be commissioned by the Bryan Foundation for yet another iconic Greensboro statue, of General Greene on downtown’s Greene Street.

Through this public art, he has shaped how the people of Greensboro see their city, their history – who they are. These statues draw you to them, and reflect something vital.

Artistic legacy in the making

He sometimes stops by to see the Minerva statue, often getting a cone at Yum Yum beforehand.

He is well aware of the new tradition of leaving apples or coins at the base, especially at exam-time.

On a recent visit, a tall student came up and placed an apple in dead center of the base of the statue.

You have a test? Jim asked him. Be sure to study, Jim told the student as he continued to class.

Jim created Minerva in NC A&T’s Harrison Auditorium’s basement, before it was renovated. There was plenty of space to work and view it from different perspectives. Minerva’s gesture was particularly important – he had to get that just right.

The arms were key. The two-part gesture represents the students’ journey, he says. It’s the perfect gesture for an incoming student, a student at exam-time, one who’s graduated, one returning for reunion.

Her left arm reaches out and beckons. It’s an invitation. “It says, ‘Come to me.’”

The other is equally clear, he explains.

“Go. Go out full, complete. Go out ready for the world.”

Alumni make their mark

By Susan Kirby-Smith

Alumni Sculpture

Taylor Browning ’12 “My experience in the UNCG foundry changed my life,” says Taylor, who operates Smart Department Fabrication in Brooklyn, New York. She creates everything from the complete interiors of bars and restaurants, to large-scale figurative sculptures, to custom decorative metal panels for offices to the essential structure of 20,000-square-foot outdoor venues.

And for her, all of this began at the UNCG foundry.

“When I took that first sculpture class with Jon Smith, I realized I missed working with my hands, and promptly signed up for as many casting and sculpture classes as possible. I wanted to know how to use every tool in that metal shop.”

Aside from learning the hands-on skills, what Taylor remembers about the foundry was the sense of community.

“From eating breakfast off a steel plate over a Bunsen burner on Saturday mornings, to seeing my first pour and jumping right in with a shovel, to late nights working with wax, to mixing endless amounts of sand – I miss it every day, and I try to bring that energy to my shop I run now.”

Jane South ’97 MFA was appointed chair of the Fine Arts Department within the School of Art at Pratt Institute. Jane has exhibited widely in the United States and abroad.

Adam Kuby ’92, a Portland-based artist, creates large-scale public works that aspire to connect the built and natural world.

“Hydro-geo-bio” (2012) was commissioned by the Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs & Seattle Public Utilities. The 14-foot storm water holding tank contains downspouts and weep holes that send water to a rain garden filled with moss and ferns. It also has 29 nesting bird houses embedded in the wall.

Ivana Milojevic Beck ’12, ’16 MFA, a Claudia and Bobby Kadis Graduate Scholarship for Studio Arts recipient, won the International Sculpture Center’s Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award, given to only 16 artists of 400 from across the globe. Through her piece, which she made in the UNCG foundry, she sought to show the experience of leaving her native country of Serbia, her connection to “home,” and the search for it.

Casey ’98 and Emily Lewis ’99 established Beechwood Metalworks in Burlington, North Carolina. They provide sculptures for hospitals, museums, parks and other public places throughout the United States and internationally.

Abbe Godwin ’75 designed "After the Firefight” for the North Carolina Vietnam Veterans Memorial, dedicated in 1987 on the grounds of the State Capitol in Raleigh. It honors the more than 206,000 North Carolinians who served in the Vietnam War. The monument was the first on the Capitol grounds to be authorized since the World War II era, the first sculpted by a woman and the first on Union Square that depicts an African American. Abbe also created the statues of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the Memorial Gardens in Raleigh, and Stephen Foster in My Old Kentucky Home State Park.

Brad Spencer ’80, ’83 MFA installed “Doc and Merle Watson” at Wilkesboro Community College. In his Reidsville studio, Brad creates bas relief, high relief and free standing sculptures in brick, for works of public art in North Carolina and nationally.

Homer Yost ’84 MFA was one of the sculptors who restored the bronze monument of the Statue of Freedom that sits atop the Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

Nam Le ’14 MFA creates public sculptures such as “Means to an End” on Hilton Head Island.

Andrew Etheridge ’11 MFA works as a sculptor and in ana- plastology (prosthetics creation).

Dexter Benedict ’70 MFA is the owner and operator of Fire Works Foundry in Penn Yan, New York.

Crucible of excellence

By Susan Kirby-Smith • Photography by Martin W. Kane

There’s a burning smell, and the relentless hum of a giant furnace on a cold November morning. Every student in the metal casting class wears protective jackets and masks, and they gather in the outdoor area of the UNCG sculpture foundry, alert and ready to serve the team.

It’s the day of an aluminum pour, one of the most memorable experiences students have at the UNCG School of Art – with a gas furnace that heats up to 660 pounds of metal.

From the scent of smoke and the noise, many in the Gatewood Studio Arts Building know something big is about to happen, and a few faculty, staff and friends of students stop by to watch.

Those in the casting course have spent the semester preparing for this day. They constructed wax figures, which they packed into sand blocks. The blocks were fired in the kiln to solidify the forms and to melt the wax away, making room for the molten metals.

In his 20th year managing the UNCG sculpture foundry, Jon Smith ’95, ’04 MFA teaches metal sculpture and metal casting, in addition to guiding all undergraduate and graduate students in their use of the foundry’s tools. Those include a 10,000-pound capacity bridge crane, a scissor lift, plasma cutters, a robotic track cutter, a magnetic drill, industrial sanders, grinders and polishers, a hydraulic sheet metal shear, a forklift, stone carving equipment, gas forges, anvils, bandsaws and more.

“The energy’s contagious,” Smith said of the foundry. “If we get a few people who are producing something, it provides an example for all the other students. They know about all the equipment and materials, but actually seeing someone build something ignites an energy.”

Smith lights the furnace at the beginning of the class period and the casting students take turns tending the crucible, filling it with pieces of aluminum that turn to liquid over the next 90 minutes.

The actual pour – when the furnace goes quiet and red-hot, molten metal flows from the crucible into the sand molds – only takes a few minutes, but those at the frontlines have to be strong and steady to carry it off.

The pour is exciting, but many of the casting students most look forward to the moment when, in the early afternoon, after the metal has cooled, they break open the sand molds to find their newly minted sculptures.

But the work is not finished. The students spend the remaining class days trimming and polishing their sculptures with power tools, turning them into fine art.

The experience in welding and casting that students gain at UNCG’s foundry serve them as sculptors and fine artists, but can also help them establish lucrative careers in metalworking, fabrication or art production.

“Some students come into the class afraid of fire or sparks, but some
of those are the ones who get really into it,” Smith said. “They make something out of metal that’s solid and strong, and they never thought they could do something like that.”

Some students may see their pieces in public exhibitions, but the most valuable part of the process has been the hands-on learning that takes place, the skills they have developed and the teamwork they put forth in being part of a pour.

Nursing and Instructional Building rendering

UNCG Nursing and Instructional Building

180,000 Square Feet

39 Labs

14 Classrooms

9 Research Suites

1 Community Engagement Center

Goodbye McIver Building...

By Alyssa Bedrosian

From the entrance's distinctive sculptural mural to the large kiln to its confusing twists and turns, the McIver Building was one-of-a-kind on campus. Over the years it seemed to have housed nearly every academic unit – English, art, history, political science, theatre, kinesiology and romance languages, to name a few.

It was no-frills. Small offices, plain classrooms. But it served its purpose. It’s the moments that took place inside the building that stand out: exhibition openings at the Weatherspoon Art Gallery, the very first meetings of The Greensboro Review and the countless class sessions.

Demolition of the building will wrap up this summer as the campus makes way for the new Nursing and Instructional Building. But the learning that took place – the discussions and debates, the art and the research – remains an indelible part of UNC Greensboro.

...As the Big Build Begins

The start of construction for the Nursing and Instructional Building, set for this summer, is a long-awaited moment. Not just for the campus community, but for the state.

In 2016, North Carolina voters passed the Connect NC bond, which designated funds for the new facility.

The impact will be significant. Additional classrooms and labs will address critical space shortages for the School of Nursing and the sciences. In turn, UNCG will graduate more nurses, scientists and other health professionals – future leaders who will provide care for our families and invest in our communities.

Soaring Scholars

By Mike Harris and Donor Relations staff • Photography by Martin W. Kane

More than 500 alumni call themselves Reynolds Scholars. One of UNCG’s most prestigious scholarships, it begins a second half-century of impact on both the students and our world.

The first graduating class of Reynolds Scholars included 14 women. The women entered just as Woman’s College became UNCG. These scholars would go on to become educators, doctors, corporate managers and more. Their impact would ripple across the state and region.

Rosalyn Fleming Lomax ’67 taught thousands of students during her career as an English instructor. Her influence is traced through so many lives.

“I am grateful to have been a positive influence on the students and on the institutions I served. That kind of influence reflects the influence of the Reynolds Foundation.”

Rosalyn was part of the inaugural class of scholars. Last year at her 50th class Reunion, two fellow scholars were on hand.

Susan Prince Watson ’67, a biology major, decided in her junior year to become a doctor. The Reynolds program and the honors college put her on a path to confidently pursue her dream.

“It broadened your horizons,” she said. It set the stage for her career.

The daily contact with your Reynolds Scholars peer group elevates you, as does the fact your potential is recognized and supported. “It’s the recognition that you can do things you may not have realized you could do before.”

For her, that meant becoming a pediatric anesthesiologist, using her skills and leadership in university-affiliated settings.

Jane Taylor Brookshire ’67, ’70 MEd said that in 1963 the scholarship was critical for her. “It was the beginning of an outstanding education that prepared me not only for my first job, but also for further education that led to over 30 years in corporate America, beginning at a time when women were just beginning to compete for managerial jobs.”

She has subsequently created her own endowed scholarship, to — in her words — pay it forward.

“I have tried never to forget my UNCG roots.”

No time like the present

Today, eight new Reynolds Scholars are welcomed each year — 37 are currently at UNCG. Since 2014, all of them are members of UNCG’s Lloyd International Honors College. They are encouraged to take part in community service, internships and study abroad.

The impact on them today is just as profound as it was in the 1960s.

Alyssa Sanchez, a biochemistry major with a pre-pharmacy concentration, plans to be a pharmacist in a hospital setting. Her internship last summer was with a clinical pharmacist practitioner at the UNC Hospitals Center for Heart and Vascular Care. The first half of her summer was spent in Madrid, where she was immersed in Spanish. The Reynolds program defrayed the cost for both.

“What’s incredibly unique about the program is the environment that accompanies it: the honors college, the administrators. It’s like a little rooting team every step of the way. I can’t describe how reassuring that is,” she said. Jordan Lopez, a sophomore political science major, echoes that observation. “The opportunities — and the help of our advisor (and honors college assistant dean) Dr. Muich — have definitely helped me grow as a student.”

Jas Syquia, a nursing major who graduates this spring, plans to eventually continue his education and be a nurse practitioner in an Intensive Care Unit.

He values the contacts he has developed as a result of being a Reynolds Scholar, such as getting to know honors college dean Dr. Omar Ali — and gathering with all the other scholars. “It’s been really cool to see what other students are doing — their accomplishments and how they’re using the Reynolds resources,” he said.

He has come to see what the Reynolds family did. “An invest- ment in someone’s future is the best gift someone can give,” he said.

“It’s definitely made a positive impact on my life, for sure.”

All along the way

As president of the UNCG Alumni Association, Annette Vaden Holesh ’80 has a broad view of the program. In the late 1970s, she was a Reynolds Scholar. “The desire to ‘go further,’ it all goes back to being a Reynolds Scholar,” she said.

The program propelled her to get a master's degree in personnel administration from Winthrop University. And then she was among the first to be hired in the Human Resources Department at SAS Institute in Cary, North Carolina. Its innovative approach to human resources is legendary, and she was a leader in that effort, for 33 years. “We started a lot of the programs they have today.” As she noted, a fitness center and onsite health care center and stated emphasis on work/life balance were virtually unheard of at the time.

The big idea at SAS? “If you treat your employees as if they make
a difference, they will make a difference.”

She traces her leadership there back to her Reynolds Scholar
days. The honor of being a scholar elevated her. Being awarded the scholarship confirmed her decision to attend UNCG and to become involved on campus. She worked for The Carolinian as the head secretary, overseeing a group of administrative students.

“As a Reynolds Scholar, I was inspired to be a leader.”

Now, after retiring from a career helping to lead a groundbreaking approach to human resources, she helps lead UNCG’s alumni. As president, she recently heard some of today’s Reynolds Scholars give a talk to trustees and other university leaders. The impact and rising dreams revealed in the students’ stories were inspiring.

“I’m amazed at how far they have come.”

Reynolds yearbook

Original Reynolds Scholars, Class of 1967

Melanie Spruill Blakely, Susan Prince Watson, Jane Taylor Brookshire, Judy Davis Wall, Shelby Rice Sperr, Rosalyn Fleming Lomax, Sandra Cheek Nottingham, Dorothy Jane Crowder, Evelyn Johnson Stephenson, Martha Bridges Sharma, Anne Presnell, Willine Carr. Not pictured: Nancy Holman Smith,
Evelyn Brake Weems

Legacy of Katharine Smith Reynolds

A student of the State Normal and Industrial College (later UNCG) in 1897, Katharine Smith Reynolds was unable to finish her education due to a typhoid epidemic. She completed her degree in Virginia.

She dedicated her life to the betterment of oth- ers. She convinced her husband, R.J. Reynolds, not only to shorten the work week at his company, but also to offer medical care, cafeterias, day care and housing to employees.

At their home, Reynolda, she established a school for her own and her estate staff’s children – and a night school for staff. In Winston-Salem, she founded the YWCA and the Junior League, and made possible the construction of Reynolds High School and Reynolds Auditorium.

The Reynolds Scholars

  • The scholars are selected on the basis of superior academic achievement and potential evidence of moral force of character, qualities of leadership and interest in others, and motivation toward useful purposes in life.

  • The scholarships were created in 1962 in memory of Katharine Smith Reynolds (Mrs. R.J. Reynolds), an alumna, by the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.

  • In 1963, the first scholarships were presented.

  • More than 500 scholarships have been presented.

  • Currently, eight scholarships are given annually, with each scholar receiving $8,000 per year for four years.

  • 325 eligible students applied last year. Twelve were interviewed. Eight were selected.

Reynolds Scholar fox

The Reynolds Fox

Early Reynolds Scholars were given a gold brooch formed as a fox. Inscribed on the back were Katharine Smith Reynolds’ monogram and the initials of the recipient.

Alumni ascend

Cammie McGinnis Berrier ’81, Art Education: “Each year I share my love of art with 600-700 students. ... I cannot begin to imagine how my life would be different if I had not had this wonderful opportunity to receive a college education.”

Michael Shiver ’06, Mathematics and Classical Studies: “The key element is that being supported by the Reynolds Scholarship allowed me to be a student and truly embrace my experience at UNCG. The resulting education, relationships, life experiences and other memories will stay with me forever.”

Marjorie Guilford ’79, Mathematics: “At the age of 25,
I was managing a plant of 350 people. Later in my career, I was corporate vice president of a telecommunications company. I was fortunate to work with people from most of the United States and several other countries. The Reynolds Scholarship gave me a broader perspective of the world and a unique appreciation for different cultures.”

Dr. Catherine Scott-Little ’87, Child Development and Family Studies, UNCG Faculty: “Since graduating in 1987, I completed my PhD at the University of Maryland, have been a successful administrator in large early childhood programs, and now am on faculty preparing our current UNCG students to teach young children and administer early education programs.”

Dr. Steve Meyerhoffer ’87, Chemistry, GlaxoSmithKein: “As a scientist in the pharmaceutical industry, I have had the opportunity to develop new drug molecules over a wide range of therapeutic areas including urology, cancer and HIV. During my career I have enjoyed mentoring young scientists entering the field of analytical chemistry and training others in drug development and pharmaceutical sciences. I also participate in ‘Science in Schools’ functions ... sparking interest of the next generation of young scientists.”

Sharon Ann Verdu ’79, Health Occupations Teacher, Owen High School: “I have several hundred students who have become certified nursing assistants through my program, as well as occupational therapists, physical therapy assis- tants, nurses and nurse anesthetists. I feel my Katharine Smith Reynolds Scholarship is still impacting stu- dents today.”

Dr. Jay B. Michael ’85, Chemistry: “(It) helped me make a dream come true. I’ve always wanted to be a doctor, and the scholarship helped me get into med school.”

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
University Communications
1100 West Market Street Greensboro, NC 27412

Copyright © 2018 The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. All rights reserved.

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro