By Susan Kirby-Smith
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.
By Mike Harris and Donor Relations staff • Photography by Martin W. Kane
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.”
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.”
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.”
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
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 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.
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.
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.”
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