UNCG Magazine

Anne Prince Cuddy: Trailblazer in SGA, IBM, and more

Anne Prince Cuddy ‘64 has been a trailblazer in her career and in retirement. In breaking norms, she got her start at Woman’s College.  

As a freshman, “I was the nerdiest nerd,” she recalls. “I was tall and clumsy.” By the time she was a junior, she won the race for Student Government president, running on a dorm policy of a later (1 p.m.) curfew on weekends. Her proudest policy victory as president was not the later curfew but the SGA endorsement of the student-led effort for full integration of Tate Street businesses. In a pivotal move, the SGA supported the student boycott of three Tate Street. businesses that remained racially segregated in 1963.   

Now, nearly 60 years later, she is preparing to downsize and move to a retirement community in Durham in the next few years. “I set myself the goal of filling up a big trash bin every two weeks.” 

Until the pandemic, she met with a dozen or so other graduates from her class on a regular basis.  “We’ll do that again,” says Cuddy with her typical optimism.

Her major in math led to graduate school at Ohio State and a career in computers. She was one of the first women hired by IBM in her position. A student in the honors program all four years, she sees “what really good teaching can do,” and she has endowed a fund at UNCG to reward and enhance teaching at UNCG.

Her undergraduate experience – in and out of the classroom – prepared her not only for her career but for the avocations that sustain her today. Professor Rosemary McGee’s class in “Water Safety Instruction” back in 1961 propelled Cuddy into a retirement job as a lifeguard and swimming teacher. Another freshman class in 1960 – in English – encouraged a passionate interest in opera.

She has renewed her Water Safety Certification, which includes lifeguarding and CPR techniques, every four years since McGee’s class. Until the pandemic, my favorite thing in retirement has been teaching adults to swim at the Durham YMCA. That program will start up again as soon as everything opens up.” 

At the Y she first volunteered and then was hired as a lifeguard. Some patrons of the Y were older women who had never learned to swim. The public pools in Durham were segregated when they were young, and many Black women, including retired professors from NCCU, had never learned to swim, Anne explains. Anne developed an instruction program for older swimmers, and it works. One of her students won Second Place in a Seniors Swim Competition. She was 94.

As for opera, Cuddy credits her English teacher, Mr. Harry Firestone. “I always had an interest in music. My parents dragged me and my sister to classical music concerts. And they listened to the Met radio broadcasts on Saturday afternoon. I played violin in the college orchestra, although not very well,” she laughs.  But it was Firestone’s class that ignited an eternal interest in opera. A doctoral candidate from Yale, he required his freshmen to write a paper about a work of art, music, or literature, absorbing themselves in it on their own for half a semester – no secondary criticism allowed. The second part of the semester, they read criticism of the work and produced another paper. Cuddy chose Mozart’s “Don Giovanni.” 

“I listened to it almost every single day in the library those weeks before I wrote the first paper.” 

She served for ten years on the Board of Directors of North Carolina Opera. And she joined the Patron Program at New York’s Metropolitan Opera and attended Met auditions in North Carolina and Atlanta. Recently, she thoroughly enjoyed attending Greensboro Opera’s “Porgy and Bess.” Before the production,  she was able to recommend some singers to GO’s artistic director, David Holley.

She treasures the memory of a strange coincidence that once occurred at a Met Patrons’ reception in New York. She was talking to a fellow patron who, when he learned Anne was from Durham,  told her a good friend from Yale, who had been his Best Man, had  taught at a “woman’s college” somewhere in the South. His Best Man was Harry Firestone. Anne sent a letter to Firestone expressing her heartfelt gratitude for that freshman class so long ago.

Cuddy’s gratitude to UNCG goes beyond individual professors. She received excellent career advice from Dean Katherine Taylor, for example. And she is “most proud” of the part she played in the Tate Street integration campaign. 

By Lollie White ’80 MA, ’87 PhD


More Where Are They Now Stories…

  • Anne Prince Cuddy: Trailblazer in SGA, IBM, and more

    Anne Prince Cuddy: Trailblazer in SGA, IBM, and more

    Anne Prince Cuddy ‘64 has been a trailblazer in her career and in retirement. In breaking norms, she got her start at Woman’s College.   As a freshman, “I was the nerdiest nerd,” she recalls. “I was tall and clumsy.” By the time she was a junior, she won the race for Student Government president, running […]

    Read more

  • UNCG hoops star Lucy Mason now an academic coach

    UNCG hoops star Lucy Mason now an academic coach

    Lucy Mason ’15/16 was featured in the spring 2016 issue for her then-record basketball points total and for her research on African-American figures on campus. Since then she has pursued sports further, and taken up leadership and guidance positions with a master’s in sports business. While studying for her masters, at Temple University, she also […]

    Read more

  • Oscar nominee Emily V. Gordon: Hollywood projects in works

    Oscar nominee Emily V. Gordon: Hollywood projects in works

    Emily V. Gordon ’01, ’03 MS/EdS had received an Oscar nomination for “The Big Sick” when she was featured in the Fall 2018 UNCG Magazine  The screenplay was based on her own unconventional courtship with (now-husband) Kumail Nanjiani, her co-writer.  Their recent pandemic-era/relationship podcast “Staying in with Emily and Kumail,” part self-help and part real-life […]

    Read more

  • Notable Illustrator: Tristin Miller

    Notable Illustrator: Tristin Miller

    With a background in art and graphic design, Tristin Miller ’10 is flexing other muscles these days. After several years of organizing the Hand to Hand Market and myriad other artist-community groups around the Triad, she is now also a weightlifting coach, focusing on trauma-informed private sessions with people who might not feel safe in […]

    Read more

  • Catch up with softball’s Lindsay and Nicole Thomas

    Catch up with softball’s Lindsay and Nicole Thomas

    Twin sisters Lindsay Thomas ’16 and Nicole Thomas ’16, ’18 MS were star softball players at UNCG. Lindsay was catcher, and Nicole was pitcher. They’ve remained in the world of softball since! Both have played professionally across the world, and both have coached.  Lindsay and Nicole together have played in Austria, New Zealand, and Italy, […]

    Read more

  • Latoya Jordan develops legal interpreting skills

    Latoya Jordan develops legal interpreting skills

    Latoya Jordan ‘06, featured on the cover in 2019, is an American Sign Language Interpreter and a CODA, a child of a deaf adult. She has worked in several fields within the profession, from interpreting for state and federal agencies, to medical appointments, from theater and film and post secondary education, to concerts and music […]

    Read more

UNC Greensboro logo