UNCG Campus Weekly

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New holiday memories at Vacc Bell Tower

Photo from the inaugural lighting of the Vacc Bell Tower and PlazaIf there’s one thing better than old campus traditions, perhaps it’s a brand new one.

On Reading Day 2014, the UNCG community enjoyed the inaugural lighting of the Vacc Bell Tower and Plaza.

People started assembling a half hour before it started (see visual). Dr. Nancy Vacc, who donated the funds for the bell tower in honor her husband, Dr. Nicholas Vacc, followed the proceedings via a stream of picture emails. And later she enjoyed a video.

“The email video of it all was the next-best thing to being there.” That video concluded with different groups holding up a big sign that read “Thank you, Nancy!” But Nancy Vacc wanted to make sure Dr. Jan Zink plus everyone else who played a role got a big Thank You from her.

Dr. Vacc recounts that there was money left in a tree-trimming fund she contributed last year, and Dr. Zink, vice chancellor for Advancement, shared the idea of a tree-lighting ceremony.

“She already has Phase II plans in place for next year’s ceremony which include more electrical installation and lights on other trees,” Vacc said, praising Zink’s inspiration and leadership. “If this year’s work is any indication, I cannot wait to see next year’s results.”

The former UNCG professor loved seeing the pictures as the festivities unfolded. “Each one gave me one of those adult verbal ‘awe’ moments reminiscent of similar childhood awesome memories during the holiday season. Also, I couldn’t help but notice from the photos that it was a cold evening and yet many braved the weather to share in the fun of the ceremony. I’m so glad we now have this annual event. It gives me great pleasure to give a little back to UNCG for all the cherished experiences Nicholas and I enjoyed as faculty members and previously by me as a graduate student.”

Her husband, Dr. Nicholas Vacc, taught at UNCG for 23 years and served as head of the Department of Counseling and Education Development from 1986-1996.

Dr. Nancy Vacc, after completing her doctorate in curriculum and teaching at UNCG, joined the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at UNCG in 1987. She received the UNCG School of Education Teaching Excellence Award in 1998.

In 2004 she gave, in memory of her late husband, the bell tower at Anniversary Plaza as well as funds for landscaping the area. Other funds at the university in the name of this generous couple are the Nancy Nesbitt Vacc Doctoral Fellowship in Elementary Education, the Nicholas A. and Nancy N. Vacc Distinguished Professorship, and the Nicholas A. Vacc Doctoral Fellowship in Counselor Education.

The Vacc Bell Tower and Plaza lighting becomes one more legacy of the Vacc couple.

And next year’s display does promise to be even more breath-taking.