UNCG Campus Weekly

Campus Weekly is published each Wednesday when classes are in session. In the summer, it is published biweekly.

UNCG receives $1 million gift from alumna Jo Safrit

Dr. JoAnne “Jo” Safrit (’57 BS, Physical Education) has made a $1 million gift to establish a distinguished professorship in the field of kinesiology. Kinesiology is the study of human movement and is one of the fastest-growing fields in the nation, and one of the most popular majors at UNCG.

Named for Safrit and longtime partner Dr. Catherine Ennis (’77 MS, Physical Education), the Safrit-Ennis Scholarship is intended to enable the university to recruit or retain Department of Kinesiology faculty who are outstanding researchers, scholars and teachers.

For Safrit, the gift enables her to honor Dr. Ennis, who passed away in April of 2017, and to provide funds for faculty to conduct important research in the field of kinesiology, to which she has dedicated her life. The new professorship also allows her to “pay it forward” to professors who rely on donations like hers to fund forward-thinking research in the field.

A Salisbury, North Carolina, native, Safrit was a physical education major at Woman’s College, who taught at The University of Texas, and subsequently spent many years as a researcher and teacher at the University of Wisconsin- Madison. She currently lives in Greensboro and serves on the Boards of the UNCG Alumni Association and the Excellence Foundation.

“I received a $1 million gift from a couple when I was a young professor, and it was life-changing for me,” says Safrit. “With that gift, I was able to conduct important, meaningful research because of the generosity of others who had the means to do so. Now I’m in a position to help; I wanted to give a professor the opportunity to make the next discovery, to advance knowledge in the field that I have dedicated my life to, at the school I love so much.”  

See story about the newly named recipient of the Safrit-Ennis Distinguished Professorship in Kinesiology.

See additional coverage in the News and Record – and hear her interviewed on WUNC Radio’s “The State of Things.”

Photography of Dr. Safrit by Martin W. Kane.