As UNCG archives make clear, the LGBTQ+ Community has been here all along.
IN THE UNIVERSITY’S ARCHIVES, you can find memorabilia from Coming Out Day events, fliers from Greensboro’s gay bars, and scrapbooks lovingly kept by students simply documenting their lives.
These items are donated by LGBTQ+ community members, then digitized. The collection also includes recorded interviews that tell a story too often kept hidden.
UNCG librarians Stacey Krim and David Gwynn ’91 archive and share this growing collection, Pride! of the Community. Initially funded by a National Endowment for the Humanities Common Heritage Grant, it documents not only UNCG’s LGBTQ+ history but also that of the Triad region.
“Because they were a historically persecuted group, LGBTQ+ people found it was dangerous to leave a paper trail,” says Krim. They needed to remain invisible and could not rely on mainstream institutions.
Until recently, it was not safe for gays, lesbians, or other queer individuals to “live and love” publicly. Today, members of the community talk about visibility.
BERTHA HARRIS ’59 BA, ’69 MFA was a lesbian feminist writer whose work is stylistically rich, playful, and steeped in both literary history and the Women’s Movement of the 1960s and ’70s.
MICHAEL TUSO ’11 was the first in his family to go to college. Although it was the last thing on his mind, he was also the first openly gay student body president at UNCG.
HOW DOES A GROUP CALLED NO LABELS describe its mission? “To provide a safe space for queer people of color, allies, and advocates through volunteerism, advocacy, educational programming, collaboration, and inclusion.”
Hidden Gems Yield Hints of History
Beyond the flowering trees and fragrant wisteria, in the midst of Romanesque, neoclassical, neo-Georgian, and Modernist architecture, treasures abound at UNCG. Everywhere you turn, there’s a reminder of our campus’ storied past. Fact is, our University has a uniquely rich history, which the campus landscape reveals every day. The past is present here, on every path and around every corner.
Talk about a secret garden. Bordered by the Alumni House and a retaining wall, this cozy space has been the Alumni Secretaries Garden since 1964. In fact, nearby is a marble bench inscribed “Class of 1964.” A garden wall bears a sign recognizing the first four alumnae leaders: Ethel Bollinger Keiger (1919-1922), Clara Booth Byrd (1922- 1947), Betty Brown Jester (1947-1955), and Barbara Parrish (1955-1989). In 2006, Susan Seeker Jones ’78 revitalized the Secretaries Garden through a gift to the Alumni House Furnishings Fund. Teaming up with then-Landscaping Department Head Chris Fay, she introduced benches and new plantings like irises, flowering bushes, and climbing camellias to the garden, which stands as a living memorial to her parents, Iris and “Bud.” The alumna said, “I never appreciated the garden when I was here. I want to make sure students don’t make the same mistake and take advantage of the many green spaces available.”
But wait, there’s more! Learn more…
SWEET 16. ELITE 8. TOP 5 FINAL RANKING. DRAWING ON THE STRENGTH OF A STORIED PAST, MEN’S SOCCER ELEVATES ITS GAME ON AND OFF THE FIELD.
On a cold November night in Greensboro, two players who weren’t used to the spotlight stepped up and helped advance the Spartans to the next round of the NCAA tournament.
After two overtime periods, a penalty kick shootout would determine the winner. Isaac Briner, who had not played all season, made a save. Freshman Maddox Mallery delivered a clutch kick. UNCG wins!
A crowd of alumni, students, and families roared. Last fall, after more than a decade out of the national spotlight, Men’s Soccer achieved its first Elite 8 finish as a Division I team.
For many alumni and fans, the march through the NCAA reignited memories of the program’s history. Men’s Soccer first earned recognition in the 1980s, when the Spartans won five Division III National Championships under coaches Mike Berticelli (1980-83) and Michael Parker (1984-2009).
“Back in the day, the thing to do in Greensboro was go pick your kids up from school and bring them to the game. It was routine in the 1980s to have 1,500-2,000 people at the game sitting on the hill by the tennis courts watching us,” recalls Steve Harrison ’89.
WHEN YOU’RE PART OF A TEAM, YOU CAN DRAW A LOT OF EXPERIENCE FROM THOSE MOMENTS. IT’S AN INVALUABLE ASSET THAT STUDENT-ATHLETES CAN TAKE AWAY.—Jason Haupt ’91
Many great alumni players helped build UNCG’s legacy of excellence, including George Hoyle ’90, Andrew Mehalko ’87, Randi Patterson ’10, & Eddie Radwanski ’97.
“YOU WILL have to be an example, even when you don’t want to be,” explains Marco Milanese ’22. “Being a captain means you’re going to have to expose yourself.”
But being a leader is a role that feels natural for Milanese, who comes from Isenia, Italy, near Naples.
HE GOT THE CALL that most college athletes would trade anything to receive: He’d been drafted by a pro team. “Man, if I can talk about that moment for a second!
Playing professionally was a dream of mine since I was a kid,” recalls Ethan Conley ’24.
Our campus is welcoming and wonderfully beautiful. Our people, one and all, are amazing. Come be a part of the university experience. Attend the Alumni All Access weekend this month, if you can. Make plans to come to concerts, readings, and lectures in the fall, if you’re within driving distance. I know plans are already in the works for a tremendous Homecoming in October. The UNCG bonfire will be brighter than ever.
And help spread the word about our amazing University. Our University’s reputation for a supportive environment coupled with academic excellence is becoming more pronounced. Our status as the state’s top university for
social mobility is proven. It takes many people to do that. Our alumni are an essential part of that support – helping create scholarships, hiring UNCG interns, speaking to classes – even writing encouraging letters to students, as you’ll see later in this Newsfront section.
With the societal after-effects of the pandemic and changing age demographics, have our nation’s universities ever had a more challenging moment in time? Has there been a better time to be a part of our outstanding University?
The simple truth is: You can make a real difference. Collectively, the alumni of this University can make a profound impact.
Together, we’ll ensure our University thrives like never before!
FRANKLIN D. GILLIAM, JR.
When most people hit their 60s, they are starting to plan for retirement. Anne Pitoniak ’43 was just starting to kick her acting career into high gear. Forty years ago this week, her ambition and talents took her to the Tony Awards red carpet. The Woman’s College (UNCG) alumna made … Continued
UNC Greensboro alumna Rhiannon Giddens is already a certified genius, as she received a MacArthur Fellowship. She is a two-time Grammy Award recipient. Today, she was announced as a Pulitzer Prize honoree. “Omar,” by Rhiannon Giddens and Michael Abels, will receive the 2023 Pulitzer Prize Winner in Music. The Pulitzer … Continued
UNC Greensboro conferred an honorary degree upon David Sprinkle during Friday’s Commencement ceremony. Honorary degrees recognize extraordinary individual achievements, highlight UNCG’s institutional values and the contributions the individual makes to the University community or the broader society, and provide positive acknowledgement of the importance of these contributions to the University, … Continued
PORTRAITS MADE PUBLIC Dr. N. Frank Woods ’78 MFA, a key figure in the development of UNCG’s African American and African Diaspora Studies program, is a scholar of art history. His books include “Race and Racism in Nineteenth Century Art” and “African American Pioneers in Art, Film and Music.” What is less known is that he is an artist. He earned his MFA here at UNCG in studio arts. Over the years he has painted portraits of what he calls his “artist heroes” and, earlier this semester, they were displayed for the first time – in the Weatherspoon Art Museum. Here we see Hale Woodruff, Jacob Lawrence, Lois Mailou Jones, Robert S. Duncanson, and William H. Johnson l-r. To several decades of UNCG students, Dr. Woods himself is an “artist hero,” no doubt about that.
PHOTOGRAPH BY SEAN NARONA ’12
“The artist sees what others only catch a glimpse of.”—Leonardo da Vinci
Kevin Lawson ’07, who came to UNCG in 2002 as a piano performance major, is now the School of Theatre’s first MFA student with a concentration in Musical Theatre Directing. Read about Kevin Lawson’s journey. By Terri RelosPhotography by Mike Micchiche
If you’re writing a book about visual art in North Carolina, there’s no better place to look than UNCG. “I think that there’s such an incredible history of art here,” says professor and artist Barbara Campbell Thomas. “We were the first art department in the state, back when we were … Continued
As an undergrad, Daria “Toni” Clarke ’21 set aside ambitions to be a dermatologist or veterinarian for her first love, dance. Upon graduation, she set her sights on the Garth Fagan Dance company, based in upstate New York. Her professor and mentor, Dr. Janet Lilly, had sent her a flier … Continued