From Woman’s College era to today, core values remain constant, as new ideals have emerged.
A young woman in a cable-knit sweater, ripped jeans, and brown leather boots raises her phone and snaps a selfie before descending the EUC stairs. Another passes in black-and-white checkered Vans and a Nirvana T-shirt. Another wears pajama pants and Crocs, colorful closed-toed foam sandals. Some of these Crocs are decorated with Jibbitz, “shoe charms” styled as anything from a piece of fruit to the animated character SpongeBob Squarepants.
For UNCG undergraduates, 88% of whom are under 28 years old, there is no single way to dress. But if they love your outfit, they might say, “That’s a slay.”
They were children during the Great Recession of 2008. Their high school years were spent planning events that would be canceled due to the COVID-19 lockdowns of 2020-21. Now, they’re graduating into a workplace marked by the “Great Resignation” and a changing technological landscape.
Today’s 20-somethings are the inheritors of a world shaped by the Silent Generation, the Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials. No wonder many of their ideals and dreams sound familiar. At the same time, as new alumna Grace Wall ’23 says, “There will always be shifts and changes. Every new generation is going to push back on something.”
Who are today’s UNCG students and how do they think about their education, their University, and their future?
Major: Education, minor in dance
Major: Communication Studies
Woman’s College was known as the nation’s top public college for women. Its legacy of excellence and opportunity is now on full display at the Woman’s College Tribute.
Betsy Oakley ’69, Board of Trustees chair, told those gathered at May’s dedication on Stone Lawn, “The WC alumnae were bold pioneers who embraced the educational opportunities they were given – and they worked for them,” she said. “They were trailblazers. WC graduates have made an enormous impact on our region, our state, our nation, and indeed the world.”
Did you know:
Astera looks toward Jackson Library, the former Elliott Hall (now EUC), and the McIver Statue.
Since the early 1960s, our University has presented Distinguished and Excellence Professorships to exceptional faculty. The impact these professorships make on these stellar individuals creates an exponential impact on their graduate and undergraduate students, on their realm of research, and ultimately on our world.
Nineteen years ago, Dr. DiAnne Borders ’72 received the Burlington Industries Excellence Professorship. It was a game-changer.
“When Ed Uprichard, our School of Education dean, called to tell me, I thought ‘Wow!’’’ Her research, her teaching, and her department were being lifted up.
When she’d come from Cleveland County to enroll in 1968, the campus had only a few endowed professorships. As our campus moved from the Woman’s College era (1932-63) to the current research university of UNCG – and doctoral programs were becoming key for all universities – several Triad corporations gave us pivotal support through named professorships.
Borders is a perfect example. A pastor’s daughter, she lived in various rural North Carolina communities. She graduated in the tumultuous Vietnam War era with an English degree. She gained real-world experience as a high school teacher in High Point. She leveraged that experience to build her academic credentials at other universities. In 1987, she joined UNCG’s burgeoning counseling program and ultimately became a trailblazer nationally not only in the realm of counselor education, but in the creation of standards and ethical codes in the new field of clinical supervision as a specialty within the counseling and mental health fields. She’s been awarded lifetime achievement awards by the leading organizations in her field. An honored mentor to her students and well-published researcher, she has helped bolster UNCG’s Counseling and Educational Development Department for 36 years.
How do you decide on the right child care facility? A star rating at a North Carolina child care facility can ease the minds of parents and caregivers.
What’s more, it can help a facility learn about areas where it can improve – and how to support these changes.
The NC Rated License Assessment Project, run by UNCG for nearly 25 years as a pioneering initiative, has helped improve the lives of millions of children in North Carolina and beyond.
When bids were solicited in 1999, UNCG stepped up to lead this groundbreaking effort. Dr. Deborah Cassidy, a leader of UNCG’s Human Development and Family Studies early childhood program, applied for that first child care assessment contract. UNCG, which had long been known for its exceptional quality child care program, was awarded the NC Rated License Assessment Project (NCRLAP) – and subsequently served as a model for other states.
UNCG researchers were undaunted by the blank slate they faced. What should be the process for evaluation of classrooms? How many evaluators would be needed? What parts of the state would have more assessment requests? Nearly 25 years later, the NCRLAP has answered these questions and many more.
One thing became clear: Collaboration would be a key to success.
“When we started, we had six subcontracts with other universities, they were in charge of their region, and they hired the assessors to go out into their communities,” said Dr. Linda Hestenes, current NCRLAP co-director. “I think that helped create a foundation, and it evolved from there.”
UNCG partnered with another university for training on the assessment tool, while the researchers began working on partnerships with child care facilities. They took a whole-state approach, rather than having different standards for each county.
The leaders and staff in child care facilities didn’t know what to expect. “This was new, and in addition to people from their communities coming in as assessors, it was important to help programs understand the process. We worked hard to provide this information,“ said Dr. Sharon Mims, NCRLAP co-director.
Collaboration paid off.
Over time, the NCRLAP progressed from simply making people aware of what the state licensing requires, to what the new assessment process would be, to how to improve your facility while continuing to focus on offering safe and quality classrooms for children.
WANT TO GET AWAY? Piney Lake has provided a respite for UNCG students since 1956. Eight miles from campus, the forty-acre facility is light years from city life. Shuttles run each day, providing relaxing outdoor recreation for students and members of the Kaplan Center during the warm-weather months. Swimming, hiking, volleyball, disc golf, badminton – it’s got something for everybody. Kayaks and paddleboards are a hit, and a swan-shaped paddleboat is almost as popular as the water trampoline (seen here). What a great way to unplug and recharge. And if you want to bring a book, well there’s no better spot to enjoy a few chapters.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY SEAN NORONA ’13
The Spartans rolled into SEC power Arkansas’ Bud Walton Arena to face the No. 14 ranked team in front of a loud, sold-out crowd. UNCG emerged victorious, 78-72. It was their first win over a Top 25 team ever. It was the first Southeastern Conference (SEC) win for UNCG in … Continued
What are you thankful for this time of year? Music lovers will be thankful for a beautiful UNC Greensboro “Harvest Home” choral concert, held in the richly ambient space of Greensboro’s First Presbyterian Church. The UNCG Choral Ensembles’ seasonal concert will be held Sunday, Nov. 19, at 5 p.m. Admission … Continued
Woman’s College – now UNC Greensboro — was a top public college for women. Now its legacy of excellence and opportunity is honored with the Woman’s College Tribute, “Astera.”
In April we dedicated “Astera,” a tribute to Woman’s College and WC alumnae. It’s a reminder of the through line connecting every generation on our campus. Students now, like those before, find their way to UNCG because of academic excellence and the opportunities here. It’s a combination that has made UNCG unique.
Being the beneficiaries of these rare educational opportunities is perhaps why our very first class of students chose “Service” as the University motto. It has been embraced by every class since. At this year’s day of service, more than 150 students traveled in teams throughout Guilford County in support of critical projects with partner organizations that make a direct impact right here – investing in our “shared place.”
Such an initiative at the start of a semester is deeply meaningful for our students as well as for our community. It was heartening to see them wearing shirts that read “Changemakers” and to imagine what their future holds.
Through their careers and their lives, UNCG graduates will be “Changemakers” near and far. As teachers and principals, nurses, entrepreneurs, social workers, nutritionists, artists, chemists, counselors – the list goes on. Our alumni are in every realm of life.
“Astera” means star. The name is fitting. For 131 years, opportunity and excellence have been our North Star.
As we continue our Light the Way campaign, our students serve as reminders of not only the value of our investments but also the role each can play in “change making.”
FRANKLIN D. GILLIAM, JR.
New York City is home to Spartan musicians Sarah Gooch ’18, Tanner West ’18, and Thomas Linger ’15.
UNCG’s Concert and Lecture Series is back. Find more information, including ticket information, at vpa.uncg.edu.
Dr. Heather Holian, professor of art and UNCG’s first Margaret and Bill Benjamin Faculty Fellow, worked with Weatherspoon staff to curate an exhibition of original animation art from Walt Disney Studios.