“If I knew for sure what made the Physical Education Class of ’75 so special, I would bottle and sell it because it made our time at UNCG incredibly important,” says Cathy Tamsberg ’75, senior-year Physical Education Class of ’75 president.
Something magical happened in September 1971 when 40 eager, new physical education majors first met in Coleman Gym. Add to the mix their class advisor, Pat Hielscher, a young instructor in her second year at UNCG, who cared deeply about her charges and whose high expectations for their behavior and athletic and academic performance inspired them to rise to the next level.
The excellent reputation of the School of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (now HHS) also factored into the collective identity of what became known as “The Class,” recalls Paula Bonner ’75: “The faculty were national leaders in their areas of specialty but were also playing important roles in advancing Title IX and increasing opportunities for girls and women in sports.”
The bond among members of “The Class” has remained beyond graduation by way of an annual Christmas newsletter, five-year reunions at Piney Lake, and Zoom meetings to update progress on their scholarship fund.
To celebrate their 20th reunion, “The Class” established a scholarship honoring Class of ’75 Physical Education majors and their advisor, intended to be an endowed fund to help students with financial need become physical education teachers. Now approaching their 50th reunion and realizing the needs and interests of students have changed over the years, they have broadened the scholarship’s scope to sophomores committed to earning a BS in kinesiology, prioritizing historically disadvantaged or first-generation students.
The Physical Education Class of 1975 Scholarship Fund recipients are now known as “Hielscher Scholars” to thank Pat, the School, and the University for relationships that have endured for half a century.
By Chris Garton