Remarks from Alumni Association President Keith Ayscue
When reading today's financial section or articles regarding investment losses in real estate and equities, it is hard for many of us to imagine tougher times. We are deeply grateful to our alumni donors for your loyal and continued support of UNCG in the face of these challenges. Since our founding in 1891 we have seen our share of financial panics, the Great Depression and recessionary cycles; we know well that tough times create hardships for parents and colleges.
Our alumni can play an important role during this unprecedented financial downturn. Please help us carry the message to family and friends that a high quality college education is still an affordable dream right here at UNCG. As we start the new academic year with our largest freshman class consisting of 2,515 students and total campus enrollment (undergraduate and graduate) of 18,582 students, we continue to need the financial support from our alumni to accommodate the need for more scholarships, campus housing, renovation of existing buildings and expansion of our campus to meet the needs of our students.
Whether in academics, the arts, athletics or the general pursuit of its mission, excellence is being observed and documented throughout the UNCG campus. Make time to connect or reconnect with UNCG. Exciting things are happening every day. You can see them with your own eyes by visiting campus, attending a university-sponsored event or visiting www.uncg.edu.
Finally, I would like to officially welcome our newest UNCG Alumni Association Board members: Chris Bishop '08, Alan Buck '10, Celia Hunter Dickerson '65, '92 EdD, Anthony Difoggio '92, Michael Garrett '07, Nathan Jameson '01, Cynthia Marshall '65 and Matt McLean '98. We completed our first board meeting on Sept. 18, and we have an outstanding group of new and returning board members this year.
Keith Ayscue '91, '03 MBA
UNCG Alumni Association president
Every night, without fail, a group of friends who lived in Hinshaw Hall met for dinner in the dining hall.
Four decades later, these women from the Class of 1970 have gotten together in one form or another every year since graduation. They've kept up through the weddings, the babies, the job relocations, the grandchildren, the loss of parents and even the loss of one of their own.
It's interesting and miraculous that, as far apart as we are, we don't hold anything back, says Susan Banks Burdine. We have all this shared history. We still call each other our best friends.
The group came together as many groups of college friends do by a bit of luck and happenstance. Most were assigned to Hinshaw Hall. Susan and her freshman roommate, Cynthia Overcash, came to college as friends, having served as Future Homemakers of America officers together. Sandy Sanders Gurunian and Libby Alexander Putnam lived across the hall. Sandy had gone to high school with Barbara Hargett Garrison and Caroline Cuthbertson Howerton, who were on the second floor. Rounding out the group were Polly Anna Palmer Sloan and Revonda Owen Clark on the third floor, who recognized Susan from district FHA functions and introduced themselves during an orientation tour.
That's how our group got together, Susan said. Later on, looking back, I love that we were required to live in a freshman dorm.
And if you're keeping count, you realize those are only eight women. The final two became part of the group their junior year when Susan opted to serve as an officer in a freshman dorm. As a result, she and Cynthia got new roommates Anne Edwards Fuller and Cheryl Morris Eckstam '71 and they fit right in.
By their senior year, they took up five rooms on the third floor of Weil Hall. Many of them were dating their future husbands and so all the men got to know one another as well.
After graduation, the women visited one another but without a set group get-together. It was after their five-year reunion in 1975 that they realized their lives were going in separate directions and they would lose touch if they didn't make an effort to see one another, Susan says. The first organized reunion was born in 1977.
As our children grew up, they got to know each other, Susan says. In 2006, they all met in Charlotte including several grandchildren. We are an extended family.
That was obvious when Revonda got sick with colon cancer in the early '90s. Many of them made special trips to visit her before she died. And all but one made it to the funeral no matter how far they had to travel.
That really hit all of us extremely hard, she says.
About three years later, Revonda's husband began dating again and brought his girlfriend, Doris, to meet the group. They later married.
We loved her, Susan says. So now we are the 10 with Doris.
Most years they try to pick new locations and take turns planning. This year they took advantage of the planned 1970s reunion at Homecoming.
We've got this group that's so special, Susan says. We don't want to lose each other. We will keep doing this year after year.
You see them everywhere. Handing out water bottles on move-in day. Serving popcorn at Homecoming. Giving tours of the Alumni House. Demonstrating the fine art of networking.
Alumni volunteers provide much needed support for a variety of programs at UNCG. Through their stories, their talents, their willingness to do what needs to be done to make an event run smoothly, alumni put their motto of service into action.
The following list is just a sampling of ways you can make a difference in the coming year.
- UNCG Guarantee mentor – Starting this year, more than 30 alumni committed to serving as mentors for our first class of UNCG Guarantee students. Mentors are asked to devote a minimum of five hours a month to their student, whether through going to athletic events or talking over coffee. Next year, another group of mentors will be needed to help the second class of Guarantee students navigate their way through UNCG.
- Career Services mentor – If you feel confident in the skills you've acquired through years of work, volunteer to help students who have questions about entering your field. Volunteering is as simple as signing up online by visiting uncgalumni.com and clicking on Spartan Village.
- Schmooza Palooza – This annual event brings together alumni and current students to learn effective networking skills. If you love to network, consider sharing your expertise.
- Summer send-offs – Before they arrive as freshmen, students are given a proper send-off at informal gatherings all over the area. Volunteers are needed to help organize these send-offs in their areas.
- UNCG First Look and Recruitment – UNCG hosts First Look events each fall. Volunteering is as simple as mixing and mingling with high school students and sharing your UNCG story.
Other areas in which volunteers are needed:
- Regional Alumni Clubs
- Serving on the Board of Directors for the Alumni Association
- Serving on the boards of school alumni associations – Bryan School of Business and Economics, School of Nursing, School of Health and Human Performance
- Greek Alumni Legacy Program
- Class Reunions
- Special Interests Reunions including Spartan athletics, rugby, honors college, residential colleges, academic departments, student groups
- Alumni House Docents
To learn more about any of these opportunities, contact the Office of Alumni Relations at (336) 334-5696, call toll-free (800) 862-4123 or email email@example.com.
- Nov. 4 – Alumni Association Board of Directors meeting, Virginia Dare Room, Alumni House, noon-5 p.m.
- Nov. 7 – Alumni at the Panthers vs. Saints game, Charlotte
- Nov. 18 – Bryan School Networking Lunch, High Point
- Nov. 19 – Stuffing Stockings with Joy event, hosted by the UNCG Club of the Triad, Alumni House, 7 p.m.
- Nov. 30 – UNCG Guarantee mentors/scholars holiday reception, Virginia Dare Room, Alumni House, 5 p.m.
- Dec. 4 – Branches of Love, Alumni House, 2 p.m.
- Dec. 9 – Holiday tea and open house, Alumni House
- Dec. 16 – Commencement
- Jan. 8 – Alumni Association board of directors Habitat for Humanity work day
- Feb. 5 – Alumni Association board of directors meeting, Virginia Dare Room, Alumni House, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.
- April 8-9 – Reunion of the Womans College
Dates and times are subject to change. For more information about alumni gatherings, email the Alumni Relations Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (336) 334-5696.