The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Connections Section Title
Alumni Association President Keith Ayscue
Building community
Remarks from Alumni Association President Keith Ayscue

Coming this spring, as flowers open and we welcome winter's end, a brand new home will also open for the Ibnaouf family. This Habitat for Humanity project began in October, with completion projected in April. It is made possible by a $75,000 gift from Greensboro's Well·Spring LifeCare Retirement Community and a corps of volunteers from UNCG.

Beshir Ibnaouf and his wife, Maarif Abbas, immigrated to our country from Sudan in 1997 with their first child, their daughter Romesa. They are now a family of seven. The Greater Greensboro chapter of Habitat for Humanity considers the family a good fit for the program. They have already completed the volunteer work required of them (200 hours on other Habitat projects), are eagerly working on their own future home and look forward to participating in more community building.

The volunteerism of UNCG students, employees and alumni is another example of fulfilling our university motto and mission statement, seeking efficient use of available resources to ensure the highest quality in its service to the citizens of our community.

Construction began on Oct. 14 as a team of 15 UNCG faculty, students, staff and university friends joined their good will and volunteered their skills. On the second volunteer day, the Spartan baseball team made it to the second floor, a level where staff members from Student Affairs also contributed. Sisters from Sigma Sigma Sigma and brothers from Pi Kappa Phi gave their time and labor as well, and the Social Service Professions Learning Community of Grogan College raised the roof trusses.

Members of the Student Government Association wrapped the house in moisture barrier and applied the roof sheathing, and members of UNCG Staff Senate nailed down the roof shingles, even as it snowed. The cold weather and the need to dress in layers for the job has had no influence on the attitude of the volunteers, who have found the time they gave most rewarding. Many look forward to more participation in future Habitat projects.

The UNCG Alumni Association is coordinating manpower on two of the project days — Jan. 8 to help with siding on the exterior of the house, and landscaping on March 18. By the time this project is complete, more than 400 people from the extended UNCG family will have given their time and labor.

Building community: another mission accomplished!

Keith Ayscue '91, '03 MBA
UNCG Alumni Association president

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Habitat photo

A different kind of homecoming

If passion, enthusiasm and caring make a house a home, then the Ibnaoufs are well on their way.

In April, the Sudanese family will be the proud owners of a four-bedroom, 1,550-square-foot Habitat for Humanity home built by the UNCG community.

Follow the progress of the house at

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Bill Mangum photo

Painting the House

Don't be surprised to see artist Bill Mangum '75, '83 MFA haunting his old collegiate stomping grounds this spring, sketchpad in hand.

“I'll be over about six or seven times,” he says. “You'll see me on the curb.”

He'll be making a series of field studies of the Alumni House in April or May when the campus puts on its finest floral show. Then it's back into the studio to paint the final product — a painting to celebrate the recent renovation of the Alumni House. Prints will be available for sale.

This is his second painting of a UNCG landmark. Mangum painted the Foust Building in the 1990s. He's done numerous commissions for other universities around the state as well.

Mangum is excited about returning to his roots.

“The Alumni House is dear to me,” he says. “We held our wedding reception there.”

In fact, he and his wife Cynthia '75 met on campus during their freshman year. His senior year is when he discovered his talent for watercolors.

It was just before winter break and the art major wanted to create a special piece for his mother. But as a college student, he couldn't afford the oils and acrylics he used in class. So he went to the Friendly Center Woolworth and spent 59 cents on a tray of watercolors. He painted a snow scene and splurged on a $2.98 frame.

His mother was thrilled. So was Mangum. “I told her I thought I had found my niche.”

He began reading up on the craft of watercolor painting and was later asked by Dean Shipton to be the artist in residence. When his first exhibition at Elliott University Center sold all 10 paintings, his calling was confirmed.

Now, 3,000 paintings later, he's still in love with the art and spends eight hours a day painting in the studio in back of his Lawndale gallery.

“It's been 33 years now and I'm still learning.”

As the Alumni House painting takes shape, Mangum will create a Facebook page so alumni and friends can follow its progress.

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Get ready for Reunion

Reunion will have a decidedly creative theme this year.

The April 8-9 weekend gathering of the Woman's College class years ending in 1s and 6s will have art talks, chances to observe music and dance classes, a poetry reading and a panel discussion on the creative process.

In addition to all the artistic emphases, Reunion-goers will have plenty of time for catching up with class meetings, tours, open houses, dinners and luncheons.

A sampling of some of the weekend highlights:

  • A chance to meet Lawrence Jenkens, new head of the UNCG art department
  • A discussion of the Weatherspoon Art Museum's 70 years of collecting and the chance to participate in the museum's spring community day
  • An opportunity to visit classes such as jazz ensemble, intermediate/advanced contemporary dance technique, advanced African dance technique, symphonic band and creative synthesis — BFA thesis showings
  • A look at the secret gardens of UNCG
  • A panel discussion on the creative arts process led by Emily Herring Wilson '61, Sara Claytor '61 and faculty members
  • Heather Ross Miller '61 and Emily Herring Wilson '61 readings and wine and cheese reception

To register for Reunion, visit The registration deadline is April 4.

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Marvelous mentors

Next summer, the second class of UNCG Guarantee students will hit campus. And the need for mentors will double.

This year, 35 people stepped up to serve as mentors for this inaugural group of scholars. It's a five-hour-a-month commitment that requires flexibility as well as a healthy dose of patience. But the rewards are great.

There's the satisfaction of helping guide these students through their time at UNCG. Sometimes that means just trading emails or meeting for coffee and chit-chat. At other times it means noticing there's a potential problem and helping students understand what services are available for help.

“We need people who care about how these students grow as people,” says Linda Carter, executive director of the Alumni Association. In addition to heading up recruitment efforts, Carter has also served as a mentor this year.

Mentors' efforts are appreciated by the students.

“All the mentors, they connect with you on so many different levels,” UNCG Guarantee student Breanna Graves says. “It's not just a student-teacher relationship. It's a deeper relationship, like you can talk to them about anything.”

Next year, UNCG will have 70 mentor spots. Ideally, mentors should be from the Piedmont Triad area so it's easy to meet with their student. Aside from that, all ages, genders and professions are welcome.

“We want to have a diversity of mentors that reflect the diversity of our students,” Carter says. “They just need to be young at heart.”

Next year, mentors will have more educational activities upfront and more opportunities to attend university events such as concerts, lectures, sporting events or holiday parties.

But the real benefit comes from one-on-one interaction.

“We're teaching these students how to interact in an adult world,” Carter says.

To become a mentor, fill out this form. For more information about being a mentor, contact Carter at 336-256-2014 or email

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Alumni Events
  • April 7-9 – Woman's College Reunion
  • April 9 – School of Nursing Alumni Association annual meeting
  • April 9 – School of Nursing Distinguished Alumni Award ceremony and luncheon
  • April 9 – School of Health and Human Performance awards and reception
  • May 6 – Commencement
  • May 9 – New York Showcase
  • May 19UNCG Networking Lunch, Burlington
  • June 25UNCG Alumni Night at the Durham Bulls

Dates and times are subject to change. For more information about alumni gatherings, email the Alumni Relations Office at or call (336) 334-5696.

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Location: 1000 Spring Garden Street, Greensboro, NC 27403
Mailing Address: PO Box 26170, Greensboro, NC 27402-6170
Telephone: 336.334.5000
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Last updated: Tuesday, 04 October 2011
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