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May 2008

New man at the helm

The end of the story might be the same, but the journey — ah — that's a story worth telling.

Jeff Colbert '84, '86 MPA, president-elect of the UNCG Alumni Association Board of Directors, introduced himself during the Grand Reunion Luncheon with a taste of his story.

Colbert, a lecturer in the Department of Political Science, didn't always love UNCG. In fact, he used to bleed light blue.

He spent two years at that sister institution before transferring to UNCG. Even then, his heart still belonged to Carolina.

After a stint at Ashby Residential College, Colbert took some time away from college to get his head together. That took 10 years. He returned in the '80s, finished his degrees and began teaching here, but he still bled light blue. Then, in the late '90s, “It was almost a literal waking up one day and saying, ‘Oh my gosh, I love UNCG!’”

It reminds him of a line from a television movie he watched with his wife. In the scene, two women are talking about how they fell in love with their husbands. One said, “Love isn't always about the fireworks. Sometimes love comes softly.”

That line gave Colbert goosebumps because it so accurately described his love affair with UNCG.

Colbert has served the university in a variety of ways — teaching, recruiting both traditional and adult students, serving on the student conduct panel appeals board, supporting Spartan athletics, and volunteering with the Alumni Association board.

Now he will be the second man in the history of the university and possibly only the second faculty member to serve as president of the board. And just last week, he received one of the highest awards on campus — the Gladys Strawn Bullard Award for Service.

“People ask me, Why do you do all the things you do? And I tell them, When you love somebody what wouldn't you do?”

It's a message he wants others to hear loud and clear.

“I want people who love UNCG to show up more,” he says.

It's a shame that many people never don a UNCG T-shirt after graduation. For Colbert, it's rare to see him without some kind of UNCG attire.

Another one of his goals for the coming year is to make more people aware of what the association is doing on campus. Alumni could be more involved in internships or mentoring, he says.

Finally, he wants to get a larger number of people involved on campus.

Colbert isn't shy about sharing his story or his love for UNCG. “I want people to hear my heart.”




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