2023-2024 Year in Review

Posted on May 29, 2024

UNCG students enjoy a nice day on campus with food trucks.
Students enjoy a nice day on campus with food trucks at UNCG's annual Spartapalooza celebration.

Every year at UNC Greensboro begins with excitement and anticipation of what students, faculty, and staff will achieve. From earning their dream degrees to beautifying the campus in ways that will last for future students, they’ve done much to celebrate during the 2023-24 academic year:

Thriving Learning Environment 

The year culminated in more than 4,700 degrees conferred in Fall 2023 and Spring 2024. Among their graduates is Nick Loflin ’23, a Greensboro firefighter who sought new opportunities and used his knowledge of handling life-saving resources to earn his master’s in applied economics. Mother-daughter duo Dena and Rylee Blossey ’24 donned caps and gowns together after getting their bachelors of fine art in interior architecture

2023 was an incredible year for research funding, with more than $67 million raised, a 74 percent increase over five years. That work by UNCG faculty was featured in the Research Magazine, including the work of Biology Professor Gideon Wasserberg to understand how disease may potentially spread via ticks and chiggers in North Carolina. The Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering (JSNN) celebrated 15 years of raising new leaders in ground-breaking technology. 

All of these speak to the reputation of UNCG’s academics and research. The work of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry to increase its representation of professors and students helped UNCG earn its sixth consecutive Insight into Diversity’s Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) award. Thirty faculty made the coveted Stanford-Elsevier List for being among the most cited scientists in the world, based on data from nearly 35,000 peer-reviewed journals. 

Thanks to a landmark $5 million grant secured this year from the Mellon Foundation, hundreds of UNCG’s humanities students will receive paid internships at local non-profits beginning in Spring 2025.

Lead by Example

UNCG brought onboard new faculty with years of research and practical experiences to inspire their students. The College of Visual and Performing Arts added renowned artists such as Broadway performer Janinah Burnett and UNCG alumnus Hugh Hysell ’88 MFA

Staff went above and beyond to promote a welcoming and safe study environment for students. The work of Mahdi Fahim, director of research operations and environmental health and safety, garnered an award for JSNN. Biology research specialist Lee Griffin led by example while taking part in a popular PBS show about having respectful conversations amid disagreement. 

Faculty find engaging ways to give to the community. Public Health Education Associate Professor Mike Perko started the 500 Fist Bumps initiative to build self-esteem in children playing sports.

Engaged With the World Around Them 

Real-world impact begins before graduation at UNCG, and students jumped at the chance to work on projects with immediate results in the community. The School of Nursing put into gear the Minerva’s Mobile Health clinic, a place that can bring the care of students, faculty, and staff directly into underserved communities. Their new family nurse practitioner concentration will help more medical professionals realize their dreams. 

Thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, UNCG can lift another weight off the shoulders of students by providing free childcare to qualifying student-parents. Meanwhile, the School of Education worked closely with public schools to form a cohort of current educators studying for their master’s in library and information science, helping fill the need for dedicated library or media specialists in area schools. 

In the consumer, apparel, and retail studies department, students partnered with elementary students to design outfits for their morning news show. 

Since retirement, Professors Emeriti Ron Cassell and Keith Cushman keep members of the community coming back for more with their popular film course “The Profs Do the Movies.” 

Campus Enhancements 

Spartans got creative when it came to maximizing the physical campus space to improve the learning environment. UNCG launched Spartans Thrive to help them tap into wellness resources and prioritize all dimensions of physical and mental health. For a second year, they used iBelong grants for projects such as a fashion show with Native American-inspired clothing and create a special recognition of kindness on campus, all about making everyone feel more welcome at UNCG. 

The Spartan Recovery Program expanded, giving students who have been struggling with addiction more room to build a supportive network of peers and map out a plan to help them prevail through the stressful demands of college life. 

Interior architecture student Lisa Williams created a new sensory room, using artwork, aromatherapy, scarf swings, buttons, textured fabrics, and sound devices to create a place for her fellow Spartans to relax and focus. Welcoming efforts extend to wildlife, as UNCG became an affiliate of Bee Campus USA for creating a healthy habitat for pollinators. 

In Moran Commons, students refill their coffee cups and hang out at the new cafe at Fountain View or meet up at the community piano, the brainchild of one student to bring people together through music. 

On the Ball 

Spartans celebrated some impressive upsets in athletics. Men’s basketball triumphed over No. 14 Arkansas in their first Southeastern Conference win and their first win against a Top 25 team. The baseball team saw two wins against a ranked opponent, topping No. 1 Wake Forest 4-3 at home and NC State 18-3

Two coaches also hit milestones. Women’s basketball coach Trina Patterson saw her 300th career win in a match against Mercer, while softball Coach Janelle Breneman saw her 500th victory while her team swept in-state foe Elon in a doubleheader. Baseball Interim Head Coach Cody Ellis was named SoCon Coach of the Year

UNCG will celebrate some of its star alumni this summer, retiring the jerseys of basketball players Isaiah Miller and Francis Alonso, two of the most decorated players in program history.

Fun to be a Spartan 

The 2023-24 University Concert and Lecture Series continued to connect College of Visual and Performing Arts with professional artists and performers. One of those to hold a masterclass was acclaimed singer-songwriter Jewel

A Week at the G returned in October, in which campus staff, students, and faculty took photographs as they went about their days, capturing fun moments, slices of life, and campus beauty. 

UNCG also celebrated some of its traditions that bridge all generations of students. The Rawk turned 50 years old. It has stood in a central location on campus since it was gifted by the Alpha Phi Omega fraternity in 1973, where it has served as a community bulletin board to mark celebrations and awareness campaigns. 

Story by Janet Imrick, University Communications 
Photography by Sean Norona, David Lee Row, and Martin W. Kane, University Communications
Video by David Lee Row, University Communications

Students chatting in Moran Commons at UNCG.

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