Thursday, April 9, 2015

Introducing UNCW dubrai$er: Jason Walsh ’15

UNCW senior Jason Walsh has lived his college life to the fullest, engaging in a variety of extracurricular activities from club ice hockey to studying abroad in both Morocco and South Africa. But Walsh has participated in one activity that stands out from the others: the dubrai$ers program.

The “dubrai$ers” are a team of UNCW students who call alumni and parents of students to inform them of recent UNCW news and events and, most importantly, encourage them to participate in the university’s fundraising efforts. During his time on the dubrai$ers team, Walsh has personally raised more than $7,000 in gifts to the university, a very impressive number, as the average gift ranges from $25 to $50.

Walsh, who is double-majoring in environmental science and economics, plans to attend graduate school after graduation in May 2015. Later, he hopes to pursue a career in environmental evaluation for large businesses and companies. He feels that his time on the dubrai$ers team will serve him well in the professional world.

“This job has made me more confident with speaking to people in the science field,” he said. “I think that experience in fundraising will prove useful while asking for money for scientific projects.”

Walsh is very proud to be a dubrai$er, but also to be a student at UNCW, saying that this university provides him with a “hands-on learning experience” that he feels he couldn’t get elsewhere.

Gifts generated by the dubrai$ers provide funding for equipment and services across campus, including: supplies for student research projects; resources for student travel; textbooks for students in financial need; and scholarships for high-performing students.

Want to help the dubrai$ers make a difference at UNCW? Consider contributing to a scholarship or program that is meaningful to you. For more information, visit the Office of Annual Giving or call (910) 962-7613.

UNCW/Davis McKinney ’15

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Coming Home to UNCW

Homecoming earns its name because alumni want to come back to UNCW - their home. I have a few months left at UNCW before I’m an alumna myself but I still went to the alumni events during Homecoming.

I work in the University Advancement Office as the Digital Marketing Intern. With every event that I attended, I was playing the role of both student and staff. I was at the International Festival on Saturday as part of my women’s a cappella group the Seabelles (that's me, all the way on the left), but I was also there to take pictures for Alumni Relations.

This was my first Homecoming experience. I didn’t know what to expect but I quickly realized why so much work is put into Homecoming – it’s a ton of fun! Technically I was working, but it didn’t feel like it. When we were under the TEALgate tent immersed in music from the UNCW Pep Band and a crowd of smiling faces, I knew I was coming back next year as an alumna. There was no way I was going to miss the good food and drink, the awesome light show, cornhole, bounce houses, catching up with other alumni – well, you get the picture. As a soon-to-be-graduating senior, it’s comforting to know I’ll be coming home in a year to see old bosses, professors, and friends at reunion events and the TEALgate.

UNCW Advancement/Christine Schulze '15

Friday, February 20, 2015

Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients Honored at Homecoming

Left to right: Lt. Col. Robert Rideout Jr. ’95, Josh Vach ’87 and Ryan Crecelius ’06 

Lt. Col. Robert Rideout Jr. ’95, Ryan Crecelius ’06 and Josh Vach ’87 may have different backgrounds, but they share a common bond – a love for the University of North Carolina Wilmington and the distinction of being named distinguished alumni.

The three award recipients were honored during UNCW Homecoming held Feb. 13-14. Rideout, the 2015 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year; Crecelius, the Young Alumnus of the Year; and Vach, the Citizen of the Year, were nominated for these awards by fellow alumni and peers due to their achievements and contributions to their communities. Find out more about the recipients in WE ARE UNCW.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Introducing UNCW dubrai$er: Olivia Sadler ’15

When UNCW senior Olivia Sadler submitted an application to the dubrai$ers program in her sophomore year, she did not anticipate the experiences she’d create, or the benefits she would generate for her university.

As a dubrai$er, Sadler, 21, a Charlotte native and a communication studies major, calls numerous alumni and parents of students every week to share information about UNCW events and news. During these conversations, she updates alumni contact information and, most importantly, encourages everyone to participate in the university’s fundraising programs.

“Sometimes people can really open up to you when you’re on a call,” said Sadler, “but my favorite part about being a dubrai$er is speaking with alumni who are very passionate about UNCW. They are eager to give to and to help their university.”

Sadler shares this same passion about UNCW, especially for the faculty in the Department of Communications Studies.

“They really incorporate real-world applications into the education, and the faculty projects help set students up in the world,” she said.

When she is not working, Sadler enjoys attending concerts and plays. Sadler recently decided to take this hobby to the next level by getting an internship in event planning at the new Cape Fear Theatre located in downtown Wilmington. After graduating in May 2015, she hopes to continue with a career in event planning or enroll in graduate school.

According to Sadler, her time as a dubrai$er will serve her well in both graduate school and event planning.

In her three-year tenure as a dubrai$er, Sadler has raised more than $16,000, helping many UNCW departments and programs. These gifts were given in an average of $25-$50 amounts. Although the individual gift amounts are not large, their combined impact is meaningful. Gifts generated by the dubrai$ers provide funding for equipment and services across campus, including: supplies for student research projects; resources for student travel; textbooks for students in financial need; and scholarships for high-performing students.

Want to help the dubrai$ers make a difference at UNCW? Consider contributing to a scholarship or program that is meaningful to you. For more information, visit the Office of Annual Giving or call (910) 962-7613.

UNCW/Davis McKinney ’15

Monday, December 1, 2014

Alumnus Keeps It Personal, Shows How to Make a Difference

The Hawks for Hunger campaign has brought a heightened awareness to the staggering statistic that more than 22,000 children in the Cape Fear area are at risk of hunger. Long-time community advocate Daryl Dockery '06 is leading the fight to change this statistic, not only to feed these children, but to also nurture their minds.

Daryl opened the doors to Wilmington's Residential Adolescent Achievement Place (WRAAP) in 2005 and has been recognized for its community programs year after year. He measures WRAAP's success with test scores, evaluation interviews and other performance outcomes, like the distribution of 20,000 pounds of food last year with the help of the Food Bank of Central and Eastern N.C.

Photo credit:

Wilmington residents are fortunate to be enjoying the same coastal city the 20-year, non-profit veteran calls home. Daryl's passion for volunteer work and community activism has provided him with opportunities to partner with different local groups, as well as UNCW.

"His positive approach has brought UNCW faculty and students, business leaders, government officials, law enforcement officers and a variety of community volunteers together with children and families," shared Dr. Kathy Fox, Chair of the Department of Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle, Literacy and Special Education in the Watson College of Education (WCE).

Daryl currently serves as an WCE Advisory Board member, a group of community members sharing knowledge for the integration and future of WCE programs in our communities. He has also worked with the Cameron School of Business, piloting a Young Entrepreneurship Program.

Ken Smith, WRAL News Anchor (left) and Daryl Dockery '06 (right).
As the Hawks for Hunger campaign winds down and coordinators get ready for meal distribution, Daryl is focused on this opportunity to address, "some gaps in services that help benefit at-risk children and families." He's excited about WRAAP's role in the campaign, noting it's perfect fit with one of his principles of successful social entrepreneurship: "personal involvement is the key to academic and social change."

Friday, November 28, 2014

Seahawk Love: Creating a Legacy

Each step you take on UNCW’s campus showcases evidence of the generations of Seahawks who have created the student experience that the university provides today. When George Barnes ’82 remembers his own student days, he often thinks of his daily bike ride from his home off Rose Avenue.

In contrast to many students in their late teens and early 20s, Barnes shared his home with his bride, Leonora Barnes ’80. She completed her nursing degree prior to his attending UNCW. After his graduation, the couple used their education to propel their careers, giving them opportunities to move across the nation.

“I was really good at taking poor performing places and making them good,” recalls Barnes, a retired utility plant operations executive. It’s been four years since he’s worked, and his team’s record-breaking performance still hasn’t been matched.

The Cameron School of Business graduate quotes many professors on his path to success, and he recounts the text from tattered text-book pages that have helped shape his management style. His decades of experience could easily fill a book themselves, and it’s been more than once that he’s been asked to teach others what he knows.

However, Barnes prefers to give back and support our next generation in another way – a way that honors the woman who captured his heart and continues to hold it tight. The Wilmington Society member has created a legacy for Leonora at UNCW that echoes her passion.

“She was the most caring person I have ever known,” he said about Leonora, who passed away in May 2014.

George Barnes '82 shares memories and his plan for a new nursing scholarship.

Sitting across from Barnes, who has managed billion-dollar operations in the highly regulated utility industry, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with pride by his accomplishments. But when his face brightens talking about Leonora’s generous nature, it’s obvious who he’s most proud of.

He shares memories about Leonora, especially how she was always looking for a way to lend a hand to help others. She got a lot of personal satisfaction out of it, he says, and it’s likely the reason she pursued a degree in nursing at UNCW. “She did a lot. She always gravitated towards things that helped people,” Barnes recalls.

When asked if Leonora learned her hard-working ethic from his example, Barnes laughs and admits that influence is likely from her mother. He also remembers her devotion to their son Alex, and her willingness to pass up executive trips to take care of him, even personal tours of Germany, Leonora’s native country.

Now, she’s the reason that George is creating a new scholarship for nursing students. 

The new, endowed scholarship will provide $4,000 annually to a high-achieving student in need. As Barnes hopes, it will provide the hands-on experiences that Leonora wanted to support in the nursing program.

“The gift will allow our School of Nursing to recruit and retain an outstanding nursing student who will make a difference in the health and life quality of individuals, families and communities in southeastern North Carolina and beyond,” said Dr. Charles Hardy, Dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences.

Barnes has created a legacy for Leonora that will forever benefit nursing students at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

“They need it,” he says of the gift in his late wife’s honor. “They need it right now.”

Friday, November 21, 2014

Eradicating Poverty and Supporting Economic Growth: A Regional Sociologist’s Mission

Meeting an alumna with a track record of presenting to the U.S. Congress and N.C. General Assembly is awe-inspiring, especially when you consider the fact that her work has led to economic development partnerships that receive millions in support. But, when you spend a few minutes with Dr. Leslie Hossfeld ‘83, watching her smile and wave to familiar faces walking by, any nervousness quickly fades away.

Leslie’s friendly, collaborative approach to working with others is essential to her success as co-founder of the Southeastern North Carolina Food Systems Program (SENCFS), which connects farmers to local businesses and consumers through its nonprofit initiative, Feast Down East.

Her latest partnership is one that she hopes many alumni will join. Feast Down East has teamed up with University Advancement, UNCW Campus Dining, Wilmington’s Residential Adolescent Achievement Place and the Food Bank of Central & Eastern N.C. to sponsor Hawks for Hunger to provide a meal to a local family for each new donation received from UNCW alumni and students. The campaign fits perfectly with the nonprofit’s goal of ensuring “access to healthy, affordable food” for everyone.

Partnering with Hawks for Hunger was an offer Leslie Hossfeld '83 couldn't refuse.

Spearheading Feast Down East represents just one part of Leslie’s plans to improve the quality of life in Southeastern North Carolina. As professor and chair of the UNCW Department of Sociology and Criminology, she is leading campus efforts to eradicate poverty in the region. Leslie believes we all are stewards of our communities and leads by example as a Clocktower Society member, showing consecutive philanthropic support to UNCW for at least three consecutive years.

“I focus on 11 counties in Southeastern North Carolina, and I work with USDA Rural Development thinking about change mechanisms we can have for our region. We want a vision for what that change could be over the next 10-20 years. How can we help grow communities? The university is a big part of that,” Leslie said. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development provides financial support for economic development opportunities in rural areas.

One of her standout programs is the Community Campus at Hillcrest, where she has created a home base for the public sociology program through a partnership with the Wilmington Housing Authority. The program provides numerous service learning opportunities for students while also creating stronger connections between them and local residents.

“It gives me a lot of pride working with students who just jump into community work,” said Leslie.

“The students don’t come to a classroom on campus. It’s a two-semester program, so they have a year of working in the community.” She reflects on the impact these applied learning opportunities provide, citing how students often continue their studies and work in the same field. Feast Down East is another example of hands-on learning.

“[Students have] been involved in every aspect of this project. They are doing interviews, data analysis and planning and running programs,” she said.

Leslie still maintains a hands-on approach to addressing community social problems as she did during her work as a new graduate, teaching in South Africa during the apartheid era in the 80s and 90s.

Helping to shape her mission, Leslie is currently working on two books. One is a collaboration titled, “Food and Poverty,” and a second that will address the heritage of African-American agriculture in the Southeast. She also has inspiration from her decade-long project, Jobs for the Future Collaborative, which is currently conducting follow-up interviews with Robeson County residents on job losses due to the start of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).