Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Building UNCW's Culture of Philanthropy


Keith Fraser ’13, assistant director of annual giving, has the privilege of helping build a culture of philanthropy among the UNCW community.

“As a proud alumnus, I understand the importance of investing in UNCW,” he said. “Our investment in one another sends an important message to the Wilmington community, alumni and the state that we are accomplishing great things here.”

Prior to his current role, he served as a first-year admissions coordinator. While traveling and meeting prospective students and parents, he learned firsthand the importance of educational access and affordability for all students, regardless of their background or financial situation, which provides a rich context for his role in the Division for University Advancement.

“UNCW had a record-breaking year in fundraising. Nearly $15 million in gifts and commitments were made during 2015-16. Of those gifts made, 50 percent were less than $50. This is an incredible reminder that no gift is too small to make a big impact for our current and future students.”

Read more at We Are UNCW.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

An Adaptable Anchor in UNCW's Growth



In a way, some stately old trees found on the UNCW campus are a metaphor for Wesley Padgett’s outlook on life.

“Having grown up here, I have had the opportunity to watch the university change in so many ways, but one of the constants that has always provided me peace were the majestic live oaks that adorn this campus,” said Padgett ’04, a Wilmington native and networking specialist in the Information Technology Services department.


“Through time, trends, fashions and movements, those oaks have always reminded me to remain anchored but also be adaptive. They are truly a treasure to this campus and a constant reminder to me to try to be the best that I can be without being the focal point of attention.”

As an ITS employee whose job is to keep the university’s voice and cable infrastructures working, Padgett considers himself part of the “backdrop” of UNCW. On the other hand, his work allows him to connect with many people daily in all departments and functions.

Read more at We Are UNCW.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Increasing International Perspective with the Peace Corps


Serving as an education volunteer with the Peace Corps was a life-changing experience for Chris Cardona ’14. Not only did he immerse himself in a new culture, Chris also helped students in China build their confidence in speaking the English language.

Chris traveled to China after graduating from UNCW to teach English as a second language at a vocational high school in Wulong, China. For two years, he aided students in mastering English language competency and conversational skills while also serving as a mentor.

UNCW’s campus provided an atmosphere for meaningful conversations and to build genuine connections with professors, he added. “It’s also big enough that I could meet new interesting people every day. The growing international student population and the opportunity to study abroad made my experience enriching.”

Chris hopes to take what he learned from his Peace Corps experience to help youth in the North Carolina. 

Read more about Chris' story at We Are UNCW.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Changing Course & Paying it Forward


Cecil Reynolds ’75 had two desires as a youth – to attend the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis and to play professional baseball. In the summer of 1969, he had to choose between his two passions: He earned a presidential appointment to the Naval Academy and was drafted by the Mets.

Two weeks before Reynolds was to report for duty at Annapolis, he withdrew from the Naval Academy and signed with the Mets. After four years toiling in the minor leagues and making several all-star teams, Reynolds suffered a career-ending injury the year of his first major league contract, which set him on a new career path – research and child development.

It was a psychology course at UNCW that sparked his interest in the field, he recalled.

Today, Reynolds is a leader in the fields of school and educational psychology. He is a distinguished research scholar, and professor emeritus of educational psychology and neuroscience at Texas A&M University. He’s also the editor-in-chief of Archives of Scientific Psychology and associate editor of Journal of Pediatric Neuropsychology. He is the author of more than 300 scholarly publications and author or editor of 55 books.

Reynolds was named the 1984 UNCW Distinguished Alumnus of the Year and a 1998 UNCW Razor Walker Award recipient for his contributions to the field. In an effort to help future researchers pursue their passion, Reynolds endowed a scholarship honoring psychology professor Robert Brown, whom he described as an excellent teacher, mentor and lifelong friend.

“We want to support opportunities for post-secondary and graduate education where and when we can. One of our hopes is that by modelling such support by giving back and not just talking about it, others will be inspired to give back as well. Giving back creates a rising tide, and it is true, a rising tide lifts all boats.”

Read more at We Are UNCW.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Transfer, Temp to Full Time


In just six years, Lauren Auton ’12 has gone from a UNCW transfer student to a full-time staff member and graduate student at the university.

“I started out in the Office of the Dean of Students as a work-study student, became a temp after graduation and then a full-time staff member,” she says. She currently serves as the assistant for student conduct and community standards in that office.

Auton graduated with a degree in sociology and criminology and is currently working on a master’s in conflict management and resolution. She credits her education from UNCW for preparing her to work well with diverse populations – a big part of her role now.

Read more at We Are UNCW.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Artist Turned Administrator



Donna Moore ’81 already possessed artistic talent when she enrolled at UNCW, but she credits her time at the university with opening her eyes to art’s broad influence on humanity and society. Today, as director of the Museum School at the Cameron Art Museum, she helps others develop their own special relationship with art.

“I started my studies with a personal connection to art, but I graduated from UNCW with a strong awareness and commitment to the life-changing power the arts can bring to everyone, everywhere,” she said.

As a work-study student at UNCW, Moore was given the job of assisting legendary Wilmington artist Claude Howell in the art department. He was a demanding mentor, but she learned much from him.
Read more at We Are UNCW.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Wilmington College Reflections


Almost 50 years later, Shirley Zeznock recounts the story of the impact Wilmington had on her and husband Eugene ‘67. 

“In 1965, my husband Eugene and I moved our young family to Wilmington, North Carolina and settled on Harbor Island. Eugene planned to finish a bachelor degree in Accounting that he had starting working on years before at what was then known as Wilmington College, now UNC Wilmington. The original college buildings sat across from New Hanover High School on Market Street. At the time, Wilmington College only offered associate degrees and a large percentage of the student body was comprised of enlisted service men returning from the Korean War.

Our return to Wilmington was very exciting. We had previously lived in Wilmington in 1956 to 1957 and at that time I was a new Registered Nurse working the night shift at James Walker Hospital on Rankin Street.

During our second two years living back in Wilmington, 1965 to 1966, I had the best job ever at Babies Hospital. This children’s hospital originally opened in 1920 and was located on the banks of the Intracoastal Waterway just before the first bridge to Wrightsville Beach. I had returned to Wilmington as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) and was the sole anesthetist in the hospital. I previously had worked in a large and busy operating room so this new job felt almost like a vacation.

I lived five minutes from Babies Hospital. The daily schedule usually was finished by late morning and even though I was on standby six days a week for emergencies, I had lots of time to… take a few college courses. All the new-found free time gave me the opportunity to work with the Wilmington College Marine Biology department which was right next door to Babies Hospital. They were doing a wide range of studies that I found very interesting and they even had an adopted seal named Lucille on site.

We left after the Wilmington College graduation ceremony in 1967 for improved job opportunities near Philadelphia but throughout the years our connection to the area remained strong… and after our retirement in 1995, we permanently moved back to Wilmington. We still remember and cherish all the opportunities made possible for us here."