Monday, August 15, 2011

Family & Alumni Weekend 2011

Alumni of all ages, family and friends are invited to celebrate the UNCW experience on September 23 & 24! Make plans now to take advantage of hotel discounts and pre-registration benefits!

New for 2011, Wrightsville Beach will be swarming with teal on Saturday, September 24 at the UNCW Alumni Day at the Beach. Pack your blanket and cooler and come join us! Worried about parking? Pre-register to enjoy a convenient trolley ride. Guests will relax on the sand with games, snacks, refreshments and live jams from Sai Collins! Matt Glova '07 shares, "This is going to be one of most popular events of the weekend!  I have attended several alumni events at UNCW since I graduated and this is one that you will not want to miss!".

“I loved my time at UNCW." reflects Matt Hinnant '95. "As an alumnus, I have been jealous of friends from other universities who get together every season for a football game.  Well, now we have our chance!  We don’t have football, but we do have the BEACH! I plan to make this an annual tradition and hope my Seahawk friends will too."

During the weekend's festivities, two special groups will also be honored. On Saturday morning, the Golden Wing Society Reunion will be held for alumni who attended Wilmington College 50 or more years ago. They'll share stories as they savor a delicious brunch and then take part in trolley tours around campus, seeing the newest developments for current UNCW students.

Late in the afternoon, alumni whose families are making UNCW a tradition are invited to the annual Legacy Pinning Ceremony. Those who have a sibling, son, daughter, parent or grandparent who are attending UNCW this fall as a new student will treasure the heartfelt ceremony and opportunity to meet other Seahawk families.

The weekend's activities also include a Music Department Alumni Concert & Reception, Seahawk Athletics, Kayak Tours and more! Take a look at the full schedule and share the news with friends!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Growing with our University, Reflecting on 55 Years of Memories

Each fall during Family & Alumni Weekend, alumni who attended Wilmington College 50 or more years ago are invited back to campus to celebrate at the Golden Wing Society Reunion. During the brunch, alumni share stories and reminisce about days when the university was Wilmington College and held classes in the Isaac Bear building on Market Street. After relaying fond memories, the group enjoys a trolley tour of the campus as it stands today, nearly 650 beautiful acres on College Road.

Bettie Strickland '56 and her husband Tom '57, attended the event last year and look forward to the upcoming reunion in September. While they have such sweet memories of dances in Isaac Bear gym, where Bettie served as Social Chair, and cheering during basketball games with Coach Bill Brooks, the couple is proud of the university's progress. Since their graduation, the university moved and vastly expanded, integrated into the North Carolina state system for higher education, and became UNC Wilmington.

Bettie and Tom, who are Wilmington natives, bought their house in the Myrtle Grove area of Wilmington before the university's renowned Center for Marine Science was in existence. They love touring the neighboring facility almost as much as watching the developments to the main campus.

Reflecting, Bettie states, "...Shorthand and Typing with Dorothy Marshall, Biology with Zebrowski (known to us as Uncle Zeb), English Lit with Catherine Noyes, and also English with Shannon Morton - all played a huge part in giving us the skills we would need in our careers and life and bless us even today!". She used her experience to work as a legal secretary and then with Wachovia. Tom worked in the insurance field, first as a salesman, then manager and later as an instructor.

As they are now both retired, they enjoy attending the monthly Wilmington College luncheon at Jackson's BBQ, cheering on Seahawk athletes in Trask, and watching shows and plays in Kenan Auditorium. Bettie and Tom are excited to reconnect with fellow graduates from the class of 1961 and earlier, at the Golden Wing Society Reunion on September 24.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Bloodlines of Teal, the Seahawk Legacy

UNCW has become a tradition for many families. Sharing teal pride as UNCW imprints its legacy on their family. Each year, the alumni association invites freshmen and transfer students, along with a parent, grandparent or sibling who attended UNCW, to join us for the Legacy Pinning Ceremony to celebrate generations of Seahawks.

Among those we honored last year, Susan and Rachel Smyer have a twist on the traditional legacy. Rachel was able to experience the honor of pinning her mother, Susan, as her academic legacy. "I am her biological legacy. So getting to pin her as my academic legacy was an honor. She has always been there for me, no matter what and getting to honor her this way was a big deal not just for the two of us, but for the rest of our family as well."

Rachel Smyer '07 came to UNCW as a transfer student after attending community college. Like many students, she instantly fell in love with the university on her first visit. Rachel graduated with a degree in Communication Studies and now works with the Cape Fear Museum. "UNCW has been good to me, and I feel that it has helped me to grow monumentally as a person. Because of my experiences at UNCW I have learned to trust in my abilities. I studied abroad in Swansea, Wales and I am contemplating getting my Masters Degree in English at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland."

Soon after Rachel began classes, her mother, Susan, made the decision to extend her education and attend UNCW as well. "It took me 35 years to get from New Bern Senior High School to UNCW, but I got here." Through her professors and classmates, she learned that it is never too late to go back to school.  “I learned that knowledge is fun and began to see things from a different point of view.” In 2010, Susan graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in Communication Studies and has plans to work towards a master's degree in Liberal Studies.

The mother and daughter team enjoy visiting campus to watch movies at Lumina Theatre, having coffee with friends in Randall Library and attending alumni events to meet new people. Rachel adds, "Even though I have graduated, I still feel a part of the UNCW family.".

Monday, August 8, 2011

UNCW Alumni Saving Lives - One Organ at a Time

Ginger with the donation recipient.
Ginger DeLario '92 has had an opportunity not many of us experience; she saved a man's life. She had never met this man before, but could give him the one thing he needed to get his life back, a kidney.

Working at Carolina Donor Services (CDS) as the Clinical Education Coordinator, Ginger witnesses true human kindness everyday. "People face the worst tragedy of their lives, yet they are able to see past their pain and donate life to another human being in need. It is truly remarkable." With more than 111,000 people waiting for a transplant across the nation and 3,500 of them right here in North Carolina, the organization's plight is not an easy one.

Ginger was first employed by CDS as a Preservation Coordinator, working long hours and flying all over the country at a moment's notice. She later became an Organ Donation Coordinator who stays on-site at the hospital to medically manage donors and coordinate recovery. In her current role, she oversees employee training and continuing education.

A love for science brought Ginger to UNCW in 1988 to attain a degree in Biology. From there she went to graduate school at Duke University for Clinical Laboratory Science and later received her PhD from American University. "It's funny, when people ask me where I went to school, I always answer UNCW! My husband is perplexed why I don't say Duke or American, but he just doesn't understand... once a Seahawk, always a Seahawk! I still bleed teal after all these years."

Dawn Hall
A colleague at CDS, Dawn Hall '93, echos Ginger's sentiment to our coastal university. "I learned many life lessons from my four years on campus but one that rises to the top is not to take each day for granted." Dawn, who received her degree in English and Teacher Certification from UNCW, believes, "Each position I've held readied me to make the next step that led me to where I am right now. I'm inspired by the gift of life every single day and I'm so thankful that my professional journey led me to do the work I do.".

Working as the Director of Communications and Marketing, Dawn emphasizes the ability of donors to make a lasting impact through the precious gift of donation. "One organ donor can save up to eight lives and a single tissue donor can save or improve the quality of life for up to 50 people. The work we do is truly rewarding. [Donor's families] have told me so many times that donation was the one bright light in an otherwise dismal time in their lives. Knowing their loved one's legacy lives on gives them comfort."

Monday, August 1, 2011

UNCW Embraces New Leadership for the Alumni Association

The UNCW Alumni Association Board of Directors is an elected group of volunteers that help guide and advise the association. Their goal is to engage alumni in the life of our university.

Sandra with former AAGA President,
Lolita Bryant '04, '11M
We are proud to welcome the new leadership for the 2011-2012 fiscal year. Chair, Sandra McClammy '03, '09M, works as an on-air personality for Cumulus Broadcasting, recently taught at UNCW and is now an English Professor at Cape Fear Community College.  Vice Chair, Wallace West '63, is the owner and CEO of Coastal Carolina Streetscapes, LLC. Secretary, Lauren Scott '06, '10M, works at UNCW as the Assistant Director for First Year Admissions. Treasurer,  Jody Burke '85, is a Financial advisor and First Vice President- Investments for Wells Fargo.

Jody with Chelsea McNeil at
UNCW's Campaign Public Launch event

Julie and her husband, Chad, at
the Triad Chapter Fall Dinner
Another key component to the association is chapter and alumni group leadership. These leaders play a major role in keeping alumni informed and connected to others in their respective region or areas of study. The new chapter leaders are: Charlotte Area Alumni President, Robert Abbotts '85; Triad Area Alumni President, Julie Patterson Landon '02; Cape Fear Area Alumni President, Chrissy Coor '01; Cameron School of Business Chapter President, Kevin Fanning '02; and African American Graduate Association (AAGA) President, Linda Rawley '86. To see all the chapter leaders and other members of the board, take a look at the full alumni board list.