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.".

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