Page 1


asheville Volume 6, No. 1 FALL 2013


Dishing Up Original Research Students and faculty focus on cuisine and culture


50 Years of the Humanities p. 6 Secret Lives of Faculty p. 18 The New Coach on the Court p. 26

contents 11

Food for Thought What’s cooking in the liberal arts Undergraduates and faculty mentors dish up research to change the ways we eat. (Photo by Galen McGee ’08)



50 Years Through the Humanities UNC Asheville celebrates five decades of shared experiences.


The Secret Lives of Faculty A sailboat racer, a cake decorator and a harpsichord player—just to name a few.


From College to a Career Men’s basketball head coach Nick McDevitt knows what it takes to be a Bulldog.





ponderings This y ea r , U NC Ashev ille celebr ate s 50 y ea r s of our flagship Humanities Program, one of the foundational

John Pierce

distinctions that our graduates tell us, year after year, have


made a profound difference in the choices they have made for

Buffy Bagwell

their futures. To this day, we remain one of the few universities



that anchors the humanities at the core of our curriculum—at “The Heart of the Matter,” as the American Academy of Arts and Sciences titles their recent report on the subject.

Christine Riley University General Counsel

Lucien “Skip” Capone III

We have reached a time when the value of higher education has


become, at least in part, mea-


sured by our ability to contribute


to a healthier society. Our faculty

Nanette Johnson, Mary Ann Lawrence

members and undergraduate


student researchers have earned

Paul Clark, Aaron Dahlstrom ’09, Jon Elliston, Hannah Epperson ’11, Mike Gore, Amy Jessee, Steve Plever, Karen Shugart, Melissa Stanz, Rebecca Sulock ’00

national recognition for doing exactly that, winning the pres-


tigious 2013 William E. Bennett

David Allen ’13, Luke Bukoski, Perry Hebard, Galen McGee ’08, Matt Rose, Jameykay Young

Award for Extraordinary Contributions to Citizen Science from

UNC Asheville Magazine is published twice a year by UNC Asheville Communication and Marketing, with support from the UNC Asheville Foundation, to give alumni and friends an accurate, lively view of the university—its people, programs and initiatives. Contact us at

UNC ASHEVILLE ALUMNI OFFICE Associate Vice Chancellor for Alumni Relations

Kevan Frazier ’92

Address Changes Office of University Advancement & Alumni Giving CPO #1800 • UNC Asheville One University Heights • Asheville, NC 28804-8507 • 800.774.3381 UNC Asheville enrolls more than 3,700 full- and part-time students in more than 30 programs leading to the bachelor’s degree as well as the Master of Liberal Arts. The university is committed to equality of educational opportunity and does not discriminate against applicants, students or employees on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, disabling condition or sexual orientation. © UNC Asheville, November 2013

DEPARTMENTS 2 16 24 26 30 36

the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement. You’ll read about studies in the kitchen, in the campus gardens and in the classrooms, a seriously creative combination that’s changing the way we think about food and leading the way in entrepreneurship and practicality for the future. In this issue of UNC Asheville Magazine, you’ll also see another side of our faculty, as a few professors share their previously hidden talents, detailing how atmospheric sciences dovetails with sailboat racing on nearby Lake Julian and how chemistry can make the best cakes—expertly decorated, of course. We also introduce you to some extraordinary faculty who are helping to put UNC Asheville students on the map, such as International Studies Lecturer Jinhua Li and Associate Professor of New Media Lei Han, who led students on an interdisciplinary trip through China this summer. And you can catch up with Nick McDevitt, the first UNC Asheville alumnus to lead our men’s basketball team as head coach. You’ll also see a new side of the magazine, recently redesigned.


We’re sharing more stories from Around the Quad and filling


our pages with the content that keeps you connected to the uni-

L O N G I T U D E & L AT I T U D E

versity, the greater Asheville community and your classmates.

G O, B U L L D O G S !

With this new magazine, the stories do not end in these pages.


Look for links to web extras, the new News Center and behind-

O f f the Page

ON THE COVER: Lisa Riggsbee ’15 and Associate Professor Amy Lanou serve up their specialty—a healthy combination of food and facts—in the Teaching Kitchen. (Photo by Galen McGee ’08)

the-scenes videos. We also invite you to share your story in your own words. We look forward to hearing from you. —Chancellor Anne Ponder FA L L 2 0 1 3


Perry Hebard

news The B.F.A. in Jazz and Contemporary Music offers students the opportunity to perform in various professional-level ensembles.

First Degree UNC Asheville Debuts Two New Majors

UNC Asheville launched two new major programs this fall—the Bachelor of Arts in Art History and the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Jazz and Contemporary Music. Both gained approval from the UNC Board of Governors this past spring based on the strong curricula already built by the faculty and serious student interest in the subjects. “With the new B.F.A. program in Jazz and Contemporary Music, the students will be able to function as professional musicians,” says Music Department Chair and Professor Wayne Kirby. “With a variety of new ensembles, we’re preparing the students to do all kinds of gigs—musicians have to be able to play in many styles to be able to work consistently, and they need great sight-reading skills to do recording sessions.” The department has added faculty integral to Asheville’s hot new jazz scene, who are able to give the B.F.A. students experience performing in clubs.

The new Art History Program also links students to the art world off-campus, bringing in local curators and gallery owners to talk to classes, and through student internships in places like the Flood Gallery and the Asheville Art Museum. As an early example of their collaborative work, the Asheville Art Museum will feature an exhibit from January through May curated by Leisa Rundquist, associate professor of art history, with help from Katie Johnson ’13 and current students.“We have many art graduates already succeeding in the art history field, and the new degree should help open even more doors,” says Rundquist. “It signals to employers and to other universities that our program has a high standard—an intensity and academic rigor. Our students will go into graduate programs in art history and jobs ranging from library science to archival work and museum work, to journalism and art criticism— art history involves really solid writing and research skills.”

“We have many art graduates already succeeding in the art history field, and the new degree should help open even more doors” —Leisa Rundquist, associate professor of art history



A r o u n d the q uad

digital stacks Ramsey Library Makes Room for Electronic Resources One upside is that e-books on the schol- space for people, our priority has to be arly market are typically much less the students and faculty who use the expensive than paper copies, and with library and making sure they have a unlimited licenses, readers don’t have place where they can do their work.” to wait for others to finish a book before “borrowing” a copy. Another upside is “We’re in a time of rapid transition and that the full text of e-books is viewable it’s now accelerating,” she says. “What to search engines, but weeding through we used to see with journals becomthose search engines can still be coming electronic, is now happening with plicated. Students and faculty now books. E-books have taken off, certainly have round-the-clock online assistance in the popular market, and it’s affecting through NCknows, a statewide library the scholarly market now as well.” reference, and reference librarians also are ready to answer questions in person. The library now has a choice to purchase publications in print or elec“Any time you come, you’ll see the tronically, says Dunn, who had been library is full of people studying,” says library director at Guilford College and Dunn, “so we’re looking at how we before that, spent 11 years working at can make the limited space we have UNC-Chapel Hill. “The downside is more comfortable and accommodate there are people on both sides, but we more people.” can’t supply both because of limited resources, so we have to think strategiOne obvious answer is to eliminate cally about how to reach the most peosome of the stacks of paper books. ple. Sometimes it’s print, but more often “Electronic collections make a lot of Visit the library online at now, it’s electronic. We’re very quickly sense,” she says. “When space for moving into that realm.” physical books is in competition with

Jameykay Young

If you are reading this magazine in a digital edition, you aren’t alone, according to new University Librarian Leah Dunn, who is now in her second year at UNC Asheville.

Take Care Health and Counseling Center Expands Services and Space Students who return from winter break feeling the onset of cold season can find comfort in the expanded Health and Counseling Center, which will relocate from Weizenblatt Hall to 118 W.T. Weaver Boulevard this winter. “We’ll be able to expand our square footage, offer better services and add services, such as physical therapy and IV therapy,” said Director Jay Cutspec. “The benefit will be that students won’t need to go to urgent care as often, since we will be able to manage most of their care here. We’ll be on one floor instead of the current two floors and able to fully implement our integrative care model, as well as host events and groups in the large meeting space.”

The campus-contiguous building was formerly owned by the Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC), making it ideal for use as UNC Asheville’s Health and Counseling Center with only minor renovation. The university purchased the property in July for $3.95 million, using funds from the UNC Asheville Foundation and from student fees. The shared purchase also will encourage shared use of the space. The offices of University Advancement, including Alumni Relations, will move from Owen Hall to the second story of the building in 2014, welcoming graduates and friends of the university with plenty of parking and a healthy dose of cheer.

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Running the Board New Members and Chair Bring Experience and Enthusiasm The three Prather siblings graduated together in May 2010, and after serving on the National Parents Council, King Prather was appointed by the Board of Governors as a trustee in 2011. He was elected chair earlier this

Matt Rose

New Board of Trustees Chair N. King Prather first visited campus in 2004 when his son Nick was choosing a college. Nick enrolled here in 2005 and was soon joined on campus by his twin sisters, Rachel and Lindsey.

year. “I can’t put my finger on it,” says Prather, “but I notice an energy on and around campus...excitement, innovation, collaboration and a commitment to creativity that is engaging and addictive. I am excited to be a part of it.” Prather is senior vice president and general counsel of BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina. Kennon Briggs, appointed as a trustee last spring by the Board of Governors, got involved with the university three years ago as a part of the National Parents Council. His daughter, Kasey Briggs, is a junior and member of the Bulldog cross country and track and field teams. Kennon and his wife Kimberly are also avid runners—she is a marathoner and he runs half-marathons. Briggs also is serving on the Bulldogs’ Circle of Champions capital campaign. “I just felt like a member of the Bulldog family from the very beginning,” he says. Professionally, Briggs served the state’s community college system. Prior to his retiring in 2012, he was the system’s executive vice president and chief of staff, and was CFO for 11 years.

Kennon Briggs and his daughter, Kasey Briggs ’15, meet up at the Cross Country Carnival.



J.W. Davis¸ appointed to the Board of Trustees last spring

by Governor Pat McCrory, is an associate with Bison Investments. “My involvement with UNC Asheville began with my employer at the time, Carolina First,” says Davis. “Carolina First, now TD Bank, made a financial contribution to Pisgah House, the chancellor’s residence, and my wife and I began endowment scholarships for students.” Davis also served on the Foundation Board for six years, and says, “It has been very rewarding because I’ve gotten to know many students. Our university is truly molding our future leaders, and I am very proud to make a contribution.” Piyush Patel was appointed by former Governor Beverly Perdue to complete an unfinished term on the board and was reappointed last spring by Governor McCrory. An inventor who holds many patents, Patel is director of engineering at Qualcomm, and he is passionate about the importance of higher education and keeping it accessible. “Education is what attracted me to this country,” says Patel, a native of India. “Education is the equalizer in society. I feel very fortunate that I am able to be part of it. When you come here from abroad, you realize how unique the democracy is, how unique the system is.”

A r o u n d the q uad

Creating Community through the Arts This four-day festival from April 10–13, 2014, will cultivate creative and critical thinking, while also fostering community through participation and engagement with arts events and activities across the UNC Asheville campus. Local artists and alumni will be encouraged to share their talents and expertise, and area schools will be invited to participate in interactive arts activities for all ages and abilities. Save the dates and stay tuned for further developments and announcements of guest artists!




ARTS Fest Coming in 2014


Check for more details, dates and times. Arts Fest logo designed by Casey Puccio ’14

Bulldogs on bikes David Allen ’13

It’s Not a Circus Act, It’s a Transportation Celebration

Bulldogs love bicycles. That’s just a fact at UNC Asheville. So in August, the campus celebrated Bulldog Bicycle Bonanza, introducing students to the many bicycling resources in the Asheville area, including a new do-it-yourself bicycle repair station in front of Zeis Hall.

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through the

humanities Writ ten by amy jessee



U N C A s h e v i l l e c e l e b r at e s f i v e d e ca d e s o f s h a r e d E x p e r i e nc e s

Michael James, Campus Scenes


any freshmen enter UNC Asheville with some of the same questions: What will I major in? How will I talk to professors? Where will I find friends and fit in? What do I want to do after graduation? But by the time they sit down in their first required humanities course, they’ll share a few bigger questions that come to define their experience as undergraduates and as citizens of the world: What is the nature of the good life? How are we like—and how are we unlike—the people who built our cultures? What do we live for? UNC Asheville graduate Katie Rozycki ’07 measures the answers in cups of coffee, using a mug that sums up at least one Humanities Program director’s approach to the in-depth study required of the subject. “As a freshman at convocation, we received a coffee mug with a quote from Dr. (Peg) Downes. It said, ‘Liberal arts education: the freedom to ask questions and the courage to seek answers.’” Rozycki, along with the thousands of students who have completed humanities course requirements over the 50 years of

the program, continues to search for these answers by gaining an understanding of the past and celebrating the accomplishments of the program.

The Early Years

When the Humanities Program started at UNC Asheville in 1963, it joined a larger movement in the state and nation to break from the traditional methods that had divided academic disciplines. Philip Walker, now a professor emeritus of history, joined the faculty that same year and served on the committee tasked with the curriculum renovation. “In 1963, the word that we had was that the Asheville branch of the University of North Carolina would be something new and special,” he recalled. “The new faculty members were instructed to spend our first year working on a new curriculum, and there were several watch-words, widely bandied about, including experimental, interdisciplinary and integrative.” Faculty created six courses at then Asheville-Biltmore College and buildings were constructed to foster the shared experience.

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Lipinsky Hall, with its 600-seat auditorium, was dedicated in 1964, and Carmichael Humanities Building and the 300-seat Humanities Lecture Hall opened in 1966. Walker became the first director of the Humanities Program in 1970. “I always felt a sense of pride in the humanities because it seemed to be very successful, and it accomplished the sorts of things that we were concerned with in the beginning,” said Walker. “It got away from increasingly narrow specialization and avoided the problem that students were graduating without a broad enlightenment of the world they found themselves in.” Michael Gillum, professor emeritus of literature and language, led the Humanities Program from 1972–75 and 1979–82, describing the structure as similar to the current curriculum of four courses, but with more reading, due in part to a fifth course at the time. “Humanities director Robert Trullinger (who led the program from 1975–79) successfully moved to widen the reach of the program to include both faculty and materials from the natural and social sciences. This stabilized the base of support for humanities on campus and gave UNC Asheville the model that continues to flourish,” said Peg Downes, fifth and ninth director of the program and author of “The Humanities Program at UNC Asheville,” an article published in Alive at the Core by Michael Nelson & Associates (2000).

A Pedagogical Pause

During her tenure, Downes furthered the collaboration among interdisciplinary faculty, establishing weekly faculty meetings in 1983. These sessions, which are still held today, give faculty the opportunity to discuss the readings and establish a shared syllabus for the courses. “When I was hired in 1988, I felt confident in the history courses I was asked to teach,” said Bill Spellman, professor of history and director of the program from 2000–02. “But what gave me pause, what scared me really, was teaching in humanities because it asked me to go outside of my comfort zone. It was compounded by the fact that it’s team-taught, so you are teaching in front of your colleagues, but that is part of the genius of humanities. You have people from different disciplines who are all reading the same material, but we each view it through a slightly different lens.” As faculty from across the university became more involved in the program, they took a hands-on approach to the texts as well, creating custom readers that matched the unique curriculum and mission of the program, which is to help develop world citizens of broad perspective who think critically and creatively. Merritt Moseley, current chair of the Department of Literature and Language and director of the Humanities Program from 1989–92, created the first reader for the 200-level course, and he served as the general editor for the current 100-level reader.

Hu maniti es H i story H ig h lig ht s

1963 1964 1966 1970s 1984 Faculty-elected committee decided on a new general education program, resulting in six four-hour required courses called the Humanities.

Humanities Program began at AshevilleBiltmore College. Lipinsky Hall formally dedicated on February 17.

Oliver C. Carmichael Humanities Building and Humanities Lecture Hall formally opened on February 22.

Faculty widened reach of program by including material from natural and social sciences.

all ies Lecture H The Humanit ilding on campus bu was the first umanities a home. H e th e that gav

Chancellor Brown awarded special funding to the Humanities Program.

Humanities is the core of the core.

It’s something that students have in common. When they get to be seniors, no matter what they major in, they’ve read some Chinese poetry, some Shakespeare, and the Bhagavad Gita—there’s something to be said for having a shared culture.” — Merritt Moseley, director of the Humanities Program, 1989–92

“Humanities is the core of the core. It’s something that students have in common. When they get to be seniors, no matter what they major in, they’ve read some Chinese poetry, some Shakespeare, and the Bhagavad Gita—there’s something to be said for having a shared culture,” Moseley said. “It’s a long process that takes a text from the ancient world to something students can carry around in their backpacks,” said Grant Hardy, professor of history and current director of the Humanities Program. “I think they are curious at first. We take them through something that is very strange on their first reading in the Epic of Gilgamesh, and we show them that here they are talking about friendship or gender relations or about society and how to provide for a civil society. Those are questions that are still with us now. It’s amazing that a text that is more than 4,000 years old now is still applicable.” The curriculum and best practices were nationally recognized in the 1990s when UNC Asheville was one of nine “mentor col-

leges” selected by the Association of American Colleges and the National Endowment for the Humanities to help other colleges strengthen their core curricula. Downes, professor emeritus of literature and language, continues to consult internationally, sharing UNC Asheville’s experience and expertise in the humanities with colleges around the world.

A World View

Alumni carry the lessons of humanities courses beyond campus, discovering their applicability in near and far locations. History major Wes Morrison ’97 tested his knowledge and skills in 2004, serving as a company commander in the first Army National Guard Brigade to enter Iraq and again in 2009 when he was deployed to Iraq as the executive officer of the 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 120th Infantry. While on this second tour, he worked with the Iraqi Ministry of Antiquities to secure a 4,000-year-old Sumerian Era archaeological site near Baghdad.

1989 1990s 1991 1993 1995 Humanities Program 25th Anniversary! Reading for the Humanities 224 published; edited by Merritt Moseley.

Association of American Colleges & the National Endowment for the Humanities selected UNC Asheville to be one of nine “mentor colleges” to help other colleges strengthen their core curricula.

The Asheville Reader, Volume II: Humanities 214 published; edited by Peg Downes.

The Asheville Reader, Volume III: Humanities 224 published; edited by Merritt Moseley.

The Future and the Individual, 4th Edition published; edited by Mark West.

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The Contemporary World

“The Army taught me how to lead soldiers in combat and natural disasters, but UNC Asheville taught me how to think critThat interest in the individual becomes the central focus in ically, communicate and apply negotiation skills to address issues the capstone humanities course. of governance,” he said. “I drew from lectures on the history “It’s natural for people to be attracted to contemporary mateof Iraq, the Epic of Gilgamesh, leadership experience in SGA and rial, because it’s easier to see the relevance to their own lives,” more to prepare for being immersed in their culture.” said Grace Campbell, lecturer in humanities. “But what’s great Jessica Wallace ’08 applied her skill set before graduation. The about our program is that it emphasizes the continuities over double major in history and literature, who is now a Ph.D. canthe course of history, and it casts the contemporary material in a didate in American history at The Ohio State University, capped new light.” off her humanities courses with a service learning project. In that way, the humanities transcends its 50 years at UNC “We applied a lot of the themes and issues of the contemAsheville and centuries of human experience. It is the underporary world, from hearing lectures about poverty and energy standing of the past that illuminates the present, and in the case sustainability, multiculturalism and diversity,” she said. “We of this next decade, the future of humanity and humanities. could see these issues being played out in the third-grade class“We have a kind of versatility and adaptability in our program rooms where we completed our service learning as tutors. It to stay on the cutting edge of pedagogical development. We showed us that what we read about and study in school really work together as teams, and that cooperation makes it possible does matter in the larger world.” to harness new knowledge and new technology. We are going Mass communication major Rozycki, who still holds on to to lead in the digital humanities if we get the resources to do it,” her now-famous quote mug from faculty mentor Downes, also said Campbell, who developed a pilot course this past summer. values the humanities in her career as an annual giving manager Digital humanities, as the next frontier, involves the use of at Charlotte Latin School. digital technology to investigate questions in the humanities and “A key to my appreciation of it is my ability to relate to almost to communicate scholarship and ideas in digital form. anyone,” she said. “By studying so many facets of our history, “Whatever their professional passion—be it a chemist, a culture and the arts, I’ve been able to learn how to relate to peoweather forecaster, or an English teacher in high school— ple better, to figure out what makes them think, and to develop a graduates will have some sense of perspective,” said Spellman genuine interest in people.” “We are always asking questions about meaning in our lives, and humanities began that conversation for them, even if it didn’t always provide the final answers.” 4

1998 The Asheville Reader: The Medieval and Renaissance World published; editors Cynthia Ho, Sheryl Sawin and Bill Spellman.

2002–04 Four Asheville Readers published: The Individual in the Contemporary World; editors Grace Campbell, Michael Gillum, Dorothy Sulock and Mark West.

2008 2014 A new edition of The Asheville Reader: The Individual in the Contemporary World published; editors Grace Campbell and Reid Chapman.

Humanities Program turns 50!

The Medieval & Renaissance World; editors Cynthia Ho, John McClain, Sheryl Sawin and Bill Spellman. The Modern World; editors Ed Katz and Tracey Rizzo. The Ancient World; editors Brian Hook, Merritt Moseley and Kathleen Peters.



For the complete timeline, go to

food for thought What's cooking in the liberal arts “We all eat.” That seems obvious. But a statement like that at UNC Asheville isn’t going to be left without discussion. A subject as ubiquitous as food invites exploration from many angles—a perfect challenge for UNC Asheville students and faculty.

Written by Hannah Epperson ’11


eople think food is a narrow topic,” said Amy Lanou, associate professor of health and wellness. “But by the time you start thinking about the whole food system and all the aspects of the food system, from agriculture to marketing to consumption, it’s really a broad topic.” Research starts with how food is grown. How is it processed and prepared? How is it advertised, and how does that affect the culture of the consumers? For that matter, how does the culture affect the food? UNC Asheville students and faculty from environmental studies to literature and language are examining food and what food means to us—a journey that takes us from the tiniest chemical elements to far away countries and ancient times. It begins in the garden.

A Seed of an Idea

Above: Associate Professor Amy Lanou cooks up a healthy curriculum and meal in UNC Asheville's Teaching Kitchen in the Wilma M. Sherrill Center. (Photo by Galen McGee ’08) Below: Senior Emma Hutchens tends to the Rhoades Property Garden on campus. (Photo by Perry Hebard)



UNC Asheville has a community garden, and senior Emma Hutchens wants everyone to know about it. “The Rhoades property was purchased by UNC Asheville a few years ago,” Hutchens explained. “There is a functioning community garden there. The Rhoades Garden is there to serve the UNC Asheville community as well as the community that surrounds the campus.” The garden, managed mostly by the Student Environmental Center, flourishes with vegetables, herbs and annual plants. There are plans for growing perennials as well, such as berry bushes and fruit trees. It’s already buzzing with bee hives too. What the garden is missing, however, are students. “I noticed immediately that not many people know about it,” Hutchens said. “Is transportation a barrier? Is it that the garden’s not very visible, or does it need better signage?” So Hutchens is conducting an undergraduate research project to find the answers, with support from the Local Food Research Fellows program. The fellows program, part of a larger project led by Interdisciplinary Distinguished Professor of the Mountain South Leah Greden Mathews, is funded with support from the National Research Initiative of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture [USDA Grant #2012-6800630182]. Under the guidance of Kevin Moorhead, professor of environmental studies, Hutchens is creating and distributing a survey to determine what the community wants to get out of the garden, and how to get more students’ hands in the soil. “People in America right now are eating very badly,” Hutchens said. “We’re eating food that’s not nutritious, we’re losing heirloom varieties of plants, and there are people living in inner cities—and that’s including Asheville—who don’t have enough to eat.”

Appalachian residents displayed extreme sophistication in their knowledge of foodways systems, knowledge of preserving, canning techniques, exhibiting knowledge of nutrition.”

—Jessica Lewis ’14

Cooking Up Curiosity

“It’s like having a wet lab for chemistry,” Lanou explained. “You can talk about principles until you’re blue in the face, but until you’ve actually mixed vinegar and baking soda, you don’t know what it does.” That same approach works with healthy cooking. The Teaching Kitchen, which has been host to a variety of organizations and courses for the Asheville community, will feature a Senior Jessica Lewis turned to canned goods and cookbooks to UNC Asheville academic course for the first time this semester. research Appalachian foodways. (Photo by Luke Bukoski) “They’re going to be learning healthy eating principles,” Lanou said. “Not just how to cook, but the history of the food culture.” Hutchens sees access to community gardens as a step And the Teaching Kitchen isn’t the only lab that’s focused on toward solving those problems. She also is helping Moorhead food. In her “Food of Chemistry” course, Sally Wasileski helps teach an agricultural systems class, which brings students into students overcome their fear of chemistry with ice cream. the garden once a week. “We’re trying to relate basic chemistry principles that we “If I can get students to grow food for the rest of their lives, would teach in a general chemistry course here, but give examI’ll feel like I’ve accomplished something,” Moorhead said. “It ples of that through food,” the associate professor of chemistry could be as simple as a tomato plant.” explained. “So if someone wants to describe the difference The 18 students in the class are currently planting a fall between a chemical change and a physical change, well, a physgarden in raised beds and preparing additional beds for the ical change is making ice cream.” spring. The garden also is fertile ground for scientific research. Turning something from a liquid to a solid, like freezing ice Page Johnston, a senior environmental studies student who is cream, is one delicious physical change. And that’s just the first also a Local Food Research Fellow, is comparing the effects of day of class. different fertilizers on her vegetable yield, including a special “For every topic, we do some different examples. We make organic fertilizer called “biochar.” truffles, we bake cookies, we make angel food cake, we make Johnston hopes her research will help future UNC Asheville mayonnaise and butter. We learn different chemistry principles students use the space in the garden effectively. Ryan Rosemond, and how they manifest in these different foods.” also a senior environmental studies major, and the student manager of the garden, hopes it will “capture the imagination A Healthy Helping of Research of students,” and encourage them to explore the opportunities Food, of course, is more than just the elements that create it. the garden can provide them. Across the Quad from the chemistry lab, in the department of The food grown by this class doesn’t need to travel far. It will literature and language, senior Jessica Lewis is taking a closer go across campus to UNC Asheville’s Teaching Kitchen, to the look at the cultural significance of food, particularly the signifistudents in Lanou’s “Foodways in History and Culture” class. cance of cornbread in Appalachia.

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Katie Borders, Cassi Sorrell, Kamren Kowa and Alex Ray, who traveled abroad to Greece and Turkey over the summer, come together for a reunion meal, sharing memories and recipes. (Photo by Luke Bukoski)

“Food is a very intimate thing,” Lewis said. “One item of “What I saw was a complete and utter discrepancy between food says a lot about your class: how much time you have to the perceptions of Appalachian residents’ knowledge and put into it, how many resources you have to put into it, what their actual knowledge,” she said. “In the oral history reports, kind of tools you need to make it. Appalachian residents displayed extreme sophistication in their “It says a lot about the society from which you came, how knowledge of foodways systems, knowledge of preserving, that came to be,” Lewis continued. “For instance, cornbread canning techniques, exhibiting knowledge of nutrition—all of occurred from ethnic mixing, though not very peaceable, of which were things that missionaries targeted in need of reform African Americans and Native Americans and European descen- in the missionary publications.” dants existing together.” Lewis found contemporary examples of this disconnect As foodways scholar Elizabeth Engelhardt explains in her as well, including a travel show that featured Appalachia as research, missionaries who were sent to Appalachia to bring an exotic cuisine location, similar to other episodes exploring reforms in health and education targeted corn, what they saw foreign countries such as Cambodia and India. But she also is as savage and unrefined, to be replaced with wheat—cornbread finding more recent instances of Appalachian people having a to be replaced with biscuits. voice in representing their own food culture. “A lot of it had to do with class, and how much money you “What’s interesting is that, at least in cookbooks, there is a had,” said Erica Abrams Locklear, associate professor of literreclamation of these foods that were demonized,” Lewis said. ature and Lewis’ research adviser. Paraphrasing Engelhardt’s “There’s this sort of active agency for Appalachian people to work, Abrams Locklear stated, “You could grow your own speak up and say, ‘this is our food, and we’re proud of it.’” corn, but wheat is much more difficult to grow in Appalachia, Tasting History so you generally have to import it. You can bake cornbread in Understanding the foodways of a place also can be a great an iron skillet over a fire or you can bury the Dutch oven in the coals, but to make beaten biscuits you actually need a stove, introduction to international cultures. As Lewis was learning about local culture through food this summer, students in the you need a marble slab, you need labor, you have to have more “Foodways of the Mediterranean” study abroad course were economic capital.” delving into the culture and cuisine of Turkey and Greece. It Through her USDA-funded research, Lewis studied countwas the perfect way to connect not only to a foreign culture less cookbooks, missionary publications and oral histories of during their trip, but also to ancient history. Appalachian residents, and made an interesting discovery.



“Food has always been part of the fabric of life,” said Lanou, who taught the course as one of three classes offered during the trip. “It’s another one of those nice connections to history. So many of the foods we ate then and were available then are foods we still eat. That’s a really easy connector for folks to Mycenaean times or ancient Greek times or Roman, across the centuries.” “I specifically remember when we were in Greece, seeing the barley and wheat growing,” said Lisa Riggsbee, a junior health and wellness promotion major. “Amy (Lanou) would pick it and say, this is what it looks like, and it’s still growing here, just like it did a bajillion years ago.” “We would go to these sites and there would be fig trees and olive trees,” added Andrew Sparks, a junior mathematics major. The students picked lemons outside their hotel, or adventurously sampled shark and octopus—tentacles and all. The students cooked three meals together as a group: the first in the Teaching Kitchen at UNC Asheville before their travels began, a second on the island of Lesvos in Greece, and

a final Mediterranean potluck and mini-reunion when they returned to Asheville. The potluck gave the students a chance to reminisce about their adventures together while sharing some of the food they had learned to make—spanakopita, zucchini fritters, Santorinian salad—and the chance to talk about the research they conducted once they got home. For example, Sparks focused his research on the military city-state of Sparta. “At that time exotic foods and spices were considered luxuries, and effeminate,” he said. “And in a military state like Sparta, anything effeminate was looked down upon. So, pretty much you had to eat disgusting food, like black broth.” Fortunately, students found the overall experience more appetizing, and back on campus they can still sample a piece of the experience in the Ancient Garden, located near New Hall, where just outside of their classes they can pick grapes and blueberries. It rounds out a food journey that took them to kitchens and dinner tables halfway across the world and finally found them back home, in the garden. 4


“Food for Thought” Cluster Wins National Award The faculty team behind “Food for Thought,” UNC Asheville’s interdisciplinary course cluster exploring issues related to food production and consumption, has been named the winner of the 2013 William E. Bennett Award for Extraordinary Contributions to Citizen Science from the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement. The award-winning faculty team consists of:

• Sally Wasileski, associate professor of chemistry

• Karin Peterson, chair and professor of sociology

• Amy Lanou, Sara and Joseph Breman

Professor of Social Relations and associate professor of health and wellness

• Leah Greden Mathews, Interdisciplinary Distinguished Professor of the Mountain South and professor of economics

• David Clarke, associate professor of biology

• Jason Wingert, assistant professor of health and wellness

• Ellen Bailey, lecturer of French and Spanish

Courses in the cluster include the biology class “Plants and Humans,” “Food Politics and Nutrition Policy” in health and wellness, and “Elementary Spanish for Health Professions,” among many others. Dig into more details at magazine.unca. edu/FoodForThought

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Virtual Certainty By Steve Plever

luke bukoski

New Media Project Gives New Insight into Historic Event There are only six known photographs of the events at the Gettysburg cemetery taken on the day Abraham Lincoln delivered his famed address in 1863. So Assistant Professor of New Media Christopher Oakley and his students in their continuing work on The Virtual Lincoln Project expanded their research to look closely at those photos with a goal of setting a more realistic scene for their 3-D animation of the 16th president. The photos show the actual setting at Gettysburg, and with his discerning eye, Oakley found an additional rare surprise—what many experts believe is the president himself where he had not been previously identified. Smithsonian magazine says Oakley has made “the most significant, if not the most provocative, Abraham Lincoln photo find of the last 60 years.” “I was looking at Seward [Lincoln’s Secretary of State] in the picture, and I was not looking for Lincoln at all,” said Oakley. “As an animator, I’m trained to look at and study movement. And in the first of Alexander Gardner’s photos, I could see Seward from the side, and I knew who was around him. And in

Christopher Oakely (far right) and the students working on The Virtual Lincoln Project made several discoveries about the 16th president in their two years of animation work.

the second Gardner photo, someone new had entered. My eye drifted to him, and it hit me. I jumped up saying ‘No way—it can’t be!’ I’ve been staring at Lincoln’s face for decades, and that night at 3 a.m., he looked back.” Oakley’s fascination with Lincoln started in kindergarten and has only grown stronger. He has collected life casts of the late president’s face that his students now use as models for The Virtual Lincoln Project. And he’s visited Gettysburg several times, taking students along for the adventure on a recent trip.

“Christopher Oakley...stumbled upon what looks to be the most significant, if not the most provocative, Abraham Lincoln photo find of the last 60 years.” — Smithsonian magazine



“It was a unique experience because we were making all these things [virtually] that we hadn’t seen with our own eyes besides the pictures online,” said Hagen Carringer, a senior new media student. “Then when you’re actually there and see how similar it is…when you’re standing right where Lincoln stood, allegedly, it all just comes together.” Allegedly becomes the key word in their research because of the sometimes inaccurate accounts of the scene. The UNC Asheville researchers recently added a few of their own corrections to the chronicle. They have demonstrated that there were two speaker platforms at Gettysburg, not one, and that the seats were in curved, auditorium-style rows, not straight lines as previously depicted. The new sighting of Lincoln


Oakley obtained a scan of the Alexander Gardner image, which allowed him to zoom in on the fuzzy figure of Lincoln. He overlaid a known image of the president to confirm the identification. Photo credit: Alexander Gardner, November 19, 1863. Dedication ceremonies at the Soldiers’ National cemetery, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division ID: LC-DIG-ds04063u. Graphic by 5W infographics.

in one of the photographs remains the most contested discovery. That’s because other scholars already had claimed to establish that a different man in the same photo was Lincoln, and that claim had landed them on the front page of USA Today only six years ago. After spying Lincoln’s admittedly fuzzy profile in the ‘wrong’ place, Oakley did what he calls a “historian’s happy dance.” And in the months that followed, he employed his deep knowledge of Lincoln, and the high-tech tools of new media, computer science and physics to make a case that has convinced many leading scholars of Civil War photography and brought media attention from USA Today, the New York Times and the History Channel.

Students like Carringer believe that Oakley has the real Lincoln, having seen his evidence and based on their own intimacy with Honest Abe. “We’re constantly having to look at him from a 3-D perspective from all angles, and his profile is so distinct,” he said. “It is spot on.” But Oakley wants more scientific corroboration. “The next piece is to go back to the cemetery and go old school—to take everything we’ve learned with our new media technology, our science, and go test it with props and sets, the camera equipment of the time and see if we can re-create that moment and those photos,” he said. “That will tell us if we’re right or wrong.”

To find the latest news and photos from The Virtual Lincoln Project, go to

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Written by Jon Elliston • Photos by Luke Bukoski



Teaching doesn’t leave a lot of time for offcampus interests, but some UNC Asheville faculty members still find ways to pursue their personal preoccupations. Here are the stories of five professors whose hobbies and sideline specialties might surprise you.

the Cake Creator

When Sally Wasileski, an associate professor of chemistry, finished her Ph.D. nine years ago, she was sorely in need of a break from the rigors of academia. “Graduate school was so intense, so I went looking for a creative outlet,” she remembers. Wasileski found that outlet in cake decorating. After taking a class at a craft store, where she learned the basic techniques, she’s spent years experimenting and perfecting her frosted creations. “Cake decorating allows me to be very detail-oriented, which I like,” says Wasileski, who rarely makes the same cake design twice. “It’s a fun challenge for me.” Some of her designs are nothing if not challenging. For a friend’s recent wedding, for example, she crafted a cake resembling a stack of antique books. It took her about 15 hours, she estimates, and she even brushed gold paint-looking food coloring on the edges of the “pages.” Then there was a recent birthday cake for Wasileski’s 4-yearold daughter, who loves airplanes: It was shaped like a 747. Another was shaped like a teapot, and another like a xylophone. “To me it’s about finding an inspiration—whether it’s my own or something that someone who I care about wants,” she says. Asked if there’s any crossover between her university work and her passion for cakes, Wasileski quickly responds in the affirmative. “As a chemist, I’m very interested in the chemical properties and the chemistry going on in cooking and baking, and I think that knowledge allows me to experiment a little more” she says. And that’s not all: “I teach a chemistry course for non-science majors based on the science of food,” she notes. “We make angel food cake, because that’s an example of protein interactions and how proteins unfold and bond with each other.” Science aside, Wasileski stresses another important aspect of her cakes. “Sure, a cake needs to be structurally sound,” she says, “but it also needs to taste really, really good.

See more of Wasileski’s cakes and a behind-the-scenes video at

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“A lot of people I race against think I have secret knowledge that helps me to do well.” —Chris Hennon



the Home Brewer

“Of course, Asheville is a great beer town—so there’s no great need for me to make my own,” notes Classics Professor Sophie Mills. “There’s obviously some other need that I have that this satisfies.” Mills started brewing four years ago, after taking a course at Hops & Vines in West Asheville. Now she makes her own beer in five-gallon batches at what she calls a “nanobrewery” in her home. “It’s huge fun, and very different from what I do for work,” says Mills, the current NEH Distinguished Professor in the Humanities. “I spend my days looking at texts and thinking about language and culture—it’s quite a mental occupation. Brewing is very physical, very hands on. And you know, the yeast takes the time that it takes—you can’t rush it, and it will be fermented when it’s done. So it’s a good sort of corrective to the other things in life that I have to rush through.” Mills dubbed her beer-making operation The Five Felines, in homage to her five cats. “I name all the brews after the cats, so there’s Titus’ Tipple, Old Sour Puss, and Black Cat Porter,” she says. “I make a lovely, dark coffee porter, which is named after the rear end of one of my cats: It’s called Furry Buttocks.” While Mills enjoys the making (and the drinking) of the beers, she’s also grown fond of sharing them with friends. I give my beer away a lot,” she says. “And it’s very nice when people come over to the house and sometimes specifically ask for one that I’ve made.”

the Sailboat Racer

Perhaps it’s only fitting that Chris Hennon, an associate professor of atmospheric sciences, would love a sport that depends on gusts of wind. But the story of how he got into sailboat racing begins with affection of another sort. “I met my wife, Paula, in grad school,” Hennon explains. “I had never even been around a boat or sailed before, but she was really into racing. And she basically said, ‘If you want to go out with me, you need to learn how to race a sailboat.’” And so he did. “I was scared at first, but she taught me everything about how to sail and how to race a boat,” Hennon says. “And it pretty much snowballed from there.” Now, the two are competitive racers who can be regularly spotted tacking across Lake Julian in one of their three small boats. They’re active members of the Asheville Sailing Club, where Hennon is the “vice commodore,” or second-in-command. He also was recently appointed president of the national association of Jet-14 sailboat racers. Hennon says he loves the spirit of competition at races, but sailing also serves as a kind of anchor for his marriage. “That’s where our leisure activities overlap the most,” he says. “Sailing is where we intersect, and I think that’s really important, to have something in your relationship that you like to do together.” You might wonder, does Hennon’s knowledge of atmospheric sciences give him a leg up on the lake? “You would think I might have an advantage because I study the weather and the wind,” he says. “A lot of people I race against think I have secret knowledge that helps me to do well. But I don’t find that it helps much at all.” The mountain-area winds, he says, are just too unpredictable, even for a seasoned meteorologist.

“It’s a good sort of corrective to other things in life that I have to rush through.” —Sophie Mills

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the Dancer &


“Everything feeds making dances, because you’re making dances about the human experience.” —Ann Dunn



Humanities Lecturer Ann Dunn is teaching four classes this semester, to a total of about 100 students. On “the side,” she directs the Asheville Ballet and owns the Asheville Academy of Ballet and Contemporary Dance. And then there are her family obligations, which include helping to care for her five children and 10 grandchildren. “I live in two different worlds, actually, more than that,” Dunn says. “The main two worlds are dance and academia, and I’m very committed to and involved in both. It’s not like one is a hobby and the other one isn’t.” How does she do it all? To begin with, “I get up early in the morning,” Dunn says. The first half of her day is immersed in the university. Then, she heads home for lunch—and a Sudoku puzzle and quick nap to clear her head. Then she shifts to her dance duties, which include teaching classes and choreographing and producing old and new works. Dunn is quick to say she gets lots of help on that dance side. “I have a huge support system at the ballet,” she says. “There are many days when I do not even go to the studio.” The real secret, she says, is noticing how her two worlds intersect and complement each other. “I would almost not divide the areas of experience in my life,” Dunn explains. “I have to divide them in the scheduling of my days, but it’s not a matter of being spread too thin, it’s a question of how can I cram in another thing that’s so exciting to me. And these things feed each other: Everything feeds making dances, because you’re making dances about the human experience.” Dunn’s students, she says, are usually surprised to find that she has a specialty outside of teaching the humanities. “But they’re surprised in a nice way,” she notes. “They realize, ‘Oh, she’s not just trying to open my head up and stuff information into it. She’s doing something with her own life, too.’”

“Reading Bach is like reading the most difficult Shakespeare you can imagine.” —Blake Hobby

the Baroque Musician

When Blake Hobby, an associate professor of literature, took a job at UNC Asheville in 2003, he was stunned to run into Charles McKnight, an associate professor of music. That’s because McKnight had taught Hobby music history and theory decades prior, when Hobby was a music major at Stetson University in Deland, Fla. “I had no idea we’d wind up teaching at the same university,” Hobby recalls. They wound up doing even more than that: Six years ago, Hobby and McKnight, along with fellow musician Gail Ann Schroeder, formed the Asheville Baroque Trio. The ensemble plays 18th-century music, with Hobby on the harpsichord, McKnight on the recorder, and Schroeder playing the viola da gamba, a bowed string instrument with frets. “To return to playing with someone after many years, it’s a

strange and neat experience, and a reminder of what goes into a great student-teacher relationship.” And while Hobby teaches literature, not music, he says there’s plenty of connection between the two disciplines. “For whatever reason, people who are really good with music are usually very good with language,” he says. “It’s the reading thing and the concentration thing. For example, I opened the concert the other night with a 10-minute Bach piece. Reading Bach is like reading the most difficult Shakespeare you can imagine.” The trio performs at various venues in and around Asheville, but “our favorite place to play is on campus, where we’ve had a growing audience,” Hobby says. Attendance at the trio’s occasional on-campus performances, which used to draw about 30 people, is now up to about 100. 4 FA L L 2 0 1 3


L ON G IT UD E & latitude

A country of study China Trip Connects Students Across the World When UNC Asheville students traveled abroad this summer on the first faculty-led trip to China, they found themselves the focus of study as much as the subjects on their syllabus and undergraduate research projects. Shelby Vecchio ’14 studied the architecture in each of the four cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Ha’erbin and Xi’an. Comparing the landscapes and cityscapes, the new media major was struck by the disparity in the places

they visited—shacks and subsidized housing cheek to jowl with skyscrapers. Nonetheless, Xi’an and Ha’erbin reminded her of Charlotte or Atlanta. “I honestly didn’t expect to see so much tourism and so many places that reminded me of the U.S.,” Vecchio, from Lawrenceville, Ga., said. Still, she definitely felt like she wasn’t in Asheville any more. “I got a lot of looks and double takes. People would stop and take pictures of me, because it was obvious I was from another country,” she said. The experience gave her a sense of what it’s like to be stereotyped because of nationality. Justine Reid ’14 noticed what women were wearing, as part of her undergraduate research examining the verbal and nonverbal ways that China communicates with itself and the outside world. Observing the bold colors and stylish clothes that young, rural Chinese wore to historic sites, Reid noted that Chinese women in their dress exemplify the new China, rushing to catch the modern world as the old China disappears.

Senior Shelby Vecchio learns to write “beautiful tree” in Chinese.

But the study abroad was about more than observations. As part of the Asian Studies and International Studies Programs’ efforts to globalize the UNC Asheville campus, the experience gave students the opportunity to learn aspects of Chinese language, culture and

“A liberal arts education teaches students to be lifelong learners, to constantly seek new knowledge...” —Lei Han, associate professor and director of new media



By Paul Clark

society that they can apply to their academics and careers. “China is becoming an indispensable part of the world now,” said Jinhua Li, lecturer in international studies and director of the Study Abroad to China trip in summer 2013. “Our students gain an in-depth understanding of the country and culture through their engaged individual research projects, and then obtain a unique perspective as cultural explorers and ambassadors, which connects them to the larger world.” That’s part of the reason why UNC Asheville students choose to study abroad. The three-week trip was organized and led by Li and facilitated by Lei Han, associate professor and director of new media. The 11 students, many of whom had never been out of the country, met May 13 for a one-week program on campus before leaving for the international experience. They received six credit hours for two courses—Exploring China and New Media (INTS 376/NM 376). UNC Asheville has study abroad programs in more than two dozen countries. Studying in another country, whether for a few weeks or a semester or two, gives students new perspectives and dovetails perfectly with UNC Asheville’s liberal arts orientation, Han said. The liberal arts and sciences are all about drawing upon a wide variety of studies and experiences to think critically and creatively. Travel is an excellent way to augment and appreciate classes that students have taken in fields that include language, business and culture.

L ON G IT UD E & latitude

Associate Professor Lei Han (far left) and Lecturer Jinhua Li (far right) led the students on a tour to the “Bird’s Nest” stadium in Beijing, designed for the 2008 Olympics.

“A liberal arts education teaches students to be lifelong learners, to constantly seek new knowledge and experience,” said Han. “Study abroad in China enhances our students’ ability to become global citizens. It prepares our students for vocation and employment in the global economy.”

UNC Asheville students learned. From talking to her students later, Li knew that they had been changed by the discussion, as well as by the overall trip. Not only did they understand more about Chinese culture; they also realized how lucky they are.

The peer-to-peer experience was particularly beneficial. Students get a perspective from other students that they can’t get anywhere else, so Han and Li made sure the UNC Asheville students spent lots of time with their peers at Xi’an University of Posts & Telecommunications and Harbin Normal University.

“There’s nothing like going to a different continent to make you think about your own culture,” Reid, a Hendersonville native, said. “For a lot of Americans who haven’t left the country, it’s hard to realize how much of the things you think about and do are the result of your culture. You think everyone thinks the way you do. When you go to a different country, it shows you a lot about who you are.”

Li recalls listening in on a conversation between a small group of UNC Asheville and Chinese students. They were talking about education and job prospects in China and in the U.S. Traveling abroad and pursuing a liberal arts education isn’t possible for most Chinese students, the

For more information about study abroad and study away, go to

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G O , B U L L DO G S !

From college to a career Nick McDevitt Leads the Bulldogs as Men’s Basketball Head Coach It’s been a big year for Nick McDevitt ’01. The new Bulldogs head men’s basketball coach earned that position last April. He did that while leading the team after former coach Eddie Biedenbach resigned after 19 years. And oh yes, he also got married. He will quickly tell you that getting married is the most important thing that’s happened in his life so far this year— and that’s indicative of his core values. For Coach McDevitt, faith and family come first, but make no mistake, this coach will win many games—he’s got his eye set on another Big South Conference championship. However, he’s equally focused on helping his young men grow and learn.

“A lot of people have dream jobs, and this is his dream, the job he wanted. It’s nice to see it work out.” —Mike Gore, Associate Athletics Director

“To me, our biggest win comes on graduation day, seeing our seniors get their degrees,” he said. “As important, we want to foster all our team members, helping them mature into fine men through the game of basketball.”

He knows that process well, having started as a student-athlete at UNC Asheville before graduating into his coaching role.

Practice and Progress Director of Athletics Janet Cone has known McDevitt for many years. When she was coaching basketball at Mars



By Melissa Stanz

Hill College, she watched his progress as a high school athlete, and as a UNC Asheville basketball team member. “He is a man of great integrity, with a great, supportive family,” she explained. “As a servant leader he does what he needs to help others. When he speaks publicly, he begins by talking about the university, then the athletics department, the men’s basketball program, and then, reluctantly, himself. It’s never about him, it’s about us, the university.” Longtime UNC Asheville Associate Athletics Director Mike Gore also has known McDevitt many years. He remembers being one of McDevitt’s camp counselors at the UNC Asheville basketball camp. “It’s been fun watching Nick grow into this job,” he said. “He was always well mannered and classy, and he still is. A lot of people have dream jobs, and this is his dream, the job he wanted. It’s nice to see it work out.”

Coaching Legacy Coach McDevitt grew up in Marshall, N.C., only 30 minutes from Asheville. He played basketball, baseball and football until high school when basketball became his focus. He had a lot of family help— from his dad, Wayne McDevitt (former chief of staff for Gov. James B. Hunt), to his uncle Ricky McDevitt, who coached the girl’s varsity team at Madison County High School at that time.

G O , B U L L DO G S !

“My dad was with me all the way from youth-league basketball from age 5–13, coaching and mentoring me, and Uncle Ricky helped me a lot too. I think my whole family knew I had a career in sports because I could calculate point differentials as a very young kid, before I could even do math!” Family ties to UNC Asheville run deep in the McDevitt family. Nick’s father, uncle and sister are all alumni. His parents dated in high school; some of their dates included basketball games at the university’s Justice Center. His grandfather helped install some of the plumbing in Governors Residence Hall. And of course, Nick is a graduate himself, the first alumnus to hold the men’s basketball head coaching position. He attended UNC Asheville on an academic and athletic scholarship and majored in history. He knew he wanted to be a basketball coach, but he thought he would graduate and teach high school history, earning a spot as a high

school basketball coach and eventually working his way into a college coaching job. His plans were jump started when Biedenbach hired him at age 22, straight out of college. “I was in the right place at the right time,” he recalled. “An assistant coach left as I was graduating, and I was fortunate to be hired.”

An Educational Approach McDevitt spent 12 years as an assistant and associate basketball coach before assuming the head coaching position this year. He says Biedenbach mentored him, teaching him the business and nuances of the game. “Coach Biedenbach gave me an invaluable piece of advice after I got the head coach job,” he remembered. “He said to always ask myself if my decisions were in the best interest of the players and to listen to my heart.”

becoming a bulldog McDevitt leads from the perspective of a player

student athlete A four-year letterman, McDevitt played for the Bulldogs from 1997 to 2001, while pursuing a degree in history.

Assistant and Associate Coach He graduated to an assistant coaching position, moving into the associate coaching role in 2011.

Champions on the Court In these roles, McDevitt helped lead the Bulldogs to three Big South Conference regular-season championships and two trips to the NCAA tournament.

Leaders for Life McDevitt earned the men’s basketball head coach title in 2013, becoming the first UNC Asheville alum to advance to this position.

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G O , B U L L DO G S !

He credits his training as a teacher at UNC Asheville for helping him stay ahead of the curve. “Training as a teacher helps me teach the game. I still use the methods and techniques I learned in my education classes,” he said.

coaching challenge

Senior Jaron Lane tells a story that demonstrates McDevitt’s unique approach to the game. “When I was red shirted last year due to injuries, he came to me. I was so discouraged, and he told me to focus on getting better,” he recalled. “He said not to think about it as a bad thing but to deal with it as a man and a person. That really opened my eyes, and I appreciated his kindness.”

The Past and Present Although McDevitt coached men’s basketball for a dozen years, his appointment as head coach was not a given when the former coach left. Cone explained that a search committee conducted a rigorous search, interviewing many candidates both on and off campus. She said the entire search committee agreed that McDevitt distinguished himself. “He had been preparing for a long time to be head coach, and he was ready,” she said. “He had his own vision, taking the best from the past but bringing a new, creative touch to the program.”

UNC Asheville men’s basketball faces a tough early-season schedule, opening the season against Kentucky on Friday, November 8. The Bulldogs will be home in Kimmel Arena starting December 12. For game information and tickets, go to



McDevitt and the Bulldog men’s basketball team welcome former head coach Eddie Biedenbach and the UNC Wilmington Seahawks to the mountains on December 28.

G O , B U L L DO G S !

HIGH SCORES Davis Sets Up National Team

awards & honors By Mike Gore

Administrators and athletes earn accolades

UNC Asheville sophomore volleyball player Katie Davis was selected to participate in this summer’s USA Volleyball Women’s Junior A1 National Team. The team attended a 10day training camp and competed in Europe from July 9–20. Team USA capped its experience with the 9th Annual European Global Challenge in Pula, Croatia. The Global Challenge Team consisted of 12 athletes competing against Katie Davis ’16 prepares to serve. other top junior national teams from Europe. The program is the premier was Asheville’s starting setter and international travel program for led Asheville in assists with a 9.07 junior-age athletes in the United States. per set average. She also made the Big South All-Freshman team and Davis enjoyed an excellent freshman was named Rookie of the Week twice season for the Bulldogs in 2013. She during the season.

Night games are on the horizon for the Bulldog baseball and soccer teams, thanks to a $500,000 grant for outdoor lights from the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority, announced last spring.

For the latest news, rosters and schedules for all UNC Asheville Division I teams, visit

Janet Cone Honored as Under Armour Athletics director of the Year UNC Asheville Director of Athletics Janet Cone was named as one of 28 winners of the Under Armour Athletics Director of the Year Award by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. She received her award at the James J. Corbett Awards Luncheon, June 15, at NACDA’s 48th Annual Convention at the World Center Marriott Resort.

Cone is in her 10th year as Director of Athletics at UNC Asheville, while simultaneously serving as senior administrator for university enterprises.

Student-Athletes Make the Honor Roll More than 60 percent of UNC Asheville’s student-athletes have earned a spot on the Big South Presidential Honor Roll for the 2012-13 academic year. To make the honor roll, a studentathlete must maintain a 3.0 grade-point average over the entire academic year. This year UNC Asheville had 105 studentathletes with a 3.0 or higher GPA for the year.

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class notes

DROP US A LINE! We love to hear from

alumni—and so do your classmates! So be sure to send us your accomplishments, career moves, family news, fascinations and celebrations. Either log on to or send an e-mail to


Douglas Norton recently retired from his First Union/ Wachovia banking career. He now lives in South Carolina with his wife, Dianne.

1974 Charles “Chuck” Campbell

David Morris Pickett created a non-judgmental TV talent show called un-DISCOVERED, which can be viewed on and YouTube.



owner and president of Global Travel in Asheville.

Zollie Stevenson Jr. has been elected vice president of the American Educational Research Association. He also is an associate professor of educational administration and policy in the School of Education at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

James Cassara recently completed his national recertification in teaching.



is currently the Board Chair of CarePartners Health Services in Moores Pond Farm in Fairview.



He teaches art at Claxton Elementary in Asheville and is in his 29th year of teaching.

Alan Lewis Robinson is the

1988 Allan Dawson is now a selfemployed real estate investor in Asheville.

1989 Bill Clute is a senior software developer for Asset Point in Greenville, S.C., chapter director for Reasonable Faith, and an airshow pilot performing in an airplane that he built himself.


Patrick Britz and his wife, Joanna, welcomed their second daughter, Delaney Miles, on April 14. Their first daughter, Emersyn Reese, was born November 9, 2011.

1992 Christopher Boe earned his second doctoral degree from Gardner-Webb University. He serves as an associate professor and director of graduate teacher education at Pfeiffer University.

Julie Partin Laird moved to Dallas and is working as a market manager for Walmart.

1994 Tara Quinn was promoted to executive director of the Capital Region Land Conservatory in Richmond, Va. Cynthia Robbins Shan-Khan was recently named to the board of directors for the North Carolina School Public Relations Association and the Tar Heel


Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.

Dottie Owensby Shepard is the nursing operations manager for Wake Forest Baptist Health.

1995 Jesse Crespo, welcomed their son, Cruz Joseph, to the world on July 22.

1996 Mark A. Dann and his wife, Susan, welcomed twins, Cian Robert and Alana Rose, on March 24.


Nate Conroy is now employed

Alphonso Donaldson recently

Clark Chilton has been

as the agile transformation coach at NTT Data Federal Services Inc.

earned a master of school administration from UNC-Chapel Hill.

ordained as a deacon in the United Methodist Church in June.

Anna Rinaldi Discenzo has been appointed to the Association Montessori Internationale—Elementary Alumni Board as the publications and communications chair.

Claudia Hurtado-Myers has recently graduated from law school and opened her own law firm.

Dee McKinney is associate

Mike Matthews and his wife,

professor of history at East Georgia State College, and she has been appointed director of distance education for the college.

Heather, welcomed the birth of Mia Cecille Matthews on June 13.

Alice Pruette currently works

Ardie Hollifield and her

as a music teacher for New Dimensions Charter School in Morganton and as a private voice instructor at Studio K Dance Academy.




Tracy Kelly relocated back to Massachusetts in 2011. She works as a development associate at NEADS—Dogs for Deaf & Disabled Americans.

Erin Kelly and her husband,

Mark your


April Cash Ziems is currently working on a telecom project as a regional fiber site acquisition manager with a major cellular carrier.

2000 husband, Michael Dinwoodie, gave birth to a baby girl, Ainsley Inez, on May 30.

Lola McPartland and her husband, Richard, celebrated the birth of their daughter, Annabel Caroline, in March.

February 27–March 1, 2014


Bryan Ray Richerson married Myriah Skidmore Richerson ’00. He is currently teaching at West Hall High School in Gainesville, Ga., and serves as the head women’s basketball coach.

Terese Annette Southern married Ryan Southern ’02 on July 20.

Elizabeth Saxman Underwood has been promoted to executive director for government and community relations at the University of Arkansas—Fort Smith. She also has received a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Germany and France this fall.

Eric David Winters and his wife, Faymi Daystrom Winters, recently welcomed their son, Jasper, on June 7.

2002 Julie Nicholson has received a juris doctor from UNC-Chapel Hill and now resides in Asheville.

2003 Carly Gramer DaCunha married Imar DaChuna Jr. in January. They currently reside in Orlando, Fla.

Jeffery Dore married Kari Sederburg in May. Emily Gracey Miller and Troy Miller ’02 recently welcomed their first child, Aaron Jackson, on July 4.

Whitney Butterworth Rivera and her husband, Joshua Rivera, welcomed the birth of their daughter, Lilianna Christine, on Feb 8.

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Anna Catherine Canady married Daniel Sommerfeldt in April.

Tish Franklin married Adam Trescott in March.

2004 Shannon Baccaglini married Michael Baccaglini in April. She is the assistant director of membership for Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts.

Bailey Schultz Balentine moved to Wilmington to start a career as a family medicine physician. In 2012, she welcomed the birth of twins.

Samantha Bowers is a project manager with Asheville Housing Authority and serves as vice chair for the nonprofit’s board. Ray Harmon recently married Mick Miller. He also has graduated from The Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law and is now working in the D.C. area.

Laura Price Hickman works as assistant vice president—senior financial analyst for Bank of America in Charlotte.

Breanna Pratt and her husband, Greg, welcomed a daughter, Farrah Mae, into the world on March 3.

Jolene McGill was appointed acting finance and acquisition branch chief at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center. She also is teaching a section of Principles of Accounting at UNC Asheville this semester.

John Mitchell is the business and community development director for Henderson County.



2005 Toyna Rene Barrow works at Hendersonville Veterinary Hospital.

Erin Wood Creasman is currently teaching third grade in Brevard.

Ashley Garrison and Greg Garrison welcomed a baby boy, Finnegan Walter, into the world on March 29.

Theresa Jenkins and Earl Jenkins have a son, Austin, born in 2012. They also have a daughter named Madison.

2006 Keshia Onuoha is currently working at Preferred Care Partners Management Group in Texas. She recently has been accepted at Texas Women’s University.

JoAnna Porterfield married Andrew Porterfield in November 2011. They recently had a baby girl named Alexandria, and now they are residing in Fort Walton Beach, Fla.

Leanna Virginia Terrell works as a registered nurse at Mission Hospital in Asheville.

2007 Erza L. Cates married Stephanie Chinnaponges in July. He also received a Ph.D. in environmental engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in May. He currently works as a postdoctoral researcher at Yale University.

Daniel Hartis recently wrote Charlotte Beer: A History of Brewing in the Queen City, which was

published by The History Press in March.

Erin Lee McDonald married

Brennan McKinney and his wife, Leanne, gave birth to a daughter, Lillian Ruth, on May 7.

James Hamilton in April.

Mary Mills married Kevin Dillion

Phillip McGuffee is the special services manager and biodiesel plant operator at Midlands Biofuels in Winnsboro, S.C.

on June 22. They now reside in Whitsett, where she is employed as a science teacher with Guilford County Schools.

Lindsey Pfundstein recently started her own practice with her partner, Kate Palmer, called Intuitive Transitions in Kingston, N.Y.

Angela Ramsey has been interning at the Mary Benson House, a residential substance abuse treatment program. Lisa Walsh has recently earned a Ph.D. in geology from the University of Maryland. She works as a seismologist for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in Washington, D.C.

Megan Bre Watts is the associate product developer for Tiltworks in Asheville.

2008 Lynn Baker recently received a position as the environmental health and safety associate with Caterpillar Precision Seals in Franklin.

Nicole Caldwell Saunders received the “Rookie of the Year” award from Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte, where she works as coordinator of student activities.

2009 Michelle Barbeau was recently hired as the director of operations for the nonprofit Running Mates in Charlotte.

Shawna Carroll graduated with a master’s in international security from Sciences Po in Paris. Sealy Chipley currently is residing in Asheville and employed at Land-of-Sky Regional Council. Robyn Fender graduated from the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy with a PharmD. She will be starting a pharmacy practice residency at Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center in Charlotte.

Ryan Dodd earned an M.S. in soil science and a minor in geographic information systems from NC State University. He now works at Cascade Earth Sciences in Visalia, Calif.

Karen Leigh Rigsby married Josh Rigsby on July 20.

Sarah Grace recently accepted

Meredith Morgan Troughton

a new position at the Parish Group in downtown Asheville.

married Thomas Troughton in 2012. She recently earned a master of public affairs from Western Carolina University and is now working in Buncombe County.

Lee Griffin earned a master of education in secondary social studies from UNC Charlotte in May. Amy Harless is a research/ techniques development meteorologist at the Aviation Weather Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Stephen McGarity entered the Ph.D. program in social work at the University of Georgia this fall.

Adam Vick recently accepted a position with Liberty Distribution Company as a National Account Manager in Nashville, Tenn.


Colburn used ultralight pack rafts to document potential Wild and Scenic Rivers in Montana’s backcountry.

A driving Force Alum Kevin Colburn advocates for preservation and recreation Name a Western North Carolina river, and it’s likely that Kevin

Colburn has played a role in its conservation.

based in Missoula, Mont. “Not many undergrads get paid for three years to do work that is related to the field they’re studying.”

The 1998 UNC Asheville graduate has negotiated for rivers and streams for 12 years as part of American

Raised near Biglerville, Pa., Colburn’s decision to attend UNC Asheville was shaped as much by the region’s recreational opportunities as his aca“Not many undergrads get paid for three demic goals. years to do work that is related to the When he field they’re studying.” — Kevin Colburn ’98 looked at the environmental programs availWhitewater, a stalwart advocate for able in southern Appalachia, UNC the preservation and protection of Asheville stood out. “It just seemed waterways throughout the United idyllic, and it was,” Colburn said. States. Now national stewardship director of the Cullowhee-based nonIn 1995, he and Leland Davis ’97 profit, Colburn joined the organizafounded the UNC Asheville Paddling tion when he was just 25 years old. Club. Colburn estimates he taught It’s a path that began at UNC Asheville, where he focused on environmental studies and conducted undergraduate research at the Tallulah Wetlands. “That was absolutely a formative experience,” said Colburn, who is

at least 100 people how to roll a kayak in the campus pool. The club’s adviser, Associate Professor of Economics Chris Bell, would later join the board of American Whitewater, as would Davis. And it was while working at the Tallulah Wetlands that Colburn would meet his wife, Mamie Smith Colburn ’00.

By Karen Shugart

After graduation, Colburn moved west, earning a master’s degree in environmental studies from the University of Montana. Impressed with his academic work, American Whitewater hired him as their eastern conservation and access associate. Upon returning to Asheville, he quickly immersed himself in dam re-licensings and other projects involving rivers such as the Nantahala, Tuckasegee, Chattooga, Catawba and Cheoah. These days, he’s planning a move back to Western North Carolina, where he’s working on the forest planning for the Nantahala National Forest, which could lead to new river protections under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. He’s also building grassroots support for getting “a pretty big roster” of waterways in Montana designated as National Wild and Scenic Rivers. “We could potentially be protecting hundreds of miles of streams,” said Colburn. “It’s a pretty amazing opportunity.”

FA L L 2 0 1 3



2010 Erin Jones is currently a leasing

Regan McBride is an organizer at Fuse Washington, which is part of the Progress Now network.

Cabin Restaurant, Bernadette’s Restaurant and The Cajun Village in Gonzales, La.

manager for apartments in downtown Greensboro.

Whitney McGinnis married

David Bradley Pickett

Tom Kazanova on May 18.

Jensel Garcia launched Rock

Robert Muirhead is now

Hard Records in Memphis, Tenn.

residing in Asheville. He received his MBA from Western Carolina University.

received an M.A. in kinesiology and sport studies from East Tennessee State University. He was recently hired by Milligan College in Johnson City, Tenn., to serve as an assistant cross country and track & field coach.

Garth Grimball earned a master of fine arts in performance and choreography from Mills College.

Justin Newhart is currently managing the marketing for The

Joshua Rosenburg married Katie Clayton ’07 on April 13. He is in his second year teaching in the educational psychology and educational technology doctoral program at Michigan State University.

Anna Roth was hired at Gill’s Pier Winery in northern Michigan as the tasting room and operations manager.

At home on Set Alum Heather Thompson Fits the Costumer Role

By Rebecca Sulock ’00

I’ll do it for free. I do all the costumes

Asheville and credits lecturer Anne

for my own short films. I’ve done it

Slatton with helping her succeed.

for 48-Hour Film Festivals.’” “When I would come to her with a Without really knowing the tools of

crazy idea, instead of thinking how

the trade, she took on the job—and

weird it was, she’d say, ‘I bet you

did it so well that the designer kept

can pull this off, let’s talk about how

her on for the rest of the movie.

you’re going to do it,’” she says.

Thompson parlayed that experience into another job in New York, Heather Thompson got her

Since then she has succeeded,

borrowing $100 for a one-way plane

living in Charlotte and working on

ticket, and couch surfing while she

Homeland and Banshee, another

first b reak in Chero k ee , after

worked as an intern for a production

Showtime series. She recently worked

graduating in 2009 and finding a

company. After that, she landed a

on the movie Grass Stains, along with

Craigslist post asking for movie ex-

full-time position costuming for

a commercial for Texas Pete. Now

tras for the Road to Nowhere.

Showtime’s Emmy-winning spy

she’s headed to Los Angeles to “day

thriller series Homeland.

play,” which is industry speak for

say, ‘We really need an assistant for a

That’s a serious gig for the mass com-

different shows and movies.

few days, but we can’t afford to pay

munication major, who studied docu-

anyone,’” Thompson remembers. “I

mentary filmmaking. But Thompson

In the meantime, she’ll be working

just walked over and said, ‘I’ll do it.

made several connections at UNC

on her own stand-up comedy and

taking contract work on the sets of

“I overheard the costume designer

writing a one-woman show about her family.

“I’m a really creative person, and for the past few years I’ve been working toward someone else’s creative vision, but now I want to do my own thing.” — Heather Thompson ’09

“I’m a really creative person, and for the past few years I’ve been working toward someone else’s creative vision,” she says. “But now I want to do my own thing.”




Lauren Turnburke was hired

Michael Jozefowicz works as

as a BB&T branch manager in Charlottesville, Va., after graduating with an MBA from Arizona State University in November 2012.

a retail sales supervisor at The Biltmore Company in Asheville.

2011 Cortland Mercer graduated from the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs in Los Angeles in June.

Beth Porter lives in Washington, D.C., working as the membership marketing coordinator for Green America.

Jessica Yee graduated from New York University with a M.S. in publishing. She now works at Open Road Media, an e-book publishing company. Christopher Zarzar is currently a graduate student at East Carolina University where he is studying geography and developing a climatology of precipitation organization for the Southeastern United States.

2012 Brittany Bell is currently attending Lenoir-Rhyne University to obtain a master’s in clinical mental health counseling.

Theresa Collosso joined AmeriCorps in August.

Andorra Morgan will be moving to Indonesia to join the Peace Corps.

Jami Naber joined the U.S. Air Force and is working in Florida as a physical therapy technician.

Marson Nance is working as an environmental field biologist and desert tortoise monitor for B&E Consulting LLC in Las Vegas.

Ashley Peterson is currently enrolled in Western Carolina University’s master of public affairs program. Taija Tevia-Clark is a web specialist at Bellevue College in Olympia, Wash.

2013 Justin Greene is currently the seventh-grade social studies teacher at Ardnt Middle School in Catawba County. Rachel Cook Lampros is currently a math teacher at Polk County Early College.

Emily Myers is working at Staples as a copy and print center associate in Asheville. James McLelland accepted a position at Mission Health in IT operations.

Michelle DiPietro recently accepted a job at The HOPE Center in Mityana, Uganda. Michael Friedrich moved to Columbia, S.C., in November 2012 and has taken a position with PricewaterhouseCoopers. He married Ariel Greer in March.

Ashley Lauren Gunter is now employed with East Carolina University’s Office of Environmental Health & Safety working on business continuity planning.

Helping Students Make History

Did we miss your class note? Check online and send your update to

Each time Mark Lawson ’79 attended UNC Asheville, he found a dose of purpose, starting with a history degree and time spent on the courts and field as a basketball, tennis and soccer player. “They gave me a chance when no one else would,” Lawson said. “UNC Asheville took me on no less than four different occasions—transferring from Chapel Hill, after my military service, following my nursing degree, and finally for graduation.” The nurse anesthetist and father of two daughters credits that time at UNC Asheville, as well as his nursing studies at Sampson Community College, with giving him the knowledge necessary for the nomadic profession. Self-employed since 1988, he’s worked at more than 40 hospitals filling in during acuteneed shortages. And he’s recognized acute needs in other areas as well, having served as a commissioned officer in the Air Force Reserve. He plans to take care of both of his alma maters through his will and has established the Mark Lawson Fund for the Study of History, an endowed scholarship at UNC Asheville. “Anesthesia is about helping. My family has always been about helping. So I told myself, if I ever make it, I’ll try to make it easier for someone else, particularly those who are determined to realize their goals.” Making a difference for students at UNC Asheville can start at any time, from establishing a scholarship to naming the UNC Asheville Foundation as a beneficiary in your will or living trust. For more information, contact Julie Heinitsh, director of planned giving and major gifts, at 828.232.2430 or class-notes.

FA L L 2 0 1 3


Off T he Page

Wiley Cash ’00 came back to Western North Carolina this fall to share his story—from the pages of his New York Times best-selling novel, A Land More Kind Than Home, to his experience growing up in the area and graduating from UNC Asheville. If you missed the “Celebrating Madison County” event, you can still hear from the Goodman Endowed Visiting Artist through our video series “In Your Own Words” at

To share your story, write to us at or tag your social media posts and photos with #uncavl.

#uncavl 36


“At UNC Asheville, our professors encouraged us to think broadly, explore new topics and be part of the national conversation. I found that incredibly creative and encouraging.” —Jennifer Schuller Forsyth ’90 United States Editor at The Wall Street Journal

Jennifer Schuller Forsyth’s career at The Wall Street Journal puts her at the intersection of hard news and human interest, a unique perspective she first formulated through undergraduate research at UNC Asheville. A Fulbright Fellowship and graduate degree later, she continues to show how world-class reporting requires expert research and benefits from a historical point of view. That’s the power of today’s liberal arts.

Se riously Cre at iv e Visit us at

Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage

PAID University of North Carolina at Asheville One University Heights Asheville, North Carolina 28804

Burlington, VT Permit No. 19

A Pat on the Back The newest class of Bulldogs comes to campus in the largest numbers in recent history and with a combined average SAT score of 1,201. UNC Asheville welcomed some 600 freshmen and 375 transfer students this fall, starting with convocation and a rub of the Rocky statue for good luck throughout their college careers. (Photo by Perry Hebard)



UNC Asheville Magazine Fall 2013  

UNC Asheville Magazine is published twice a year to give alumni and friends an accurate, lively view of the university—its people, programs...

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