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asheville Volume 6, No. 2 SPRING 2014


Stepping Forward and Looking Back Anne Ponder’s Nine Years as Chancellor


Taking Sides on the Quad

p. 6

Alumni Around the World

p. 18

Meet the Mascots

p. 28

contents 18

Global Perspective Alumni and students take their degrees to new extremes, sharing views from their experiences. (Photo courtesy of Joe Phillips ’09)



Four Sides of the Quad See this central campus spot from a new angle.


Asheville’s Chancellor Anne Ponder prepares for retirement from her hometown’s university.


The Real Rocky Step into the paws of the Bulldog mascot.





ponderings Each spr ing, U NC Ashev ille’s ca mpus comm u nit y gathers on the Quad to celebrate our newest class of graduates. It’s

John Pierce

from this central spot on campus, where ideas intersect and paths


cross, that we can look toward Mount Pisgah, a reminder of the


unique place from which the university has grown. It was here that I first met with the campus community when I became chancellor, and

Janet Cone

it’s from the steps of the library on this same Quad that I will share


my final commencement address in 2014.

Christine Riley University General Counsel

The landscape of higher education has

Lucien “Skip” Capone III

changed dramatically during these past


nine years. We have learned together


Amy Jessee

as a campus to develop new models


that will help us better meet the future

Nanette Johnson, Mary Ann Lawrence

needs of our students, our state and the


world of higher education.

Aaron Dahlstrom ‘09, Nancy Dillingham ‘66, Hannah Epperson ‘11, Jon Elliston, Mike Gore, Amy Jessee, Mary Lynn Manns, Steve Plever, Karen Shugart ‘99, Melissa Stanz, Rebecca Sulock ‘00

In this issue of UNC Asheville Magazine,


David Allen ‘13, Mike Belleme, Luke Bukoski, Perry Hebard, Peter Lorenz, Blake Madden, Galen McGee ‘08, Matt Rose, Casey Toth ‘16, Jameykay Young

we explore beyond the ever-expanding campus boundaries, going into the community on service-learning projects and following our alumni on their career journeys around the

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

drill down to the surface-level too, meeting the landscape architect


and the faculty founder of the campus rock garden, one of the newest

Associate Vice Chancellor of Alumni Relations & Annual Giving

features of the Quad.

world. And we learn about Lookout Observatory, which has expanded our capacity to see beyond the Earth through new technology. We

Laura Herndon

Address Changes Office of University Advancement & Alumni Giving CPO #3800 • UNC Asheville One University Heights • Asheville, NC 28804 • 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, April 2014 32,000 copies of this magazine were printed on paper with recycled content at a cost of $15,584.65 or 49 cents each.

DEPARTMENTS 2 24 26 28 30 36

We also take a closer look at the best-known Rocky on campus—our mascot—who comes to life thanks to the students who take on the challenge and costume. They personify the Bulldog determination that has positioned UNC Asheville to continue as a regional resource, a statewide success and a top 10 national public liberal arts university, with an undergraduate research program unparalleled by any institution of this size. These stories, which stem from our collective achievements, signal the bright future alluded to in the literary promise of Pisgah and bring home to Asheville and Western North Carolina what the rest of the world already knows about us. This bright future also is what will attract the very best talent in higher education to be UNC Asheville’s


next chancellor—a leader ready to collaborate with your great work


and to blaze the next trail from the mountains.

P R A C T I C A L LY S P E A K I N G G O, B U L L D O G S !

It has been an honor to join you on this journey to excellence, and


though this will be my last official “Ponderings” as your chancellor,

O f f the Page

UNC Asheville will never be far from my thoughts.

ON THE COVER: Chancellor Anne Ponder celebrates

Commencement with the graduates and their families. (Photo by Perry Hebard )

—Chancellor Anne Ponder

Perry Hebard

Erin Litke ’14, who traveled to China to study the youth culture, explained her findings to the audience at The Research Triangle Park.

Undergraduate Research Projects Impress at The Research Triangle Park

UNC Asheville students showcased their research at the first RTP360 event at The Research Triangle Park, the largest research park in the U.S. and home to more than 170 global companies. Taking center stage at the Feb. 6 event were December 2013 graduate Erin Litke, who has studied the impact of contact with the West on China’s youth; senior Sophie Berry, who shared her work with The Virtual Lincoln Project; and senior Corey McClintock, who used the literature of Primo Levi as a taking-off point to present ideas on using creative writing to teach chemistry. Several students also presented posters of their recent research at the sold-out event, which attracted local businesses from The RTP and area universities. UNC Asheville faculty advisers and administrators accompanied the undergraduates to discuss UNC Asheville research with the Triangle area leaders.



“This was a wonderful opportunity for our students to demonstrate what ‘seriously creative’ means when applied to research, scholarship, innovation and entrepreneurship,” said UNC Asheville Chancellor Anne Ponder. Bob Geolas, president and CEO of The RTP Foundation, invited UNC Asheville’s Undergraduate Research Program to make this special presentation and share examples of innovative research and scholarship.

David Sweet ’14 used biometric sensors to turn the human body into an instrument.

Perry Hebard

Statewide Scholarship

A r o u n d the q ua d

A Day On Students Select Service Learning on MLK Holiday Casey Toth ’16

More than 130 UNC Asheville students chose to have “A Day On” rather than a day off on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, joining together to serve the community at eight different sites on Jan. 20, 2014. The student volunteers tallied approximately 660 hours of service and represented 26 campus organizations, making the 2014 annual event the largest MLK Day of Service in UNC Asheville’s history. “If we calculate our contributions to local organizations using only minimum wage as an average— that’s almost $5,000 in time donated to the local community,” said Selena Hilemon, program coordinator at the Key Center for Community Citizenship and Service Learning at UNC Asheville.

Kimber Walker, Daisy Torres, Amina Kone and Titi Adeniyi from UNC Asheville’s Connections Peer Mentoring Program spent the day working on the cougar habitat at the WNC Nature Center.

Visit the Key Center at to learn more about service-learning opportunities at UNC Asheville.

National Model NEMAC Fights Forest Threats with ForWarn Program UNC Asheville’s National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center (NEMAC) is part of an inter-agency team that has earned the Chief’s Honor Award from the U.S. Forest Service for the creation of ForWarn, the early warning system that tracks forest disturbances and changes in real time. The system uses NASA satellite imagery to map coast-to-coast snapshots of the U.S. landscape, showing potential forest disturbances of many kinds. It’s also earned a group achievement award from NASA in honor of the unique collaboration among federal and university partners.

The interagency ForWarn team includes scientists and staff from U.S. Forest Service Eastern Forest and Western Wildland Environmental Threat Assessment Centers, the NASA

Stennis Space Center, the U.S. Department of Energy Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the U.S. Geological Survey’s Earth Resources Observation and Science Center. “What makes ForWarn’s Forest Change Assessment Viewer (FCAV) unique is that it brings a large amount of national-scale environmental data together in a single highly usable and accessible web interface,” said Derek Morgan, NEMAC senior research scientist.


Read more about NEMAC’s projects at

Spring 2014



Successful Studies Revised Curriculum Focuses on Liberal Arts Core After a vote of support from the Faculty Senate, UNC Asheville’s newly revised curriculum, the “Liberal Arts Core,” is being implemented this spring and will be in full effect in the 2014 Fall Semester. The Liberal Arts Core will replace the university’s current general education curriculum, “Integrative Liberal Studies” (ILS). The new Liberal Arts Core is designed to ensure the continuation of the university’s academic hallmarks—the interdisciplinary approach, the Humanities Program, and intensive instruction in certain areas—while giving students greater flexibility in course selection so they can explore diverse topics and still graduate in four years. “We wanted to create more flexibility to allow students to move through their programs in a timely way,” said Melissa Burchard, associate professor of philosophy and chair of the Faculty Senate. “[We wanted] to make sure that students have a certain amount of room for free electives, so that they really do have some space to explore different areas, which is part of the liberal arts tradition.”

“We wanted to create more flexibility to allow students to move through their programs in a timely way.” —Melissa Burchard, associate professor of philosophy and chair of the Faculty Senate The Liberal Arts Core proposal was developed through a two-year process by the Curriculum Review Task Force (CRTF), which involved 30–50 faculty members at different times, with representation from the student government and participation from the Provost’s Office.

Rankings UNC Asheville Among the Best ... One of the nation’s best values in public colleges—Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine

Sixth lowest total cost of attending for in-state students, and the eighth lowest average debt among graduates —Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine

Seventh in the nation among Public Liberal Arts Colleges —U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges 2014”

Only North Carolina institution listed among National Liberal Arts Colleges whose students graduate with the least amount of debt—U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges 2014”

20th Best Value College —Forbes magazine’s “Top Colleges 2013: Best Value Colleges”

Best Buy—The Fiske Guide to

Jameykay Young

Colleges, 2014 Edition

Best Value—The Princeton Review’s Best Value Colleges: 2014 Edition.

Honors for UNC Asheville’s Hometown ... Eighth in America’s Best College Towns, “down-to-earth … and quirky in the best of ways.” —Travel + Leisure magazine

13th on the “Town-Gown Relations are Great” list —The Princeton Review’s The Best 378 Colleges—2014 Edition

See all rankings at /about/facts-and-figures/rankings



A r o u n d the q ua d

Research Space UNC Asheville Readies Astronomy Laboratory scopes with video cameras will allow viewing of images by observers in the adjoining room.

A $546,000 Astronomy Club of Asheville donation made construction possible, and Lookout Observatory is operated in partnership with the club. The observatory and laboratory features two 14-inch-diameter reflecting telescopes and two smaller companion refracting telescopes that stay in locked focus on the same objects as the larger ones. Equipping the tele-

Professor Brian Dennison installs a telescope in Lookout Observatory.

Luke Bukoski

This brings a twinkle to the eye of Brian Dennison, Glaxo Wellcome Professor and professor of physics. “I’m very excited,” said Dennison. “Introductory students now can look through big telescopes and have that close-up experience of the sky. And for advanced students, having this facility here on campus will make all the difference. They will now have ready

access to capture images and spectra for research on stars, nebulae, galaxies, comets, asteroids, as well as other astronomical objects.”

Luke Bukoski

When Lookout Observatory opens on campus, UNC Asheville students and astronomy buffs in the community will have a way to get better views of the stars in an easily accessible location.

Greenway Granted Community Connection Comes One Step Closer A $200,000 grant from the 2013 Federal Recreational Trails Program, administered by the North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation, and a $30,000 grant from the Glass Foundation have enabled UNC Asheville to take the final steps to expand Reed Creek Greenway through property owned by the UNC Asheville Foundation on Broadway Avenue. The project will fill in a missing link in the Reed Creek Greenway, connecting UNC Asheville and Montford with downtown, enabling students and community residents to walk and bike along the creek, removed from traffic on nearby Broadway Avenue. In addition to linking UNC Asheville to the surrounding community, the greenway also links the UNC Asheville Foundation, the City of Asheville, the Montford Neighborhood Association and RiverLink in a partnership that has provided crucial advocacy and fundraising for the project. John Pierce, treasurer of the UNC Asheville Foundation, said, “Our students decided to increase their own fees to help pay for the work, and the City of Asheville and RiverLink have partnered significantly in the fundraising for the project. Montford neighbors, as well, have chipped in with financial contributions and hard work to help clean up the property.”

Students enjoy walking and biking on the greenways around campus.

Spring 2014


Call it an outdoor classroom, a campus garden, a ceremonial space or a recreation area, the Quad fits squarely into any memory of UNC Asheville. Whatever side you take, there’s something to love about the Quad.

Four Sides of the Quad WRITTEN BY AMY JESSEE



The Playground From the summer days, when new students cross paths with their soon-to-be best friends, through fall, when the trees anchor slack lines, hammocks, and campus-wide celebrations, the Quad forms a second living room. ”Whether you sit with a guitar under a tree or hang a hammock in its branches, it’s a Quad for the community,” says UNC Asheville’s Landscape Architect Melissa Acker. “I remember coming in one weekend, and students were camping in Curry Courtyard. That’s how you tell the space is a success. It’s used, or in this case it’s lived in.”


Students balance their studies and recreation with a slack line on the Quad during a warm winter day. UNC ASHEVILLE MAGAZINE

The Classroom In winter, the ground-source heat pumps buried under the Quad pulse heat through the surrounding buildings, warming the university, and come spring, the campus blooms again, abuzz with presentations of student research, when students are likely to be circling up for an outdoor class or studying the geology garden that has cropped up in the corner. “It’s an educational garden,” says Professor Emeritus of Environmental Studies Bill Miller, the man behind the rocks, which weigh anywhere from 200 to 5,000 pounds. “I wanted to get a good representation of the major rock types around here, and I also want to get a good representation of geologic history.”

The sun and shade of the Quad create an ideal spot for an outdoor study session or class meeting. Spring



The Green Space When UNC Asheville moved to North Asheville some 50 years ago, the Quad was an open field ready for new growth. With more than nine native species now planted on the two acres today, it continues to serve as a green space and a place for contemplation and creativity. Art graduate Joy Hof even examined the layers of the landscape to develop textures in her paintings, developing a technique similar to that of action painters in the 1950s and 1960s that mixes collage and experimental pouring techniques. From her perspective, “It’s a quest to discover a balance between control versus chaos as well as factual versus the imaginative.”

The iconic crab apple tree offers needed shade on the otherwise open Quad, forming a beautiful focal point.



The Tradition Since 1966, when a class of 66 students were the first to receive four-year B.A. degrees from then-named Asheville-Biltmore College, the Quad has set the stage for annual celebrations in the spring and in the fall. As Nancy Dillingham, a literature major from that class recalls, “UNC Asheville was a parade of changing landscapes and faces then. In 1963, the campus consisted of three buildings. The library occupied the top floor of Phillips Administration Building, one large room with a small, glassed-in reading room. Classes were held in the Science Building and the Administrative Building. I vividly remember attending the openings of the Lipinsky Student Center and D. Hiden Ramsey Library that make up the Quad today.� Read more about the four sides of the Quad from our alumni, students, faculty and staff and share your story at

Graduates celebrate Commencement on the Quad each spring, one of many traditions that shape the campus.

Spring 2014


One of the first things that I said when I came back to this place— where visitors think of the Grove Park Inn, the Biltmore Estate, and Thomas Wolfe—is that UNC Asheville should be in that list of the things they think of when they think of my hometown.

Photo by Matt Rose



Asheville’s Chancellor Reflections on Anne Ponder’s Nine Years of Service to her Hometown’s University


ave a conversation with UNC Asheville’s Chancellor Anne Ponder, and you’ll quickly realize that you are speaking with an Asheville native—a self-described “mountain girl,” who loves the place and the people—someone who finds the greatest pleasure and purpose in bringing them together. It’s that important and personal work that brought her home to Asheville nearly nine years ago, after spending 39 years away, first as an undergraduate and graduate student at UNC-Chapel Hill, then as faculty and an administrator at Elon University, Guilford College and Kenyon College. She served as president of Colby-Sawyer College until 2005, and so was a sitting president when she was selected as the sixth chancellor of UNC Asheville. “I always thought the phrase ‘sitting president’ was not adequately descriptive,” said Ponder. “It is a sitting, running, speaking, dancing president.” As a result, you’ll rarely find her sitting still, but UNC Asheville Magazine caught up with Ponder shortly after her retirement announcement in January 2014 to learn more about her next steps. She will retire from university service this summer, but with no plans to slow down. She will continue as an ambassador for the university, a proud public servant of Asheville and a strong voice for issues in higher education, particularly concerning the liberal arts and college affordability, both strengths of UNC Asheville. And she trusts that UNC Asheville will continue its momentum forward, building on the accomplishments from the past nine years—accomplishments, which she points out, are rarely hers alone.

Written By AMy Jessee

Blake Madden

from the Community


hen Anne Ponder took the oath of office at UNC Asheville on Sept. 15, 2006, her mother, Eleanor Ponder, a legendary high school English teacher in Buncombe County, held the Bible, a reminder that Ponder comes from a family of teachers, who trace their roots in Asheville back to the 1780s. Growing up, Ponder recognized the UNC Asheville community as an extended family. She has met all of the UNC Asheville chancellors who served before her, and she grew up knowing many of the individuals who now have their names on campus buildings and who have established some of the most personal traditions at the university, such as the Manly E. Wright Award. As Ponder explained, “We embody the homegrown mountain determination of our region, doing splendid work even when resources are meager, turning what my grandfather used to call ‘mountain cussedness’ into a virtue in times of great need.”



During Ponder’s tenure at UNC Asheville, the need has been great. Despite a particularly challenging budget climate, she established priorities that fortified the university to become stronger and more focused on its unique mission, to improve its visibility throughout the state and nation, and to significantly increase its contributions to and collaborations with greater Asheville and the state. Her commitment to strengthening the university’s outreach and partnerships with Western North Carolina communities and businesses, as well as with sister UNC institutions, has resulted in a UNC-Chapel Hill Eshelman School of Pharmacy satellite program being established at UNC Asheville. Agreements with Mission Health System, the City of Asheville, the Renaissance Computing Institute of North Carolina and others have provided enhanced learning and research opportunities for students and faculty. The university also is a founding member of the AshevilleBuncombe Regional Sports Commission, a major contributor to the region’s economic development. In fact, an economic impact study from 2012 shows that UNC

Asheville contributes $268 million annually and supports 2,592 local jobs. This emphasis on collaboration also led to the cultivation, with other campus and community leaders, of some of the largest multi-million-dollar donations in the university’s history, including a significant endowment from the Bernard Osher Foundation to name the former North Carolina Center for Creative Retirement—now the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UNC Asheville— and enhance its creative retirement options and college for seniors programs. These investments and initiatives have placed UNC Asheville at the heart of the Greater Asheville community, strengthening the shared vibrant culture. As community leaders Bruce and Carol Peterson commented, “Being natives of Asheville and Buncombe County, we have seen the development and growth of UNC Asheville from the beginning. There have been several chancellors through the years, all with different leadership styles. Chancellor Anne Ponder has put Asheville back into UNC Asheville.” That was part of Ponder’s plan.

We have seen the development and growth of UNC Asheville from the beginning. There have been several chancellors through the years, all with different leadership styles. Chancellor Anne Ponder has put Asheville back into UNC Asheville.

— Bruce and Carol Peterson, community leaders & Asheville natives

“One of the first things that I said when I came back to this place—where visitors think of the Grove Park Inn, the Biltmore Estate, and Thomas Wolfe—is that UNC Asheville should be in that list of the things they think of when they think of my hometown. We are well on our way to becoming one of Asheville’s anchor institutions.” You might call it useful idealism, a phrase Ponder has used to characterize her strategy. “The description optimally of who we are has made it possible for us to live up to it. We become the university we are describing.” And if her definition of strategic planning is more poetic than expected, it’s not unexpected for her. “That’s what you get for hiring an English major,” she said.

Building a Narrative


n hiring Ponder, UNC Asheville gained more than an awardwinning teacher and expert in strategic planning. “For an English major, Chancellor Ponder is one of the steadiest and savviest managers I know,” said Michael Andry, wealth advisor for Wells Fargo Wealth Management and chair of the UNC Asheville Foundation. “She has provided strong, consistent and visionary leadership for our university, and

has been instrumental in the transformational evolution of UNC Asheville. Higher education is in the middle of extraordinary change, and she has beautifully positioned the university to continue to thrive in the educational model of the future.” UNC Asheville’s model of liberal arts education continues to rank highly, coming in as the seventh best Public Liberal Arts College in U.S. News and World Report annual rankings and is the only North Carolina institution listed among National Liberal Arts Colleges whose students graduate with the least amount of debt. The university also makes the list for Best Buys or Best Value in The Princeton Review, Forbes, Fiske and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. Credit goes to the entire campus community, which over the past nine years has improved the academic profile and diversity of the student body, as well as the proportion of students living on campus. These were goals established by the entire campus community in the Strategic Plan of 2008, and initiatives that the campus has worked on steadily together since then. In 2009, UNC Asheville became the national headquarters for the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC) and, in 2012, received its 10-year reaffirmation of accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Opposite: Anne Ponder took the oath of office on Sept. 15, 2006. Right: Since then, she has encouraged students in their academic pursuits, dedicated Brown Hall with former Chancellor Dave Brown, signed an MOU with the City of Asheville, and opened the Wilma M. Sherrill Center.

Spring 2014


She came to the university with a process, not a plan, and she was able to evoke from the faculty, staff and students, as well as members of the greater community, a strategic plan that captured their aspirations, could be acted upon, and has continuously guided subsequent action. — Bruce Larson, professor of economics

Bruce Larson, professor of economics and chair of the university’s reaccreditation working group, said, “Anne Ponder brought to UNC Asheville an enormous capacity to listen to everyone and transform what she heard into action … what stands out for me is the strategic planning process she led during her first years at the university. This is clearly one of her signal achievements. She came to the university with a process, not a plan, and she was able to evoke from the faculty, staff and students, as well as members of the greater community, a strategic plan that captured their aspirations, could be acted upon, and has continuously guided subsequent action.” The strategic plan prompted further collaboration and action, including a recently revised liberal arts core curriculum to better meet the needs of students, an expanded Undergraduate Research Program and the addition of several new majors from anthropology to religious studies, art history to jazz and contemporary music. The number of endowed faculty has increased with six newly endowed professorships in as many years, made possible by the

Top to bottom: Erskine Bowles and Al

Whitesides joined Anne Ponder at the 2012 Commencement, earning honorary degrees, and any other Saturday of the year, she could be found at the North Asheville Tailgate Market or spending time at home on campus in the Brumit Pisgah House. Ponder celebrated the 2009 dedication of Zeis Science and Multimedia Building with namesakes Steve and Frosene Zeis.



C.D. Spangler Foundation, with matching funds contributed from the North Carolina General Assembly and raised by the UNC Asheville Foundation. Ponder also has overseen the largest building program in UNC Asheville’s history—most recently Overlook Hall, home to more than 300 students. The new residence hall boosts the number of students living on campus from 35 percent to more than 40 percent and is one of the “greenest” buildings on campus, with cutting-edge sustainability features including geothermal heating and cooling. Other major building projects have included the New Hall classroom building, Sam Millar Facilities Management Complex, Zeis Science and Multimedia Building, and the Wilma M. Sherrill Center, which houses the North Carolina Center for Health & Wellness and Kimmel Arena. But if Ponder is going to be known for building the campus, it’s more for the narrative of serving students rather than the physical footprint, though that has expanded too with recent land acquisitions that will allow for future campus growth. She prefers to focus on the foundation of liberal arts ideals and the people that make it possible. As Ponder explained, “The liberal arts, and the interdisciplinary habit of mind, are more than what we do; it is who we are, and it is what we teach. It is our conviction that a liberal arts education, UNC Asheville style, is our greatest single tool in uncovering the long-term solutions to the most significant threats to the wellbeing of our state and our nation.”

Envisioning the Future


s she prepares for her own creative retirement in July 2014, Ponder can see at least part of her legacy as the longest-serving UNC Asheville chancellor since the first chancellor. In true English-professor style, she is best at articulating this achievement, as she said in her first Founders Day speech: “Each individual brings the potential to be of lasting importance in the lives of individual students and in the life of the university. We are reminded each day of Chancellor Highsmith … without whom there would be no university for us to serve. Chancellor Brown is remembered for his entrepreneurial energy. Chancellor Schuman’s legacy includes our designation as North Carolina’s public liberal arts university. Chancellor Reed’s calming and steady influence is still felt today. And the fifth chancellor, Chancellor Mullen, will be remembered for opening the university toward interest and involvement in the wider community. … We find ourselves among extraordinary people, planning for an exciting future in a place uniquely our own. And it is my chosen work, my good fortune, and my honor to add my service as Chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Asheville.” In returning home to lead UNC Asheville in 2005, Ponder found everything in place to bring Asheville’s University back to the community that founded it, contribute to the regional economy and earn national recognition in the liberal arts. “I’ve been fortunate to lead this institution when the necessary leadership tasks were things that I could do well,” she said. “I’ve brought a clarity of mission, a closer knit between what we say and what we do, and a courage of conviction.” See more from the past nine years in our Online Retrospective:

And if she has invested fully in the university, so too has her husband, Christopher Brookhouse, an awardwinning writer and publisher and ardent advocate for UNC Asheville. “Chris and I have always believed in living where we are and where we work. You place yourself fully there,” Ponder

said. So it’s no surprise that she intends to give the next chancellor this advice: “Love the place like I do and attend to our intellectual quality and integrity. Want to serve as chancellor of this university, with this mission and this sector of higher education.” 4

Strategic Plan Goals UNC Asheville’s Strategic Plan, led by Chancellor Ponder in 2008, established goals for the university and continues to provide benchmarks to assess progress.

Public Responsibility


increase in students from underrepresented groups since 2005.


increase in the five-year graduation rate since 2008.

$268 million

economic impact reported for 2012.

Liberal Arts Education & Campus Experience


combined average SAT score for incoming freshmen in the fall (3rd highest in the state).


higher student-faculty interaction for first-year students than average COPLAC school.


of graduates participate in undergraduate research (an increase of 12% over eight years).


of students live on campus (a 25% increase over eight years).


more graduates in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, math, and health) than the average UNC system school.

Long-Term Sustainability


increase in the university’s endowment over eight years (growing from $16.6 million to $33.9 million).

$100 million

More than invested in campus infrastructure, with $97 million funding new buildings.


increase in the number of campus facilities, with seven new buildings constructed.


acres added to campus, including campus gardens and observatory (increased campus acreage by 18%).


retention rate among faculty and a 91% retention rate among staff in 2013 (consistently above the UNC system average).


more energy efficient than the average N.C. state agency as measured by BTUs per square foot of buildings.

To view the complete Strategic Plan, go to: Spring 2014




A global perspective

From the edge of the Earth at the South Pole to the Middle East, UNC Asheville students and alumni are making their mark internationally • Written By Jon Elliston

Joe Phillips studies the atmosphere from his research post at the South Pole, where he’s taken Rocky for a visit to the geographic pole and taken on the world one-handed (previous page). Photos courtesy of Joe Phillips

Atmospheric Administration research post to maintain a suite of instruments that sample the atmosphere. “The job here is almost like being in a dream,” Phillips says. “I’m living the dream.” He credits the opportunity, in large part, to what he learned at the university more than 8,600 miles away from his ice-laden workplace. “UNC Asheville gave me the education experience,” he says, “that helped me stand out in the selection process for this assignment.” Back in a physical meteorology class taught by Associate Professor Christopher Godfrey, Phillips remembers, he marveled at discussions of atmospheric phenomena that ice crystals produce. “I knew that if I were to end up in the coldest place in the world, I would see some really impressive halos—and I have,” he reports. Phillips may be on a distant frontier, witnessing rare wonders, but he’s hardly alone among UNC Asheville students and alums who have ventured out into a world that grows ever smaller.

All over the

map lumnus Joe Phillips ’09 is taking his degree in atmospheric sciences to new extremes—

to the deepest reaches of Antarctica, where winter temperatures average around minus 70 degrees. But he’s not alone in testing the boundaries of his field of study. Many graduates have gone global, discovering challenging careers and learning where their liberal arts education can lead. “I’ve always wanted to come to the South Pole, and I’ve always been interested in the atmosphere and how it works,” Phillips says. Both wishes were fulfilled when he was selected as station chief for a National Oceanic and



As never before, the world is at students’ doorsteps and part of their futures, argues Associate Professor Linda Cornett, chair of the Political Science Department. “I think if there’s anything that defines the current era, it’s an era of globalization,” she said in a recent video promoting UNC Asheville’s Study Abroad program. “Now, whatever field you go into, whether it’s government, or business, or social services, there’s a global aspect to it.” Many students are getting a jump on international experience well before completing their degrees. In its most recent annual report, covering the 2012– 13 school year and the summer of 2013, the Study Abroad Office noted growing levels of UNC Asheville students taking their education overseas. A total of 187 students participated, in 29 different countries. According to Bonnie Parker, the office’s director, the class of 2013 had a record percentage of graduates who

Deborah Hart-Serafini combined foreign service with fun in her many travels—from a helo ride in Liberia to a camel kiss in Jordan. Photos courtesy of Deborah Hart-Serafini

UNC Asheville’s liberal arts program made me the kind of well-rounded person needed to address the diversity of problems we tackle at U.S. embassies around the world.

— D e bora h Hart- S e ra f i n i ’ 9 7

had studied abroad (19 percent up from 16 percent during the prior five years). At 22, Bastian Herr ’14, a double major in French and management, is already a veritable global citizen. Born in Japan and raised in Germany, he moved to Asheville in 2007. Last summer, he returned to Germany for a three-month internship with Daimler AG, the auto manufacturer that counts Mercedes-Benz among its brands. He’ll return for a second internship this summer. There, Herr says, his undergraduate studies helped him get right to work on his main duties: helping with international-level parts procurement and conducting a cost-analysis project for the company. He also enjoyed perks like test drives in new Mercedes models that hadn’t yet gone on the market.

“I was able to use theories and concepts from many of the courses I took at UNC Asheville,” Herr says. The ones that prepared him the most, he adds, were Norman Kauffman’s class on managerial accounting and Micheal Stratton’s on organizational behavior. “Furthermore, UNC Asheville’s liberal arts education and its focus on fostering critical thinking helped me throughout my work experience,” he says.



doing that

Some UNC Asheville alums went global even before globalization, but they offer some of the same perspectives on how

the university primed them for international work. Deborah Hart-Serafini ’97 just retired from 15 years working as a foreign service officer for the U.S. State Department, after posts in Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Liberia and Oman. Many of her assignments, especially in recent years, were in public diplomacy—conducting academic, cultural and language exchange programs. “UNC Asheville’s liberal arts program made me the kind of well-rounded person needed to address the diversity of problems we tackle at U.S. embassies around the world,” she says. The physics major is especially grateful to Professor Michael Ruiz, “for believing in my ability to succeed long before I did.” Kevin Ingle ’89, who majored in computer science, was born and raised in Asheville but has lived abroad for the past 15 years. After gigs in Japan, Singapore, Italy and England, in 2005 he landed in Sydney, Australia, where he serves as senior manager for global business services for the country’s branch of Cisco Systems. Spring 2014


Bastian Herr experienced the company and culture of Germany, while interning with Mercedes-Benz and exploring downtown Stuttgart. Photos courtesy of Bastian Herr

UNC Asheville’s liberal arts education and its focus on fostering critical thinking helped me throughout my work experience. — B a s t i a n H e rr ’ 1 4

Ingle’s time in college paved the way for world-class work. “It gave me a completely different perspective on how to approach my career and my life,” he says. “Prior to going to UNC Asheville, I was totally focused on the sciences … and fully expected to become some kind of research scientist focused on hardcore theoretical applications. It was the liberal arts side of my education that broadened my outlook and made me step back and re-evaluate the career possibilities.” Studies in the humanities “filled gaps in my previous education that I didn’t even realize I had,” Ingle says, and “helped me take on a multifaceted approach to looking at things, not just through the lens of logic and science but also through the lens of culture and society.” Working in the global economy, Ingle says, requires more than excellence in just one field, and also the ability to cross cultural borders as much as geographical ones. “I love the many diverse 22


cultures in this world, and I enjoy being someone who helps others understand and bridge the gaps between them,” he says. “Not only technically, but also understanding and embracing the differences that they all have and figuring out ways to use the best of them to come up with something better.”

Global takeaway

For all they learned and are learning here, UNC Asheville’s global graduates have plenty to teach others who want to venture into careers far from home. We asked them to share some advice for those who will follow in their footsteps. The youngest of the bunch, Herr, says he optimized studying abroad by connecting with advisors at the university who supported his venture before, during and after.

The more-seasoned Ingle recommends cultivating an ability to live with each place’s upsides and downsides. “You have to adapt to the new environment and not expect it to be the way it was back home,” he says. “You are in their country, not the other way around. Take it on as a new and exciting challenge and you’ll always enjoy the experience. Fight it and you’ll be miserable.” Hart-Serafini, who just moved from Dubai to Cairo and recently became the first virtual member of the marketing committee for UNC Asheville’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, agrees that working abroad is a never-ending exercise in stretching. “Be flexible,” she advises. “It’s a cliché, but, ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do.’ Or the Iraqis … or the Liberians … or the Omanis.” 4

We get around

During the 2012–13 school year and following summer, UNC Asheville students studied in the following 29 countries outside the United States: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Morocco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, South Korea, Scotland, Senegal, Spain, Thailand and Turkey.

Spring 2014


h o n o r societ y

Fighting for an Education Support and Recognition for Military Members

Casey Toth ’16

By Hannah Epperson ’11

Christopher Webb ’14 knew when he enlisted for service in the U.S. Army in 2003 that he would have to go to war. “I knew I was risking my life,” Webb said. “All of us did.” He spent nearly four years in the military, during which time he was deployed to Afghanistan and injured in combat there. He returned home with a Purple Heart, post-traumatic stress and a chance for a college education, thanks to GI Bill benefits that provide funding for veterans. “College can be really difficult for veterans,” said Webb, who enrolled in community college before transferring to UNC Asheville in 2012. “I realized later on, looking back on it, that a lot of the issues came from struggling to connect with my fellow students, feeling alone. I was having a really hard time with a lot of PTSD things that came up.”

Easing Transitions Stephanie Franklin, director of transition and parent programs at UNC Asheville, coordinates veterans’ programs and services on campus. “This is a program that is intended to acknowledge veterans and let them know that we are very happy to have them here

“This is a program that is intended to acknowledge veterans and let them know that we are very happy to have them here at UNC Asheville.” —Stephanie Franklin, director of transition and parent programs



“A lot of us served to be able to go to college, get a degree, and achieve social mobility.” —Christopher Webb

at UNC Asheville,” said Franklin, “and we really want to help them with their integration into the university community.” The program includes everything from special celebrations on holidays like Patriot Day and Veterans Day, to offering assistance with navigating the GI Bill. “It’s very important because we want to respect the work and the sacrifices that our veterans have made,” Franklin said, “and because we know that they have transitions that they have to make.”

Support and Service Peer support can be very important to veterans who may otherwise feel like they’re navigating college alone. In 2012, Franklin connected Webb with other student veterans who were interested in starting a student organization on campus, and in the spring of 2013 they established UNC Asheville’s first University Veteran Alliance. The group volunteers with Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry’s “Veterans Restoration Quarters,” a nonprofit program serving homeless veterans in the area.

Matt Rose

h o n o r societ y

Jimmie Blackmon salutes during the national anthem at UNC Asheville’s December 2013 Commencement.

“Many of them are passionate about volunteering because they have a heart for service to begin with,” said Franklin. “I believe it stems from and resonates well with their military service.”

“I accepted the cord in absence of and for the honor of the soldiers who are still providing security for this great country of ours,” Blackmon said. When Webb graduates in May, he’ll share in the honor.

Webb also noted that more than half of the participants at the first meeting of the University Veteran Alliance had earned a heart of a different sort—a Purple Heart, designating that they had been wounded in combat.

Honors and Recognition Making the sacrifices and service of veterans more visible on campus has become a project for Franklin. Each semester, she helps organize a special ceremony for graduating veterans, during which they celebrate their achievements and receive red, white and blue cords to be worn at Commencement, a relatively new honor for such ceremonies in North Carolina. Jimmie Blackmon, an Army veteran, was one of five military veterans to graduate from UNC Asheville in December 2013.

“Graduating from college is really important for veterans,” Webb explained. “A lot of us served to be able to go to college, get a degree, and achieve social mobility. A lot of us come from a demographic where it wouldn’t have been possible any other way.” “It’s important for us as a university to reach out to veterans and let them know that we really do appreciate having them here,” Franklin said, “and for the contributions not only that they’ve made to the country, but also the contributions they make to the UNC Asheville community by being here.”

To learn more about veteran services and programs visit

Spring 2014



Symbiotic Studies Creating AVID Students on Many Levels There’s a rare gem of a partnership between UNC Asheville and Asheville City Schools that’s been quietly changing lives for students for more than 15 years. Parents and teachers of middle and high school students, and UNC Asheville students and faculty are working together to help students in grades six through 12 prepare for college and life. AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) is a national program embraced by the university that incorporates rigorous academic standards, the Socratic method, inquiry-based tutoring and mentoring.

By Melissa Stanz

Asheville’s AVID program statistics are stellar: 100 percent of AVID high school seniors have been accepted into a college program, and more than 90 percent have chosen to attend a four-year college. “We have an authentic, transformative partnership between UNC Asheville and Asheville City Schools,” explained Kim Kessaris, UNC Asheville’s outreach and AVID tutoring coordinator. “We’ve created a family here. We have siblings, cousins, and even a child of an AVID graduate in the program now. That family includes students, teachers and parents.”



Peter Lorenz

Asheville High School junior Michael Davis and UNC Asheville junior Runda Alamour review an economics assignment during an AVID tutoring session.


“We have the Cadillac of partnerships with UNC Asheville. Our ratio of tutors to students is excellent, and the UNC Asheville student tutors are well trained and motivated.” —Jerome Hughes, AVID Coordinator at Asheville High and SILSA Some 300 students in grades six through 12 participate in AVID; they attend Asheville High School, Asheville Middle School, and SILSA (School of Inquiry and Life Sciences at Asheville), housed in Asheville High School. Students in AVID typically have a GPA of 2.0 to 3.5, are usually the first in their family to attend college, and many come from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds. They go through an intensive interview process and must sign a contract when selected for this free program. Jerome Hughes is the AVID Coordinator at Asheville High and SILSA. He communicates regularly with other AVID program teachers across the United States. “We have the Cadillac of partnerships with UNC Asheville,” he said. “Our ratio of tutors to students is excellent, and the UNC Asheville student tutors are well trained and motivated.” Hughes describes the tutor/student relationship as symbiotic. Students benefit from being around college students close to their age, and tutors enjoy interacting with students and using what they learn in their college classes. Asheville High School junior Michael Davis is an AVID student who believes every school should have a program like this one. He appreciates the coursework, the field trips, the scholar-

ship information and the help with SAT practice. He also appreciates the UNC Asheville tutors. “They are insightful and give us great tips about college, and we can have solid conversations with them,” he said. “And the broad base of tutors means we get exposure to different ethnic cultures and languages. They add icing to the cake with their knowledge and mentoring.” There are 70 to 80 UNC Asheville students who serve as tutor facilitators. The tutors use the Socratic method to stimulate collaborative facilitation. They share concepts and help students learn critical-thinking skills. Some tutors are paid; other tutors fulfill education requirements for teacher licensure. But not all tutors want to become teachers. “AVID tutors must be UNC Asheville full-time students; other than that it’s wide open,” said Kessaris. “It’s for anyone interested in helping students succeed. Some of our tutors want to become pediatricians, physical therapists, or even want to join the Peace Corps.” Runda Alamour is a junior at UNC Asheville and a tutor leader. She not only tutors students but also serves as a liaison between other tutors, high school teachers and Kessaris.

“I graduated from Asheville High School and took some of the same classes that AVID kids take, so I’m comfortable talking with teachers and giving feedback,” she explained. “And I understand the pressures of high school, and know how important it is to have someone your own age reassuring you it will get better.” Tutoring has helped Alamour discover her preference for teaching high school versus middle school. Senior tutor leader Kyja Wilburn spends 12 hours a week working with students in Asheville Middle School. She has learned much about her personal style, and enjoys applying what she’s learning in school. “It’s a completely practical way to communicate complex college ideas and make them clear, and the way we work with questions is important,” she said. “It’s been the most realistic, intensive experience I’ve had with kids, and the best experience of my time at UNC Asheville.”

AVID goes to College UNC Asheville’s success with AVID at the middle and high school level contributed to the university’s decision to join the AVID for Higher Education Student Success Initiative beginning Fall 2014. UNC Asheville is North Carolina’s first four-year college or university to join this initiative. For more information, visit

Spring 2014


G O , B U L L DO G S !

The Real Rocky A Tale of Friendship, Romance and School Spirit

“Rocky is that person you strive to be—that happy person on campus who is driven to continue on the path to excellence.” —Logan Pressley ‘16

For Logan Pressley, a sophomore health and wellness major, taking on the role of UNC Asheville’s bobble-headed bulldog mascot, Rocky, was a calling. “Everyone knows Rocky,” Pressley said. “No matter if you’re an art student or an athlete or an engineer. You know Rocky.” “Rocky is that person you strive to be,” he continued, “that happy person on campus who is driven to continue on the path to excellence.” Pressley was sitting next to Dylan Ladner, a senior majoring in atmospheric sciences, at a Campus Recreation staff meeting when they both decided to share the responsibilities of playing the school’s beloved mascot. “We were all over that,” Ladner said. “Logan was the mascot for his high school, and I’m just the kind of person who doesn’t mind putting on a suit and acting ridiculous for everybody.” It’s not as easy as it sounds. “It’s definitely warm,” Pressley admits. “I’d say I get a full body workout. I’m in there for two hours, getting a leg workout dancing and everything. I love

By Hannah Epperson ’11

getting the exercise, even if it’s hot. I’m an athlete; it’s what I do.”

“The head and the feet are probably the most awkward part,” Ladner said. “The feet are pretty big; you put your shoe inside the insert, and then the insert inside the foot.” The oversized head and lack of peripheral vision can be challenging as well.

Contending with the awkward suit posed a particular problem for Ladner, who planned to propose to his girlfriend during halftime at the Coastal Carolina basketball game. So he enlisted Pressley’s help. After coaxing Claire Anderson ’12, Ladner’s girlfriend of two and a half years, onto the court under the pretense of a halftime game of musical chairs, Ladner entered the court in full mascot costume. “Logan had the ring in his pocket,” Ladner said. “I took that from him and got down on one knee, and he took the Rocky head off. And the rest is history.” “It would have been incredibly awkward without Logan’s help,” Ladner said, noting Rocky’s lack of pockets. “I definitely needed him every step of the way.” In case you’re wondering, she said yes. Who could refuse Rocky? Dylan Ladner ’14 suits up as Rocky.



G O , B U L L DO G S !

awards & honors Athletes and coaches

Olympic Hopeful Wells Digs into Volleyball Tryouts

By Mike Gore

distinguish themselves

Castro Named to All-District Team UNC Asheville senior men’s soccer player Bobby Castro was one of 11 student-athletes named to the Capital One Academic AllDistrict 3 Men’s Soccer Division I team by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) in November. This marks the second straight year that Castro has made the All-District 3 team. The four-year starter was Asheville’s leading scorer this season. He has started and played in all 19 of the Bulldogs matches. The Cary native has served as a co-captain for two consecutive years and is majoring in health and wellness promotion.

Teams Support Reading Victories For the sixth year, UNC Asheville’s student-athletes and coaches helped elementary school students in Buncombe County, Asheville City Schools and local charter schools read books over the winter holidays with its Rocky’s Readers program. Student-athletes set the example with the women’s basketball team reading at Pisgah Elementary School, the UNC Asheville cheer and dance team reading with Enka Middle School, and the women’s swimming team working with students at W.D. Williams Elementary. The Rocky’s Readers Program is available through a grant by the Enterprise Holdings Foundation.

UNC Asheville senior volleyball player Rachel Wells recently tried out for the Olympic volleyball team at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

the All-State team. Her 746 digs is the second highest total for a single-season in school history. She set a school record with 54 digs in a match against Radford on Nov. 16.

“This has always been my biggest dream, and making it a reality, I feel so accomplished,” said Wells in a thank you letter to the campus community. “I proudly wore my Bulldog Blue and Asheville gear around, telling many people about the great things going on in our athletics program at UNC Asheville. I know that many doors will open in my future from taking this opportunity.” Wells has already earned national attention, leading the country in digs for the 2013 season, with a 6.38 per set average. This accomplishment resulted in the invitation to try out for the Olympic team. She was notified in March that she will not advance to the next round. The Statesville native was a first-team All-Conference selection this year by the Big South. She also was named to

The UNC Asheville Athletics Department has launched the “Home Run Campaign for Greenwood Baseball Field” with a goal to raise $2.5 million for the expansion and renovations of the facility.

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

Spring 2014


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 and celebrations. Either log on to or send an e-mail to



Kenneth LaMarr Harvey

Thomas H. Burke retired from

retired from the United States Postal Service in 2009 after 30 years of government service.

the University of Georgia as the associate vice president for student affairs. He began a new position as executive assistant to the president for administration at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Arvid Elvin Friberg III is visiting 50 states and 70 countries around the world.



John Woodie retired after more than 30 years working in federal, state and local social services in Eugene, Ore. He is now enjoying a second career as a community health worker.

Greg Newman was appointed district attorney for Henderson, Transylvania and Polk counties by Gov. Pat McCrory in July 2013. He and his family reside in Hendersonville.



Robert C. Miller retired from his position as academic dean at Fork Union Military Academy in September. He and his wife are now residing in Waynesboro, Va.

1969 Thomas M. Hughes retired in 2005 after 30 years in law enforcement.

1974 Paul T. Deason is the deputy director and vice president of support services at the Savannah River Site, which also is a Department of Energy site. He and his wife, Debbie, reside in Aiken, S.C. David Freeman retired after 23 years as director of student publications at Appalachian State University.



America. He also was inducted as district chair at the banquet and serves as the chair of the Eagle Board for Alamance District.


recently retired after 31 years of teaching in North Carolina.

James K. Dills and his wife, Sheri Dills, had a baby boy named John Parker.



Cynthia Yount Geouge

Thomas Steele Jr. received the District Award of Merit on Jan. 16 at the banquet for Alamance District, Old North State Council, Boy Scouts of


Kevin Dunayer is the assistant director for event services at George Mason University.


1989 Neal Wagner is now a computer scientist at the MIT Lincoln Laboratory in the cyber systems and technology group.

1992 Donna Robinson Haynes launched a new company called Tina Vindum’s Outdoor Fitness Destinations.

1993 Jennifer Lee Macias and her husband, Ricardo Macias, had a son, Mark Alexander, on Aug. 25, 2013.

Marietta Marrelli Wright earned a doctoral degree from West Virginia University. She is currently an assistant professor at Waynesburg University.


Jack Newton is the director of outbound product management for Oracle Cloud Social Platform.

1998 Mark Daniel King married Stephanie King on Sept. 28, 2013.

2000 Matthew Samuel Braxton and his wife, Lauren Henry Braxton, had a son named Henry Braxton, on Oct. 2, 2013.

Holly Spencer Bunting and Bryan Bunting welcomed a baby boy, Declan Nathaniel, on June 29, 2013.

2001 Tanner Gamble earned a doctor of education in educational leadership from UNC Greensboro in May 2013. He is the principal at Highcroft Drive Elementary in Cary.

Paige Richardson married

Aminda Byrd Katz and her

Charles Counts in October 2012. She works in the marketing department at Liberty University.

husband, Matt, had a baby girl, Lylah Eris Katz, on Sept. 1, 2013.

1995 Suzanne Lynn Cantando and her husband, Frank Kirschbaum, welcomed a baby girl, Honey Maxine, on Jan. 31. Suzanne is the executive director of Southeast BIO.

Greg Deal is the publisher and editor for the monthly lifestyle magazine Shorelines , which serves the Blueway and Lakeland regions in Georgia and South Carolina. He and his family reside in Greenwood, S.C.

David Wayne Kornegay and his wife, Jill Judd Kornegay, had a baby girl named Harper Jane in August 2013.

2002 Kevin Brinson was appointed director of Delaware Environmental Observing System, the statewide mesometeorological network for Delaware. He also is an associate state climatologist for Delaware.

Bobby Dean Nixon is an assistant professor of Spanish at Columbus State University. Sara Buss Rem and her husband welcomed their second child, Andrew Micah, in August 2013.


second son, Klein Jameson Ballard, on Oct. 17, 2013.

Andrew Heath was recently appointed by Gov. Pat McCrory to be chairman of the North Carolina Industrial Commission.

Morgan Kelly is a science writer for Princeton University. Ken Saunders III is studying

2004 Amber Nycole Brown married Matt Brown on Oct. 19, 2013. Jennifer Coates is selfemployed at Virtual Tours NC, her real estate photography business. John Boyce Blackley Mitchell and Meredith Rymer Mitchell

toward a doctor of ministry in congregational development at Bexley-Seabury Seminary Federation.

welcomed a baby girl, Ava Elizabeth, on Jan. 31.

Calley Stevens Taylor started a new job as the director of student success and retention at Cedar Crest College in Allentown, Penn.

Caroline Zidaroff Allison is

2005 the client service manager for Bayada Home Health Care.


to your Alumni Community With more than 18,000 Bulldogs in the UNC Asheville alumni network, you’ll always be able to find a college connection. Follow us on Facebook to learn about upcoming events

Keep up with the

conversation on Twitter

Get LinkedIn to the Alumni Association for career resources

Judson Ballard and his wife, Tiffanni Ballard, welcomed their

Spring 2014



2006 Jeromy Bullman and his wife welcomed a baby boy, Jaxon Dean, on July 21, 2013. Jeromy is employed as a sales specialist at AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals. Joy Burke and her husband, William, had their second child, a baby girl named Michah Faye, on Aug. 1, 2013.

Tarik Glenn and his wife, Sara Glenn, had a daughter named Charley Reese on Oct. 23, 2013. Matthew Stone was elected to the town of Black Mountain Board of Aldermen in November 2013. Joshua Whitehurst and his wife, Tara Whitehurst, had a baby boy named Tristan on June 7, 2013.

2007 Richard Hogan and Georgiana Lanius Hogan ’08 welcomed a baby boy, Robert Cleveland, on Nov. 5, 2013.

Angela Ramsey is a case manager at the Mary Benson House in Asheville.

Kim Vestal is a real estate agent for Coldwell Banker in Winston-Salem.

Ben Walsh started a new job at the environmental nonprofit Green Seal.

James Wood earned an M.S. at Southern Illinois University. He was a faculty member in biology at Olympic College and is now a Ph.D. student at the University of Georgia.

2008 Kate Sara Caton graduated from Colorado State University in May 2012. She was married on Nov. 2, 2013 and now resides in



Asheville working for Homeward Bound of WNC.

Trisha Close completed a master’s degree in world language instruction at Concordia College in Moorehead, Minn. She teaches Spanish at IMG academy in Bradenton, Fla.

Morgan Militzer Cranford and her husband, Matthew Cranford, welcomed a daughter, Kendall Paige, into the world on May 21, 2010. Morgan currently teaches middle school language arts in Randolph County. Amelia Eakins is an estate planning paralegal at Seifer, Murken, Despina, James & Teichman in San Francisco. Jason Jackson married Samantha Jackson on Nov. 26, 2013.

Daniel Johnson III is a financial planner with Parsec Financial in Asheville.

Adrian Juarez-Garcia works at Baxter Healthcare as a laboratory assistant in Black Mountain. He is married to Lauren Juarez and they have two children.

Morgan Pearson Martin is the associate director of alumni relations at The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Katie Mendez and her husband, Greg, had a baby girl named Abigail on Aug. 13, 2013.

John Post began a National Science Foundation research fellowship on offshore wind energy and is pursuing a Ph.D. in regional planning at the University of Massachusetts.

Caitlin Elizabeth Tolbert received a Ph.D. in cell and development biology from UNCChapel Hill. She has accepted a position in Cancer Research UK at the London Research Institute.


Veronica Watts e-published her first novel, The Healing Year.

Rachel Ann Brothers and Nathan Brothers welcomed

Sara Jane Wheatley married Matthew Wheatley ’06 in

a baby boy, Wesley, on Nov. 20, 2013.

December 2013.

Jennifer Hibbert is the operations manager of the Weather Forecasting Division of Furgo GEOS in Singapore.

Sara Pardys is the communications manager for Zonta International, a nonprofit that seeks to advance the status of women and girls worldwide.

Amanda R. Pritchard graduated magna cum laude from Wilmington University with an M.S. in administration of justice with a concentration in criminal justice.

Alexandra Rhoton is working at the Cade Museum for Creativity + Invention in Gainesville, Fla.

2010 Stephanie Suggs Day and her husband, William Day, welcomed their first baby in November 2013.

Alexandra Fisher is the editor of the website She also is managing the National Arts and Crafts Conference at the Grove Park Inn. Dustin Gill graduated from law school in May 2013.

Nicholas P. Gray is pursuing a master’s degree in industrial design at North Carolina State University.

Marshall Hammer is the videographer at Open Hearts Art Center in Asheville. She recently received a certificate from the JB Media Online Marketing Institute. Natalie Rose Rich currently resides in Nebraska.

2011 Patrick Brown married Miranda Wilson on Dec. 29, 2013.

Lianne Domenic received a master’s degree in book and digital media studies from Leiden University in the Netherlands. She is now working at a small marketing start-up based in Amsterdam.

Sophie Foscue lives on the eastern shore of Maryland and works for an environmental nonprofit, Sassafras River Association.

Bradley Green graduated from law school in December 2013. Ashton Hale is in her second year of graduate school in the clinical mental health counseling program at University of Alabama-Birmingham. She has been inducted into both the academic honor society and the counseling honors society. Anna Lee Oblinger married Mark Steinbuck on June 16, 2012.

Samuel Riddle married Anna Riddle ’12 in 2012. He received a master of public administration from Western Carolina University in May 2013 and is a budget analyst for Buncombe County Schools. Anna is a certified public accountant.

Anne Marie Roberts graduated from UNC Greensboro with a M.S. in education in December 2013.

John Williams and Dawn Williams were married on Oct. 27, 2013. They reside in Burnsville, and he plays basketball for the Harlem Globetrotters.


Second Glance Two Generations of Alumni Pursue Medical Careers By Karen Shugart ’99

When Dr. Greg Glance was a UNC Asheville freshman in the late 1970s, the student body included fewer than 1,500 people. By the time his daughter, Dr. Sara Glance, enrolled in 2005, the school had grown to more than 3,300 students.

Still, UNC Asheville’s distinguishing features remained constant: “The things that have remained the same, at least as I can tell through my kids, are the small class sizes and a lot of connection with professors, which I think was invaluable. I think they do as well,” Greg Glance said. These unchanging strengths have aided the father and daughter in their careers as physicians. Today, both say their UNC Asheville experiences contributed to their success in medical school and beyond. UNC Asheville has been a collegiate home for members of the Glance family since the late 1970s, when the elder enrolled. He lived off-campus, as most students did then, and studied chemistry and biology. Professors like S. Dexter Squibb in the Chemistry Department and John M. McCoy and John C. Bernhardt in the Biology Department stoked his interest in the sciences and in medicine. “The intensiveness of the chemistry and biology programs certainly made the first two years of medical school a lot easier,” he said.

Greg Glance ’81, Sara Glance ’09, Brett Caldwell (Sara’s fiance) and Tyler Glance ’14 celebrate Sara’s graduation from Wake Forest School of Medicine in 2013

Twenty-seven years later, Sara in Charlotte, having graduated in May Glance also would find instructors 2013 from Wake Forest University who helped the budding physician School of Medicine in Winston-Salem. find her way. This time it was in the Like her father, a fellow Wake Forest Department of Health and “UNC Asheville has been a big part of my Wellness. She was placed family’s life.” —Greg Glance ’81 in a freshman colloquial class graduate, she plans to practice outwith Barry Fox, a lecturer in the department whom she credits with patient, primary care medicine. her interest in the Hippocrates Other members of the Glance family Student Organization. found different academic focuses. Her The Health and Wellness Department, brother, Tyler Glance, is a senior at she recalled, helped shaped how she UNC Asheville studying psychology. would later hope to practice. It taught And her mom, Sherry Lynn Glance, her how to focus on the whole person earned a degree in sociology in 2000. and not just a disease process. She passed away in 2011. She and her husband had stayed involved in “It was just different than a chemistry the university’s Parents Council, and or biology major,” she said. “It taught he has served on UNC Asheville’s me more about preventative mediFoundation Board of Directors. cine and nutrition, which I could use later on in medical care.” “UNC Asheville has been a big part of my family’s life,” said Greg Glance. Today, she is in her first year of residency at Carolinas Medical Center

Spring 2014



2012 Matthew David Brown married Amber Brown. They both teach at Dana Elementary School in Hendersonville, where he is in his second year of teaching the fourth grade.

Alexandra Goode completed

Gabriella Marino is pursuing

graduate school and started a public health career in Burlington, Vt.

her master’s degree in French at the University of Connecticut, where she also teaches French language courses and French cinema to undergraduates.

Katja Greeson is the state party victory fund coordinator for the Democratic National Committee.

Courtney Galatioto is an

Caitlin Halloran is the assistant

associate for stakeholder engagement at the Alliance to Save Energy.

director of alumni relations at Swarthmore College in Philadelphia.


working toward his MBA at the University of Florida.

Jenny Santangelo Bardoczi is currently working as an English teacher at Karinthy Secondary School in Budapest, Hungary.

Brittany Curtis has accepted a position at Workforce NYC.

Brent Matthew Allison and his wife, Jennifer, welcomed their second child in November. He is

Charles Marshall started a community therapeutic massage center in Asheville.

A Different Dialogue Amarra Ghani Takes on “The Race Card” Project with NPR How would you summarize

a thought on your identity in six words? It’s a challenge that Amarra Ghani took up while interning at NPR’s The Race Card Project with star journalist Michele Norris. And it’s a challenge that Ghani offered to her audience at a recent campus lecture. Ghani, a December 2012 graduate and co-founder of the Muslim Student Association, came back to UNC Asheville in January to talk about her experience with the groundbreaking radio program. “It’s a good exercise and a good ice breaker,” Ghani says. “Basically, you have six words and you sum up your race, experience, your identity or what you think about race. … It’s almost like poetry.” After earning her degree in mass communication, Ghani was chosen in August for a competitive internship

at NPR in Washington, D.C., where she worked as a production assistant on Morning Edition and All Things Considered. For Ghani, dialogue about race starts with honesty. “Saying, you and I are the same isn’t giving the word ‘race’ a fair definition. In most of my work and educational spaces, I was the only Muslim or the only person of South-Asian descent, and that was (and is) OK. Instead of always finding similarities, let’s embrace and celebrate our differences.” At NPR, she’s been able to explore that dialogue, encourage it in meetings and express herself. Her six words? “Don’t talk to me about diversity,” she says, with both humor and seriousness, particularly since she championed the topic at UNC Asheville.

“Basically, you have six words and you sum up your race, experience, your identity or what you think about race. … It’s almost like poetry.” —Amarra Ghani ’13



By Rebecca Sulock ’00

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., to Pakistani parents, Ghani found the student body at UNC Asheville respectful of her identity and embracing of the mission of the Muslim Student Organization, which she started with a Jewish student. “My first year there I was the only student who wore a head cover,” she says. Instead of trying to blend in, she focused on celebrating her uniqueness, and that of others. “It’s about how different we are and how being different is OK,” she says. “That’s an accurate representation, a better narrative.”


Krystal McCarthy has moved to Charlotte and started a new job in child care.

Stephanie Sine is a meteorologist at WHAG in Maryland, covering Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.

2014 Ian Graham is the human resource coordinator/ recruiter for the Mets baseball organization.

I n M em o riam Helen Cole Charbonneau ’40, October 2013 Amos “Dan” Foster ’47, November 2013 Phyllis Cogburn Parris ’53, December 2013 Mary J. Perkins ’66, November 2013 Ralph Leon Gaffney ’73, December 2013 Ellen Grafing Carscaddon ’78, August 2013 Carlton Robert Mott ’80, September 2013 David Scott Kulju ’93, December 2013 Rebecca Rimmer ’97, September 2013 Charles Wesley Kelly Jr. ’98, January 2014 Joshua Edward Meade ’04, September 2013

to excellence Each stride you took at UNC Asheville put you one step closer to your goals. Now help pave the way to excellence for future students with a personalized paver. Your unique message, carved in stone, will become a permanent part of UNC Asheville’s campus and honor your legacy for generations to come. Pavers will be located outside of the Wilma M. Sherrill Center and along Alumni Walk near the Justice Center. Each 12” by 12” square costs $230, with net proceeds used to fund scholarships at UNC Asheville.

To order, contact or visit

mountains “ The around Asheville have always been special to us. Our hope is that students would see our paver and take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors right in their backyard.

—Lisa & Ben Walsh ’07

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

Spring 2014


O f f T he Page

Fearless First Steps A Movement to Change the World Starts at Commencement During my December 2013 commencement speech, I encouraged the newest class of UNC Asheville graduates to change the world by being fearless, which I described as being willing to take the first step. We did this together, with a quick lesson in Zumba dancing, and in doing so, changed the world of commencement speeches, in which one usually sits and listens. To some of my friends, this fearless leadership of a Zumba dance might come as a surprise, but not to those who laughed with me as I worked to become a licensed Zumba instructor. Many times they danced too, finding the fun in our shared endeavor and exercise. Of course, with any challenge, including my personal quest to learn Zumba, we must be willing to fail. And, indeed, I did, every day as I watched the good dancers in the class moving one way while I, at least three beats behind, headed the other. Still, I took the next step, fearlessly continuing to have fun with my friends. So what happened? Without a plan, with just one step at a time, I reached my goal. I earned my license and now lead a Zumba class for faculty and staff and another for the Osher Lifelong Learning Center. In my “Zumba for People with Two Left Feet” class, we take one fearless step at a time.

By Mary Lynn Manns

Learning from others is important, but perhaps there are  times when it’s better to learn from yourself by observing what happens when you just take a step. Success is important but sometimes failure is more import ant—followed by sincere reflection, it gives us a robust opportunity to learn. Perhaps we should embrace our failures along the way of just taking one step at a time. So, do you have something you would love to do but your reasons for not doing so include a lack of talent or time? How about using the “f” words that I proposed during the commencement speech? What would happen if you stop being overwhelmed by a lofty goal or a rigorous plan and just fearlessly take a step and then another and another? What would happen if you found friends to help, to laugh with you when you trip and be a shoulder to cry on when you’re down? What would happen if you welcome each failure as a learning opportunity? And what would happen if you allowed yourself to have a little more fun? What would happen if you changed “I must follow this plan” to “I must take a step”? With each step, whether you succeed or whether you fail and learn from it, either way, this moves you forward.

This may seem like a trivial example, but it allowed me to ponder some lessons worth sharing. Setting a goal is usually necessary,  but sometimes it can paralyze us. Perhaps there are times when we can put our goal in the back of our mind and just take a step. Creating a plan is often helpful. But  it can get in the way—when things don’t work as planned, we get discouraged and may even quit. Perhaps there are times when we shouldn’t spend as much time planning as just taking a step.



Mary Lynn Manns, professor in the Department of Management and Accountancy, is the 2013 recipient of the UNC Asheville Alumni Distinguished Faculty award. Her co-authored book, Fearless Change: Patterns for Introducing New Ideas, was featured on the “Books that Changed My Career” list on Her second co-authored book, More Fearless Change, is scheduled to be released in 2014.

Watch the first steps from Commencement and share your stories at

“I was motivated by the great programs, the place, and the funding I received.” —Caroline Ketcham ’14, Laurels Scholar

UNC Asheville senior Caroline Ketcham understands that economic growth and environmental sustainability aren’t mutually exclusive. She’s combined the two in a major in environmental studies with a minor in economics, a creative combination that has led to internships with the National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center and UNC Asheville’s Office of Sustainability. She’s also written the narrative for GroWNC, a project focused on economic competitiveness and job creation for the region. Real-world experience with local impact. That’s today’s liberal arts.

Se riously Cre at iv e Visit us at

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

Homecoming 2014

With a theme of “Bulldogs on Broadway: Lift Your Voices High,” UNC Asheville’s 2014 Homecoming brought out the cheers for the university, with the Cheer & Dance Team leading the way at the annual parade around campus. (Photo by Peter Lorenz)



Burlington, VT Permit No. 19

UNC Asheville Magazine Spring 2014  

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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