Page 1


asheville Volume 11, No. 1 WINTER 2018


Leading the Way Nancy J. Cable Joins the Bulldogs as UNC Asheville’s Eighth Chancellor INSIDE

On the Trail with Campus Recreation Your Ultimate Class Schedule

contents 20

Your Ultimate Class Schedule A look at UNC Asheville’s award-winning faculty (Photo by Adam Taylor)




Thought Leaders Great minds converge on campus

New Directions Discovering the trails with Campus Recreation


From the Mountains to the Hill Alumni networking in Washington, D.C.



29 36 41


ON THE COVER: Bulldog student-leaders Elizabeth Conte,

Taylor Hinson, Nikolai Wise, Kaylene Lee (front row), Katherine Duquiatan, Blanton Gillespie, and Tyree McFalling (back row) with Chancellor Nancy J. Cable (center). (Photo by Adam Taylor)


Nancy J. Cable

LETTER from the Chancellor




Karin Peterson





John Pierce

I am deeply grateful for the energetic and


warm welcome I have received over these

Laura Herndon

past six months from so many of you, and


the fall semester has flown by all too quickly.

Janet R. Cone

I have been so impressed by the quality


and dedication of our faculty, the zest and

Clifton Williams

intellectual curiosity of our students, and the


extraordinary partnerships we at Asheville’s University have with our

Sarah Broberg

community partners such as the MLK Jr. Association of Asheville and


Buncombe County, the city and county schools, MAHEC, the Eastern Band


Shannon C. Earle


Elizabeth Saxman Underwood ’01


of Cherokee Indians, and Mission Health, among many others. I am proud of the many ways that the university makes an impact every day in places near and far, educating our students and serving this state and region in its workforce and thoughtforce needs through the intellectual capital of our faculty, the volunteerism of our students, the commitment of


our staff, and the significant grants we received from organizations such

Amy Jessee

as the CDC and most recently the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to


advance the health and well-being of our surrounding counties.

Hannah Epperson ’11 MLAS ’18 ART DIRECTOR

Hanna Trussler ’13

From our musical and dramatic productions to our academic work in


biology, mechatronics, chemistry, classics, history, Africana studies, and

Susan Lippold WEB DESIGN

new media, among many other disciplines, our liberal arts and sciences

Casey Hulme ’05

curriculum teaches students the critical thinking and sharp analytical and


contextual skills to be ready to advance our democracy and our workforce

Emma Anderson ’16, Morgan Bradley ’19, Hannah Epperson ’11 MLAS ’18, Mike Gore, Brian Hand, Casey Hulme ’05, Steve Plever, Colin Reeve, Peyton Rodgers ’20

needs. Ours is an empowering curriculum that educates students for lifelong aptitudes and skills.


Brian Black ’18, Adrian Etheridge ‘15, Emmanuel Figaro ’18, Peter Lorenz, Colby Rabon, Adam Taylor

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 magazine@unca.edu.

Address Changes Office of University Advancement & Alumni Giving • alumni@unca.edu CPO #3800 • UNC Asheville • One University Heights • Asheville, NC 28804 UNC Asheville enrolls more than 3,800 full- and part-time students in more than 30 programs leading to the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees. The University of North Carolina at Asheville is committed to equality of educational experiences for students and is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer. UNC Asheville does not discriminate against students, applicants or employees on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, age, disability, political affiliation or any other legally protected status. To make a report to the university, contact the Title IX Office at 828.258.5658 or visit titleix.unca.edu. © UNC Asheville, January 2019 30,000 copies of this magazine were printed at a cost of $16,607 or 55 cents each.

Frankly, I believe that I have the best job in the university, as I have the privilege to work with so many dedicated and smart faculty, staff, and students to deepen and advance the impact of our teaching, research, and service across the region and around the globe. I am so deeply honored by this opportunity. I hope that you will be able to join us on April 26 for the installation activities that will celebrate this exceptional university in multiple ways. Thanks for your ongoing interest and support. With dedication and gratitude to each of you,

Nancy J. Cable, Ph.D. Chancellor WINTER 2018


B I G PI C TU RE Core members of the UNC Asheville team that brought "Wake" to life, from left: Art student Jeb Hedgecock, and May 2018 mechatronics engineering graduates Kyle Ward, Kaitlin Thomas, Brittany Hand, Jacob Fink, Zoe Rorvig and Elijah Nonamaker.



IN THE WAKE OF WAKE Standing amid the giant video advertisements and bustling crowds on Broadway, Wake , with its figurehead of Jenny Lind and the ribs of a giant ship or marine mammal, was unveiled on July 13, 2018, as the largest public art installation ever in New York City’s Times Square and the culmination of a year’s work by UNC Asheville’s STEAM Studio and an interdisciplinary team of students, faculty, and community artists, led by Mel Chin. The installation was on view in Times Square through Sept. 5, 2018. “Large numbers of people stop, stare, think (I hope!), and make themselves at home in the sculpture’s ribs. While your team has returned to North Carolina along with Mel Chin, their collective impact is still here and being felt,” wrote Times Square Alliance President Tim Tompkins in a letter congratulating the team.

(Photo by Adam Taylor)

See more at unca.edu/wake






PIECES OF HOME Our newest Bulldogs brought a few of their favorite items to campus on move-in day, from the essentials to the sentimental. ROW ONE: Haylea Womack (When you can’t have a real dog in your room, a stuffed animal makes a great, low-maintenance pet.)

Jacob Thome (He brought his own robot to kick off his engineering classes.)

Alyssa Killingsworth (She was excited to try out her new bike on campus!)

ROW TWO: Thomas Moriarty (He brought his rock climbing gear to start exploring our mountains.)

Maggie Pasour (Photos of her friends and family had us feeling teary-eyed.)

Nicole Matute-Villagrana (She never had to buy her own toilet paper before! Welcome to adulthood, Nicole.)

ROW THREE: Delaney Sinclair (Creating a stress-free zone.)

Michael Murray (He couldn’t live without his gaming computer!)

David Creech (He was putting together a solid recording station.)

Photos by Emmanuel Figaro ’18 WINTER 2018



Deborah (Dee) Grier-James, Charles James, Dwight Mullen, and Dolly Jenkins-Mullen at the naming ceremony for the Mullen & James Humanities Hall.

MULLEN & JAMES Humanities Hall Naming Honors Pioneering Faculty

The Humanities Lecture Hall has a new name, or new names to be more accurate – in honor of faculty members as familiar and legendary to students as the subjects they taught for more than three decades on campus. Political scientists Dolly Jenkins-Mullen and Dwight Mullen, Chemistry Professor Charles James and English Professor Deborah (Dee) Grier-James all retired in May 2018, having served as UNC Asheville faculty since 1984. They were among the university’s first AfricanAmerican faculty members, recruited as part of an effort to diversify the faculty. Now their legacy on campus lives on with the naming the Humanities Lecture Hall as the Mullen & James Humanities Hall. “What an honor it is for us to honor four of the finest minds, hearts and spirits to have ever come to the University of North Carolina at Asheville,” said Chancellor Nancy J. Cable, at the Oct. 19 dedication ceremony, her words interrupted by a long, loud standing ovation. Board Vice Chair Rick Lutovsky then read the trustees’ resolution to name the building, a six-minute-long list of the Mullens’ and Jameses’ accomplishments. “After this resolution was approved,” said Lutovsky, “the trustees all looked at each other and there was a silent moment of reflection on ‘what have we done in our lives?’” In their first decade on the faculty, the Mullens and Jameses worked together to create the African-American Colloquium, a program designed to create community and support for first-year African American students on campus. The colloquium included classes, tutoring, mentoring, and advising, along with special annual trips to places around the country. And as members of the faculty, they were just getting started. Dee and Charles James’ time on campus actually began long before that, as undergraduates. Dee recalled her challenging experience as one of two AfricanAmerican women who were the first to live in a UNC Asheville residence hall – the




here in spite of the unknowns changed the course of this university’s history, and has transformed the very soul of this university … They committed their lives to pave the way for successive generations.” Charles was instrumental in developing the university’s popular study-abroad program in Ghana. The program has received the Best Practices in International Education Award for Study Abroad Programming from NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. Boakye-Boaten, with his wife, Associate Professor of Education Tiece Ruffin, now leads the Ghana program. Dee is best known for her role in nurturing the writing skills of UNC Asheville students. She was director of the FirstYear Writing Program and had an important role in creating and leading UNC Asheville’s Writing Center. In 2016, she was given the Alumni Distinguished Faculty Award. The Mullens are both known for their mentoring of students and their impact on the city of Asheville. Dolly led the political science internship program and was given the Alumni Distinguished Faculty Award in 2009. She also has served as vice chair of the Asheville City School Board.

Agya Boakye-Boaten, associate professor of Africana Studies and director of Interdisciplinary, International, & Africana Studies Programs at UNC Asheville, and Dwight Mullen, professor emeritus of political science, speak at the ceremony.

other student left after six weeks. Dee endured because of her own spirit, and with the help of Dean Alice Wutschel, who told her she was a pioneer. “I don’t want to be a pioneer,” Dee recalled saying. “I just want to go someplace where I can see black people walking around looking normal in the world – because I’m tired of people looking at me like they’ve never seen any black people – most of the people I lived with had not.” Dee did find another African-American student on campus – her future husband Charles James. The two married right after graduation, and returned a decade later to join the faculty – she in English and he in chemistry. They could be spotted holding hands walking on the Quad in any of the last three decades you choose, and that led them to be described as lovebirds by Associate Professor of Africana Studies Agya Boakye-Boaten, who offered a tribute to the couple. “Our elders were some of the pioneering African Americans to grace this university with their humanity, humility and tenacity,” he said. “Their decision to come

Dwight is best known for his long-running State of Black Asheville project, in which he mentored students in researching racial disparities in Asheville. That research was presented to the meeting of the Buncombe County Commissioners in 2017 in which the commissioners voted unanimously to create the Isaac Coleman Economic Community Investment Fund. “I’ve given so many lectures in here,” Dwight said at the ceremony, recalling each humanities course he taught. And pointing to the plaque with his name on it, he said, “The only change I’d make is that this is the ‘Hall of Humanity.’ Because when you say ‘humanities,’ you’re talking about a European concept that places the world with humans being centered and I’m not sure I view the world like that. And if I did, it certainly would be in a much more multidimensional sense than what humanities originally was. And that was a struggle here, expanding that understanding. … Some of the most profound ideas were being confronted here – ideas that challenge not just how we do things, but who, internally, you are. … The idea of learning who you are, I see embodied in my students and this place is a crucible where that happened.” The Mullen & James Humanities Hall, now offline during renovations to the adjacent Carmichael Hall, will reopen in 2020 as a place where students’ ideas about the world are challenged and broadened through the university’s continually-evolving Humanities Program.




RESEARCH ENTERPRISE Grants to UNC Asheville Increase in 2018 Each year, UNC Asheville brings in millions of dollars in grant funding to support scholarly and creative endeavors— $3.4 million in fiscal year 2018 to be exact. Much of it goes directly to faculty support, as principal investigators and project directors, or staff positions are added when new programs materialize. Some of it is used to purchase state-of-the art equipment. At least 8 percent is shared with community partners, and another 11 percent goes to student employment or activities. Together, it’s becoming a research enterprise, supported by Ed Katz, UNC Asheville’s Chief Research Officer; Charlotte Smith in the Office of Grants and Research Development; Louis Toms in the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs; and Steven Birkhofer in the Office of the Special Funds Accountant—all of whom work together to guide innovators through the grants process from start to finish. Their collaborative approach mirrors the approach taken by many of the researchers who step into their offices. Funding agencies want to see that collaboration,” said Smith. “They know that one discipline isn’t going to solve our big problems…. and quite a few faculty and staff here at UNC Asheville are already working with this multidisciplinary approach.” A few of the solutions stemming from recent work include the establishment of UNC Asheville’s Prison Education Program, funded through a $195,000 grant from the Laughing Gull

Foundation and co-directed by Regine Criser, assistant professor of German, and Patrick Bahls, honors program director and professor of mathematics, which will serve 15 students at the Avery-Mitchell Correctional Facility over three years. An Interdisciplinary Research Leaders (IRL) grant totaling $350,000 from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will fund community collaborators Je’Wana Grier-McEachin, executive director of the Asheville Buncombe Institute of Parity Achievement (ABIPA), Ameena Batada, associate professor of health and wellness at UNC Asheville, and Jill Fromewick, research scientist at the Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) in their research on perceptions of racism and health among African Americans in rural Western North Carolina, over the course of the three-year grant. They don’t work alone, particularly at UNC Asheville, where a strong teaching mission means students become participants in the process, whether through in-class discussions or hands-on experience on the projects. “There’s an added benefit when faculty connect their research to their classes,” said Katz. “We are helping our students learn how to make knowledge.” Making it is in the mission of UNC Asheville’s STEAM Studio, which secured a second grant from the Windgate Foundation this fall. The nearly $2 million in funding over three years will support a continuing partnership with the Center for Craft, expand teen mentorship and making programs, build

THE BIG ONES (AND TWOS AND THREES…) UNC Asheville faculty secured more than $3.5 million in grant funding through fall 2018, with four major projects expanding the university’s capacity in STEAM education and community engagement, local health initiatives and partnerships, and statewide support for a continuum of care for adults.


from the Windgate Foundation to elevate craft and collaborative making on campus and in the community and fund new positions in UNC Asheville’s STEAM Studio.




from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for research on perceptions of racism and health among African Americans in rural Western North Carolina.


annually for five years from the CDC to initiate and support arthritis awareness and programs for people with arthritis in communities across the state.


from the Laughing Gull Foundation to establish UNC Asheville’s Prison Education Program, offering three-year credit curriculum for 15 students at Avery-Mitchell Correctional Institute.


community gallery spaces and a national craft innovation hub in downtown Asheville, and provide operational support for creative placekeeping and field building initiatives, locally and across the United States. “We offer mentorship through making, service learning and collaboration, whether it’s helping an individual or assisting an organization to fortify and build their work to transform our community. It’s part of our mission as Asheville’s university to support these vital community organizations and to give them a place where they can make their ideas a reality,” said project lead, Brent Skidmore, one of the collaborative co-founders of STEAM Studio and the university’s Public Arts and Humanities Chair, as well as associate professor of art and art history.

#UNCAVLEXPLORES Alexandra van Dorsten wins Instagram Contest This past summer, we asked our Bulldogs to share their best Western North Carolina landscape photos on Instagram for a chance to be featured in the UNC Asheville Magazine .

Supporting the vitality of research is a statewide effort for UNC Asheville, which as part of the UNC System, has a goal of $2.7 million in research funding by 2022. UNC Asheville expects to meet this goal, and Research and Sponsored Programs also tracks external funding for all sponsored programs and cooperative endeavors, in addition to research funding. That means there’s more going on in terms of scholarly and creative endeavors. The UNC Asheville Foundation also attracts significant external resources for the university, managed and overseen by Major Gifts Officer Adarrell Gadsden. There’s also a synergy coming from UNC Asheville’s centers, such as the North Carolina Center for Health and Wellness, which this fall was awarded a grant from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to initiate and support arthritis awareness and programs for people with arthritis in communities across the state. The grant will provide $250,000-500,000 annually for five years with a goal of reaching more than 174,000 North Carolinians. It’s extending UNC Asheville expertise and reach, but it’s also impacting individuals where they live and thrive. According to Smith, it’s one more example of UNC Asheville grant generation as community engagement. “The Mellon Foundation grant is a great example,” said Smith in reference to the 2017 grant totaling $700,000 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support a range of partners including the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center, initiatives in Affrilachia including the annual African Americans in WNC and Southern Appalachia Conference, and stimulate new partnerships with educational institutions through the hallmark Humanities Program. “It’s making UNC Asheville a catalyzer of public liberal arts in the Asheville community, through annual conferences, ongoing partnerships, and faculty and student work.”

Biology majors Tsaiwei Cheng ’16 and Alexandra van Dorsten ’16 went from study buddies to best friends in a summer physics class. They discovered a mutual love of the mountains through UNC Asheville’s Outdoor Programs, taking sunrise hikes (like the one pictured of Tsaiwei with her pup Schpoozi at Craggy Pinnacle) and sunset bike rides to unwind, with breathtaking views as their backdrop.





Overlook Hall Renamed for Chancellor Emerita Chancellor Emerita Anne Ponder led the largest building program in UNC Asheville’s history, and this summer one of those buildings received a new name in her honor. Overlook Hall, a residential building completed in 2012, is now Ponder Hall. The building naming announced in summer 2018 befit not only UNC Asheville’s second-longest serving chancellor and her work during her nineyear tenure at the university, but also her vision for UNC Asheville’s students and alumni. “I want our graduates to experience ‘ponder’ as a verb,” she said. “I want them to have a fully developed capacity to think deeply and well, in these rapid and accelerating times, I want this and future generations of students to be able to slow down, to dwell with an idea, even one diametrically opposite to their initial feelings.”


Highsmith Student Union Renovations Completed

It’s customary to enjoy a sweet tea on the front porch, but coffee might be needed for those 8 a.m. classes. The renovated Highsmith Student Union has you covered, with Roasted Coffee House and the Student Life Porch that opened in the fall. Construction on the addition continues through the winter.






Buncombe County Commissioner Al Whitesides presented the Order of the Long Leaf Pine award to Miles at a June 14, 2018 celebration for the Center for Diversity Education

Deborah Miles, founding director of UNC Asheville’s Center for Diversity Education, retired last fall and was named to the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the highest civilian honor bestowed by the governor of North Carolina. Miles created the Center for Diversity Education 23 years ago as a project of the Asheville Jewish Community Center; the center became part of UNC Asheville in 2013. Providing workshops in schools, training for teachers, staging exhibitions and more, the center has brought learning about inclusion and equity to communities, schools and organizations throughout Western North Carolina, seeking to foster conversation and respect among cultures. As a search for a new director is underway, the center is led by Darin Waters, who has been recently appointed as executive director of community engagement at UNC Asheville. An associate professor of history, Waters specializes in the history of race relations in both the United States and Latin America. Locally, he hosts the annual African Americans in Western North Carolina and Southern Appalachia Conference at UNC Asheville, now in its fifth year, and

is the producer and co-host of the Waters and Harvey Show, a weekly program that airs on the Blue Ridge Public Radio station in Asheville, and is available as a podcast on iTunes and Google Play. For his work, Waters was awarded The Old North State Award by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper in 2018. UNC Asheville’s North Carolina Center for Health and Wellness (NCCHW) has a new director too, with Professor Amy Joy Lanou adding the leadership role to her plate. A professor who has served on the faculty for 13 years, Lanou will continue to teach courses, do research and chair the university’s Department of Health and Wellness as well. A leading advocate for plant-based diets, who frequently appears in national and international media coverage of nutrition issues, she is the co-author of two books for general audiences, Building Bone Vitality and Healthy Eating for Life for Children, and numerous scholarly articles. The center, which has offices in Asheville and Raleigh, focuses on Healthy Aging NC and Culture of Results.

Middle and high school students spend their summer as scientists Middle and high school students from all around Buncombe County spent two weeks this summer as scientists at UNC Asheville’s “Science on the Move” summer camp, as part of the Migrant Education Program at Buncombe County Schools. The new program is designed to help close the “opportunity gap” in science education and exposure to college for rural, migrant youth in Buncombe County, thanks to a $174,948 grant from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. Every day included new scientific activities for the students, both indoors and outdoors, from building a potato battery to dissolving eggshells in vinegar to tie-dyeing bandanas with natural dyes made from blueberries and turmeric. And the program is just getting started, with two more summers planned. PHOTO BY TIM REAVES, BUNCOMBE COUNTY SCHOOLS


Caring for the Heart and Health of the State



Here you had the chance to learn the basic marks of a truly well-educated person and professional: critical thinking; a knowledge that a better set of questions is more useful and more worthy than to have all the ‘right’ answers; that writing and speaking clearly have value for your life as well as for your job prospects; and that having curiosity about how and why things work is many more times valuable than to learn workplace skills alone that may be extinct in but a few years.” — Nancy J. Cable

UNC Asheville’s Eighth Chancellor at the December 2018 Commencement

Opposite: (Top) Visiting writer and founding member of the Affrilachian Poets Frank X Walker speaks at the Reuter Center on Sept. 25. (Bottom Left) Chancellor Cable meets with our neighbors from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, including alumna Lynne Harlan ’88.



(Bottom Right) Culinary historian Michael Twitty in conversation with Professor of English Erica Abrams Locklear at the annual Farm-toTable Dinner on the Quad.


I n fall 2018, UNC Asheville welcomed authors and artists, historians well-versed in the past and creative makers of the future, as well as higher education experts, including our eighth Chancellor Nancy J. Cable. In welcoming everyone to campus, we gleaned knowledge and shared wisdom, further defining UNC Asheville’s role as a leader in the liberal arts and sciences. Here, we share a few of their words. Read more about events on campus and in the community at unca.edu/events.



(Top) UNC Asheville Interim Provost Karin Peterson, Interdisciplinary Research Leaders and community collaborators Je’Wana Grier-McEachin, executive director of the Asheville Buncombe Institute of Parity Achievement (ABIPA), Ameena Batada, associate professor of health and wellness at UNC Asheville, UNC Asheville Chancellor Nancy J. Cable, student researcher Dasia Jefferson ’20, a UNC Asheville health and wellness major from Charlotte, and Jill Fromewick, research scientist at the Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) announce a $350,000 Interdisciplinary Research Leaders (IRL) grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. (Bottom Left) The monks of the Drepung Loseling Monastery returned to campus Oct. 22-26 as part of their The Mystical Arts of Tibet world tour. (Bottom Right) Appalachian studies scholar William H. Turner gives the Jesse and Julia Ray Lecture at the fifth annual African Americans in WNC and Southern Appalachia Conference.



The definition of higher education is going to be your ability to understand what is your role in changing our world or what is your role in leading…. That is why you are all here. When you put together your applications, you got accepted to one of the premier institutions in the country. They expect you to lead. They expect you to walk out of this place not just with a GPA but with a GPS and an idea about how you plan on leading.” — Wes Moore

Author of The Other Wes Moore, UNC Asheville’s 2018 summer reading selection, speaking in Lipinsky Auditorium





It’s a campus tradition that occurs miles and mountains away. Students know it by its Bulldog name— pre-rendezblue—the first-year program held every August before classes start that helps incoming students explore their new home, from urban adventures in downtown Asheville to wilderness experiences in the National Forest. One hundred percent of the students participating in the wilderness experience say the program helps them succeed at UNC Asheville. They connect around common interests, get a jump start on the transition to college, and bring newfound expertise back to the classroom and back to the trail, particularly for the students who sign up to lead the adventures the next year.



(Left) Leader Liam Gayter points towards the view of Looking Glass Rock.


(Right) Students explore the mountain trails surrounding Asheville.

A LONG DAY of exploring the outdoors is hungry work. When the time has come to sit down and enjoy a meal outside, check your bag for all your tasty treats, wrap it all in a tortilla and you can enjoy your own unique combinations. Favorites might include peanut butter, pretzels, jelly, trail mix, or anything you might have bouncing around the bottom of your backpack. EACH PACK of 10 or 12 Bulldogs receives a colored bandana to help recognize their group, and to foster a collaborative environment. Each colorful pack has a unique name that only they understand, like “Raisin Bran” or “Banana Cult”—and they learn how to work as a team and accomplish goals together.

WHEN THE DAY is done, the Bulldogs take some time to sit by the fire—or a “Nalgene fire,” which is a headlamp inside a Nalgene water bottle—and enjoy skits by students and leaders. Bulldog creativity gets to shine with an evening talent show!



(This page) Students canoe around Lake Junaluska where a water fight ensues.



(Top) Leader Samantha Creech brings her ukelele on the trails to play during break times. (Bottom) Students celebrate reaching High Falls.

THE PATH AHEAD Even after Bulldogs have taken their first steps onto campus and through the Blue Ridge Mountains, their journey continues with UNC Asheville’s Campus Recreation and Outdoor Programs, which also has a new leader this year. WENDY MOTCH-ELLIS comes to campus as the new director of campus recreation, after serving 12 years in campus recreation work at UCLA and serving NIRSA, the professional association for campus recreation. She’s especially interested in wellness on campus, and in the role that outdoor programs can play, giving credit to the team in place. “Leah Belt, associate director (an alum ‘06) and Phil German, assistant director, bring our outdoor programs to life through their mentorship and guidance of our amazing students in Campus Recreation’s Outdoor Leadership Program.” That goal of getting everyone active and outside fits perfectly with Campus Recreation’s Outdoor Programs which offers trips for UNC Asheville students including climbing, kayaking, backpacking, caving, skiing, mountain mindfulness, fly fishing and rafting. The program also teaches the Outdoor Leadership Training Program (OLTP), which is a four-credit opportunity for students to learn about leading others in the outdoors

and is a great start for students who want to become pre-rendezblue trip leaders. The program lasts a full year and involves classroom learning, wilderness medicine training, field training in backpacking, kayaking and climbing. Campus Recreation also offers a team-building program through low-challenge course initiatives and group development activities. For their own adventures, students, faculty, and staff can rent gear and equipment from Campus Recreation, including everything from renting commuter and mountain bikes at the on-campus Bike Shop to checking out tents and sleeping bags for overnight adventures. “Our future goals for the program are to continue to offer UNC Asheville students opportunities to grow through experiential learning and to provide them with the skills necessary to have a safe and impactful experience in the outdoors,” MotchEllis said. 4






IT’S 8 A.M. ON REGISTR ATION DAY, and you’re already hitting “refresh” on OnePort, with your list of class RAN numbers in hand, ready to sign up for your next semester of courses. You’ve got your Humanities class, a few courses for your major, maybe even a class or two just for fun—but what you’re really excited about are your professors. Will you manage to snag a seat in the class with that professor everyone loves? Or will you end up finding a new favorite? Each year exceptional professors are honored by their peers with UNC Asheville’s Excellence in Teaching Awards. They are educators from every discipline, each with their own particular teaching method. Here’s a look at what your ideal schedule might look like with each of these award-winning professors:

Monday, 8 a.m.

Foundations of Physical Chemistry Bert Holmes, Board of Governors’ 2018 Award for Excellence in Teaching Bert Holmes, UNC Asheville’s Carson Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, has a warning about his physical chemistry class. “No one takes this course for fun.” The advanced chemistry class is tough, that’s no exaggeration. Between the complicated concepts and equations and Holmes’ booming voice, it’s easy to see how the course could be intimidating. But Holmes can’t help but make the class at least a little fun. “He’s a big teddy bear,” says senior chemistry major David Chen. “He seems very intimidating, but he’s very helpful, and he’s very, very nice.” Holmes jokes with his students throughout the class, throwing out questions, helping his

students work through the challenging material without fear of giving the wrong answer. He works through a chemical equation on the board, asking his students to fill in the information and solve the steps together, even when they get stumped. “Say something, even if it’s wrong or stupid,” Holmes teases. “I won’t make fun of you.” Outside of the classroom, Holmes is known for his work with students and undergraduate research. In the last 20 years he’s worked with dozens of undergraduate researchers, and published 40 papers with 76 undergraduate students as co-authors. He’s received numerous awards for this work, including the American Chemical Society Award for



Undergraduate Researchers and the Catalyst Award for the teaching of chemistry and the 2018 Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) Fellows Award. “You learn science by doing science. And you learn it best when you don’t know the answer. And that’s why undergraduate research is so critical,” Holmes said. “You do it to help students achieve their dreams, their aspirations, their goals in life.”

Monday, 2 p.m.

Humanities 414: The Individual in the Contemporary World Marcus Harvey, Award for Teaching Excellence in Humanities At the beginning of one of his classes, you might think that Marcus Harvey, assistant professor of religious studies, is one of those soft-spoken professors that you almost have to lean in to hear. Do not be fooled. It’s only a matter of time before the class discussion gets going—today on the global Cold War—and Harvey really gets into it. Nothing makes him smile like a student arriving on a particularly good point. Nothing animates him like the excitement of explaining a particularly fascinating point of American history. Halfway into the class and Harvey is nearly shouting, waving his arms, and you can’t help but get excited, too. These students are seasoned in the Humanities courses, and they aren’t shy to engage in conversation. Today they’re discussing anti-Communist propaganda, debating whether or not it can still be called “propaganda” if there’s truth to it. Ideas bounce around, hands go in the air, and the clock runs out before the discussion is over. Not to worry, though. They’ll continue on Wednesday. 22


Tuesday, 7 p.m.

Cherokee I Barbara Duncan, Award for Excellent Teaching by PartTime Faculty Co-taught by Gilliam Jackson Barbara Duncan, adjunct assistant professor of Cherokee, and Gil Jackson, adjunct lecturer of Cherokee, usually end up meeting with their students out in the hallway before class—the previous class typically runs a little late. It’s a chance for the students to chat with their professors, and get clarification on pronunciation of tricky words before the class begins. Today Duncan has brought a bag of green apples to share; she asks each student in Cherokee if they would like one, and they answer, “wado,” thank you. Duncan is the co-creator of “Your Grandmother’s Cherokee,” a unique Cherokee language learning course, which she teaches with Jackson, a native Cherokee speaker.

Tuesday, 3:15 p.m.

Genetic and Evolutionary Principles of Health Jason Wingert, Award for Teaching Excellence in Social Sciences Are humans more “successful” in terms of evolution because we’ve changed so much, or are sharks, because they’ve changed so little?

the front of the classroom and pose these questions. He sits in a circle with the class, and the questions come from both him, and from the students.

Is the drop in human birthrates cultural, or biological?

Wingert doesn’t expect his students to have a full answer. Some of the questions don’t have just one answer. Instead, Wingert is interested in having his students ask the right questions, in bringing them deeper into the discussion. It’s the trademark of a professor who doesn’t just want his students to learn material—he wants them to think.

Could there be adaptive advantages to a smaller brain? These are just a few of the questions that come up in the course of an afternoon in Jason Wingert’s class. Wingert, associate professor of health and wellness, doesn’t stand at



The course is a new way of understanding how the Cherokee language works, which can be particularly challenging for English speakers. Duncan helps her students understand the language’s pattern, and Jackson, who was raised in Cherokee’s Snowbird community, offers the pronunciation and perspective of a native speaker. “This is probably one of the very few universities that is able to offer a sequence of four Cherokee courses that take you from being a total beginner to a level where you can converse, and also read and translate old documents,” Duncan said. In this class, students are practicing their introductions, which include not only their name, but where they are from, who their parents are, and even who their grandparents are. “When Cherokee people meet, it’s important to say where you are from and who your people are,” Duncan explains. Students have various reasons for taking this course; some of them are Cherokee themselves, and want to take advantage of the opportunity to learn their family’s language, or be able to communicate better with their grandparents. Some students simply want to understand the native language of the place they call home, or want to help keep the endangered language from dying. The students have found that Duncan and Jackson have made their class an inviting and warm place, where they’re not afraid to make mistakes, try again, and learn.

Wednesday, 2 p.m.

Humanities 324: The Modern World Renuka Gusain, Award for Teaching Excellence in University Programs The topic on hand in Renuka Gusain’s Humanities class is sati, or the nowbanned and discontinued practice of widow burning in India. Gusain, a humanities lecturer who is from India herself, offers her students a unique opportunity: to ask her anything they want to know about India, or Indian culture, without fear. “I’d rather you ask me the question, even if you think it’s offensive,” Gusain says. The students do have lots of questions: did the reverse ever happen, where a widowed husband would self-immolate after the death of his wife? Wasn’t the point to keep the widow from speaking ill of or shaming her dead husband? Gusain has questions for her students, too: when do you think sati



was formally outlawed in India? If we are saying that colonization by the British led to the demise of sati, then can it also be argued that imperialism had its positive impacts? One student asks Gusain whether imperialism would be possible if the overthrowing culture was atheist. “That’s worth thinking about,” Gusain says, and opens it up to the class, resulting in ideas bouncing between perspectives. Though the conversation could clearly go on all day, Gusain can tell her students are nervous about their upcoming midterms, so she switches gears. The students are at least a little anxious, but Gusain has confidence in them. “Take the exam, give it your best,” Gusain says. “Then go on fall break and rest!”

Wednesday, 5:15 p.m.

(Re)Constructing the Past, or, How Do We Remember? Regine Criser, Award for Excellent Teaching by Untenured Faculty Not many courses use graphic novels as their textbook. In Assistant Professor of German Regine Criser’s class, though, students are using the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic memoir, Maus, to examine ideas of memory and remembering. Though the characters are mice, cats, and pigs, it’s a heavy novel dealing with the Holocaust, suicide, and how traumatic experiences pass down through generations.

Midterms are coming up, where students will turn from examining cultural memory to their own memories, bringing in six objects that represent them. And every day students post one picture to Instagram with the hashtag #germ374fall18 to create a log of their semester. At the end of the year they’ll design their own memorials, and explain their design, what it would represent and why and how. Criser has created a course that allows students to show their understanding of the material and their talents in ways other than taking exams or turning in papers. And while she’s excited that her work as a professor has earned her an excellence in teaching award, she says she’s humbled by the company she is in with her fellow award-winning professors.

Criser has her students talk about their discussion questions in small groups before opening up the conversation to the whole class, helping them formulate their ideas together. The class gathers in the Laurel Forum in a circle of soft chairs and sofas; one student knits while she listens. It’s a “It’s one of those situations where you look around and say, comfortable environment where they take on heavy topics. ‘how am I in a group with these people?’”



Thursday, 1:20 p.m.

Introduction to Education Teacher Performance Assessment Nancy Ruppert, UNC Asheville’s Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award Nancy Ruppert’s career has led her to many classrooms—the classrooms where she sat at a desk as a student, the middle school classrooms where she took to the front of the room as a teacher, and the UNC Asheville classrooms where she helps usher in the next generation of teachers as a professor of education. In her Thursday afternoon class, Ruppert, chair and professor of education, helps her students understand lesson plans, rubrics, portfolio assessments, standard courses of study, and more—the very beginnings of what they’ll need when they take on the role of teacher one day. Today they’re in the computer lab, where Ruppert helps students figure out where to find the answers to their own questions. “This is setting the stage for when they go to the next level,” Ruppert said.



But teaching is about more than paperwork and evaluations, and Ruppert works hard to make sure students know what’s really important in becoming a successful teacher. “Building relationships, taking care of yourself, and giving 110 percent for 180 days—that’s what we need from our teachers,” Ruppert said. “Don’t go into teaching thinking that it’s going to be easy. Some days are better than others. You’re going to make mistakes.” But Ruppert’s career is all about preparing for whatever lies ahead for these soon-to-be educators, and this class is all about helping students take those first steps into their lives as teachers. “This is a really fun journey,” says Ruppert.

Friday, 9 a.m.

Physics I James Perkins, Award for Teaching Excellence in Natural Sciences A 9 a.m. physics class in a lecture hall on a Friday sounds pretty rough, honestly, and atypical for UNC Asheville. But this isn’t that stereotypical college course with the lights down, the students sitting as far back in the room as possible, with the professor droning from behind a podium. James Perkins, assistant professor of physics, rolls into the class with a cart, bearing a large model of a ramp. A small cart hangs off the edge of the ramp, attached to a weight. He’s at the board, drawing out diagrams and illustrations, and then he’s on the lecture hall stairs, halfway into the seats, directing questions to his students, and then he’s at the computer to show a quick video of a person being slung off a sled spinning in a circle. Students freely interject with questions, and Perkins encourages them to work together on solving equations—he even introduces them to each other if he sees they don’t know each other yet. He’s not just showing the students how to solve a physics equation, he’s showing them how to unpack the problem for themselves. One student raises her hand to ask for help, and then changes her mind—she understands it, after all. “That’s my favorite way to teach,” Perkins jokes. “Just wait for you to figure it out.” You’ll have to figure out for yourself your own perfect class schedule at UNC Asheville—though, with a university full of professors dedicated to teaching and with a passion for their subjects, you can’t really go wrong. 4




SHARED ORIENTATION Giving Back to Help Others Move Forward DEE DEE WEINER, a sophomore political science major from Fort Myers, Florida, and the recipient of the Shelton Endowed Scholarship at UNC Asheville has something in common with her scholarship donor: Both have been orientation leaders for their universities. Waid Shelton led orientation at his university decades ago, and Weiner will be the head orientation leader of the Blue Crew this coming summer, in charge of welcoming the newest Bulldogs to campus. It’s her way of giving back.

“I fell in love with Asheville pretty much immediately upon my arrival to the city. The mountains, the accepting environment, and the overall feeling I had when I was on campus attracted me to UNC Asheville. As soon as I visited my mind was made up, and I knew that no other university could compare,” she says. “I have loved seeing the excitement and joy that comes with new students’ first experience at UNC Asheville, and I hope to work with the Office of Transition and Parent Programs facilitating this process throughout my time here.” Having that time has come, in part, as the result of the Shelton Scholarship, which Weiner credits with allowing her to continue studying at UNC Asheville. The need-based scholarship is funded by Babbie and Waid Shelton, who first learned of UNC Asheville through their daughter-in-law

by Amy Jessee

Rachel Brock Shelton ’08. Since moving to Asheville three years ago, they’ve become more connected to the university, including funding the scholarship in that time. Like Weiner’s work with orientation, it’s the Sheltons’ way of giving back. “I certainly would not have received the education I did without a scholarship. I am very grateful for that,” said Shelton, a retired physician who has worked with post-graduate students for many years. “I also appreciated my interactions with the donor. I carried that sense of gratitude and sense of responsibility forward, and I want to do a similar thing for other people.” Meeting each other, as Weiner and Waid Shelton did during the annual scholarship brunch, creates an opportunity to put faces with names and talk more about their experiences. “These students are often very dedicated. Their energy and optimism is infectious,” said Babbie and Waid Shelton, in agreement. “I have told my donor in person, but I am really so grateful for their selflessness in donating to my education. It has inspired me to work harder so that I can one day do for someone what they did for me,” said Weiner. To give to student scholarships, visit unca.edu/giving.

I have told my donor in person, but I am really so grateful for their selflessness in donating to my education. It has inspired me to work harder so that I can one day do for someone what they did for me.”

— Dee Dee Weiner Recipient of the Shelton Endowed Scholarship at UNC Asheville



(Left) Dee Dee Weiner with one of her scholarship donors, Waid Shelton (Photo by Peter Lorenz)


MAJOR LEAGUE UNC Asheville Alumnus Called Up to Manage Cardinals

By Mike Gore


As a student-athlete at UNC Asheville, one of the things that Mike Shildt remembers best is the way people cared about him. As a manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, one of the things his players love about Shildt is the way he cares about them. Two Cardinal players told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about how special it is to play for him. “The guys are comfortable with him,” said Cardinals reliever Bud Norris when Shildt was named full-time manager in August. “He has a relationship with every last person on this team and even around the clubhouse on a personal level, and he can communicate with everybody. The fact that he cares about you personally off the field, and he cares about you on the field is a big part of that. You just feel warm when you’re around him.” “Mike’s been really good at letting us play our own game and letting us play the way we want to play. That’s the biggest thing,” said second baseman Kolton Wong. “We have so many different personalities and different guys in this clubhouse. You just have to allow people to be themselves and eventually people are going to mesh together.”

“Things just clicked for me as a coach. I loved working with our guys and quickly found a passion in my mind,” said Shildt. “I was lucky as Coach Bretz gave me a lot of responsibility. I worked with our hitters and infielders and got a chance to work with our infield defense during a game.” His experiences off the field were just as meaningful and defined his approach to the game.

That togetherness started early for Shildt, who came to UNC Asheville with a couple of friends from his American Legion team. He’s the first to admit that early in his college career, he knew he wouldn’t be playing baseball as a professional. He started coaching as a student-assistant in 1992 and graduated from UNC Asheville in 1993 with a degree in business management.

“UNC Asheville never treated me like a number. They always treated me like a person,” stated Shildt. “I was lucky to receive a high-quality education from a great school that has helped me almost every day for the past 25 years. People cared about me and how I did. That meant a lot to me as a young adult.

“I was finishing up and luckily Jim Bretz (UNC Asheville’s coach at the time) asked me to help out a little bit,” he said. “One of the coaches left after the first series and suddenly I got keys and more responsibility.”

“There were so many people at UNC Asheville who looked after me and helped me and made sure I graduated,” added Shildt. “Those are people that I will be forever grateful for and have influenced me to this day.”

The Charlotte native played for the Bulldogs for three years. He was a utility player who could play all over the infield and catch if need be. He was part of the 1990 team that finished with the best record in school history and part of a team that year that also set the school record for wins in a row with 10, but it was coaching that agreed with him.

Now that influence is transferring to his Cardinal players. Shildt was made permanent manager of St. Louis in late August when he signed a three-year contract, six weeks after being named interim manager. He has been part of the Cardinal organization for 15 years, starting as a scout in 2003 before becoming a minor league manager at three different places.




NATIONAL CHAMPIONS! Bulldog Duo Brings Home Wins

By Brian Hand


It was an impressive and some might say surprising run to the national championship for UNC Asheville tennis doubles duo Henry Patten and Oli Nolan, particularly with the matches played in Surprise, Arizona for the Oracle ITA National Fall Championships. “We played really well and it just feels really good,” Patten said. “I cannot even believe it. To do that against some of the best players in the country is really special.” Nolan fully agreed, “It was just a nice feeling that we could achieve what we did together. It was nice to know that we did it together. That was the main thing. We also had huge support from others on our team.” They secured a national championship on Sunday, Nov. 11, with a 6-2, 6-1 win over nationally 42nd-ranked Bjorn Thomson and Parker Wynn of Texas Tech in the championship match of the at the Surprise Tennis & Racquet Complex. They also knocked off teams from Mississippi State, Old Dominion, Ohio State, and Virginia Tech. In addition to the national championship win, Patten was also voted by the ITA Officials at the event to receive the Sportsmanship Award for the 2018 Oracle ITA National Fall Championships. The championship match win for Nolan and Patten was part of a tremendous fall of 2018 for the pairing. Nolan and Patten went undefeated playing together during the fall and won three titles including the national championship. To advance to the Oracle ITA National Fall Championships the Bulldog duo first captured the doubles title at the ITA Carolina Regional Championship on Tuesday, Oct. 16. Nolan and Patten

UNC Asheville tennis doubles duo Henry Patten and Oli Nolan at the 2018 Oracle ITA National Fall Championships.

also captured the title at the Georgia-hosted 51st Southern Intercollegiate Championships at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga. on Sept. 10. The spring season starts Saturday, Jan. 26, at the Asheville Racquet Club Downtown. Visit uncabulldogs.com for details.





HALL OF FAME Leaders in their Field


By Brian Hand


The new UNC Asheville Athletics Hall of Fame inductees.

Inducted into the UNC Asheville Athletics Hall of Fame the morning of Sept. 22 in the Ingles Mountain View Room at the Sherrill Center were men’s basketball legend (1) Guy Batsel (1966-68), volleyball standout (4) Elif Unlu Englert (2003-07), women’s soccer star (2) Kristi Cummings Melis (1993-96) and retired faculty member (3) Robert Yearout (1987-2016). Already in the UNC Asheville Athletics Hall of Fame, retired Bulldog Sports Information Director Mike Gore was inducted into the Big South Conference Hall of Fame in May 2018. Gore was honored in the Significant Contributor category for his 29 years of service as the longest-tenured sports information director in Big South Conference history.

ESPN+, ESPN’s new streaming platform, is the new home for live Big South Network productions. The platform replaces events that were previously on the Big South Network. A subscription to ESPN+ is available for purchase via the ESPN App and ESPN.com, and fans can only access ESPN+ content after they have subscribed. To learn more, please visit uncabulldogs.com.

UNC Asheville graduate Kayli Nichols was selected as the Big South Conference’s Woman of the Year in July of 2018, an award sponsored by Big South Corporate Partner Musco Sports Lighting. “This is a very exciting recognition for Kayli to receive,” UNC Asheville track and field head coach Jesse Norman said. “I can’t think of anyone that is more deserving of this honor than her. She was a model student-athlete from the time she came to UNC Asheville.” With degrees in German and political science and a minor in Spanish, Nichols graduated from UNC Asheville with a GPA of 3.974. The Raleigh, North Carolina, native also served on Asheville’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), Leadership Council and the German Club, as well as interning this past year for Inclusive Development International. During her senior campaign, she was named the Big South Outdoor Scholar-Athlete of the Year and the Big South Indoor Co-Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Nichols departed Asheville as the record holder in three events—outdoor 100mH, indoor 60mH and indoor 500m. She was also a member of two relay teams (4 x 400m indoor and outdoor relays) that own the fastest marks in program history.




UNC Asheville’s inaugural fall break networking trip to the nation’s capital connected six students with a city of opportunity and the alumni who have blazed their own trails there. BY AMY JESSEE


More than 300 UNC Asheville Bulldogs have made their home and careers in Washington, D.C., at some point in their lives, taking their liberal arts and sciences degrees to new heights, as they move from the Western North Carolina mountains to Capitol Hill and surrounding areas. This fall, soon-to-be graduates started their journey over a long weekend, fitting in five days in the nation’s capital over fall break and taking the first steps in their future paths. “I sometimes think I’m on this mountain in Asheville without realizing what my options are when I graduate. Watching people in their field, doing what they are passionate about, was inspiring,” said Metis Meloche a senior economics and environmental studies double major with a concentration in global health. During a half-day job shadowing opportunity, she discovered several shared interests with alumna Ko Barrett ’94 , deputy assistant administrator



for research for NOAA. The two discussed prior work with UNC Asheville’s NEMAC (National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center), and Meloche sat in on a strategy planning session. It was a particularly meaningful meeting for Meloche, who attained U.S. citizenship this year, allowing her to go into the meetings at NOAA and to apply for and receive NASA Space Grant funding on campus to support her undergraduate research. An Australia native who grew up in Durham, N.C., she now has D.C. in her sights for a possible position for a year to two before applying to graduate school.

Networking Like it’s Their Jobs Senior political science major Lance Morsell returned home from D.C. with a potential internship interview for the summer, following his job shadowing with Beth Porter ’12 at Green America. Coming from Saluda, N.C., he wanted to test out the area first.

Students and staff share their tips for making the most of the experience.


“Going into the trip, I thought it would be good to gauge if this avenue of going to the Washington area was something I wanted to pursue. If it was, meeting with alumni would be good for future job references and making connections, particularly before I start grad school,” said Morsell.

When in D.C.

Best Alum for a Job Shadowing Experience Ko Barrett ’94 Kendra Harvey ’08 Shannon Davis ’97 Courtney Galatioto ’12

Had there been a follow-up test, it might have come from Morsell’s senior thesis advisor, who co-led the trip. Assistant Professor of Political Science Ashley Moraguez provided faculty expertise, partnering with the Alumni Office and Career Center in planning and implementing the inaugural trip, underscoring the educational value of the experience.

Fatima Johnson ’98 Beth Porter ’12

Best Workplace to Visit

(Left to right) Lance Morsell, Sydney Nazloo, Leigh Whittaker ’15, Nay Chi Hlaing, Chris Bobbitt, Metis Meloche, Chase Loudermelt; Photo taken during tour of U.S. Capitol

“In a time when politics are so polarized and D.C. can get a bad rap, I think it was important to get our students to the area and to show them that there are a lot of good, hard-working people there and that they would have a built-in community if they chose to pursue careers there,” she said. “Our alumni didn’t disappoint in showing them just that. I also think that the trip was valuable in that it pushed the students out of their comfort zones to experience the workforce, even if briefly, outside of Asheville and of North Carolina. A liberal arts education relies on students being willing to push themselves to new boundaries and to engage in hands-on learning; this trip allowed the students to do both. So, I hope we get to do this every year!”

Mayer Brown Law Office (thanks to Holly Bunting ’00 for hosting the alumni reception)

Best Site to See (tie) White House Grounds U.S. Senator/Representative Offices

Best Place to Eat or Drink Union Market

Best Way to Navigate the City Metro, Google maps, and Lance Morsell (contact him when he’s an alum)

The Votes are In “Our students might ask, ‘what do we need to do to get these jobs?’ This trip helped them realize that alumni have done it already, that they can do it as well, and that in many cases they can go straight from UNC Asheville to the Hill without additional degrees. They already have the skills, experience, and liberal arts and sciences mindset that spans careers,” said UNC Asheville’s Senior Director of Alumni Engagement & Annual Giving Elizabeth Saxman Underwood ’01. “Public service is one of many paths from a public institution, and our

Best Use of a Liberal Arts and Sciences Education As Meloche summarizes, “Instead of asking what job is out there, I’m now asking what kind of job I would like to have and who can I talk with to make it happen.”



Students explored the city from restaurants to museums, the U.S. Capitol and legislative offices









students gained the confidence level to take that next step, to get to the point of stating ‘I can do it too.’” Students also got a boost from the funding provided for the trip, and Meloche is clear to note that she could not have participated in the trip without it. As a social sciences pilot program, the Departments of Economics, Management and Accountancy, and Political Science covered travel expenses and lodging, with support from the Student Government Association. The Career Center traveled along, with Associate Director for Employer Relations David Earnhardt in the driver’s seat for the 16-hour roundtrip. The six students were also treated to a reception at Mayer Brown Law Firm hosted by UNC Asheville Foundation Board member and law firm partner Holly Bunting ’00, and a dinner with

“I left the dinner feeling so connected and hopeful about this group of students,” said Harvey. “The students are obviously intelligent, but more than that they seemed fired up and ready to change the world.”



Kendra Harvey ’08, special advisor to the director at the District of Columbia Department of Transportation, where she manages the innovative technology portfolio. “I left the dinner feeling so connected and hopeful about this group of students,” said Harvey. “The students are obviously intelligent, but more than that they seemed fired up and ready to change the world.” Alumni also met with the students for breakfast at their hotel, answered candid questions about work-life balance, and led tours of their workplaces, often going behind-the-scenes. Leigh Whittaker ’15, legislative correspondent for U.S. Rep. David Price, gave a tour of the Capitol Building; Rep. Mark Meadows’ staff gave the group access to the house floor; and Paola Andrea Salas Paredes ’16 hosted the group at the Center for Science and Democracy. Oksana Cody ’08 organized a community service event at a soup kitchen, where the students served breakfast and then ate a meal at family-style tables. On another morning, Elizabeth Morra, vice president of federal relations for the UNC System Office met the students for breakfast in the Longworth Congressional Office building. In addition to seeing the sites and getting a taste of life in D.C., the students also connected with their congressional and

alumni W E’R E COU N TING DOW N THE DAYS to our

next Homecoming here at UNC Asheville, February 22-23, 2019, and adding up the many ways to reconnect with alumni throughout the year. And there are so many of you! Our UNC Asheville Alumni Association (which welcomes all alumni with a free membership immediately following graduation) now totals more than 19,000! Our dedicated group of alumni leaders are committed to strengthening the lifelong bond between our graduates and our university. Previously this group was known as the National Alumni Council, but the board recently voted to transition to a board structure in order to better serve you, the members of our Alumni Association. Now, the newly established UNC Asheville Alumni Association Board of Directors will work through committees that will focus on alumni connections, student engagement, and engaging in philanthropy. All alumni can volunteer to serve on any of these committees without being a board member. We hope you will consider doing so. We also want to make sure you know who the board members are, so we’ve shared a detail from each one in these pages. See the highlights of our time at UNC Asheville and let us know what we’ve missed!

Senate leaders, taking tours of offices and meeting with key staff members, including Rep. Mark Meadows’ Chief of Staff Paul Fitzpatrick, Sen. Richard Burr’s Legislative Director Christopher Toppings, Sen. Thom Tillis’ staff member Andrew Nam, and Rep. Patrick McHenry’s Senior Legislative Assistant Krista Stafford. They also met with Ryan Arant ’09, National Security Council. “It all fits in perfectly with the tight-knitness of the campus. I enjoy our small class size, I enjoy connections with professors. It’s clear that everyone cares about the students. This trip drove that point home,” said Morsell. To support or participate in the next alumni networking trip, contact 828.251.6512 or alumni@unca.edu, or go online to unca.edu/makeagift and designate D.C. Student Trip. 4

There are many ways for you to get involved and support UNC Asheville, both in person or from a distance. Please visit our website: alumni.unca.edu for a list of opportunities, and you can always contact the alumni office directly at 828.251.6852.

Elizabeth Saxman Underwood ’01, Ph.D. Senior Director of Alumni Relations // eunderw1@unca.edu // 828.232.5125

Mike Roach ’02 Chair, UNC Asheville Alumni Association Board of Directors


To find out how you can engage with the Alumni Association, please visit alumni.unca.edu. You can also sign up for our monthly newsletter at alumni.unca.edu/newsletter.




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. Visit alumni.unca.edu or send an e-mail to alumni@unca.edu


Jim Creighton will be celebrating his 50th wedding anniversary with his wife, Toni.

1974 Paul Deason Jr. retired in November 2017 after 38 years of working in the U.S. Department of Energy Complex.

1975 My favorite memory was walking across the stage at Commencement as an official UNC Asheville alum.

—Glynis Holloway

Strolls through the Botanical Gardens, enjoying free music and beer in the Lipinsky Coffee House, and taking bike rides to the Blue Ridge Parkway.

—Edward Sheary



Zollie Stevenson Jr., was named vice president for academic affairs and chief academic officer at Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas.

1979 David Szymanski was chosen to be the University of North Florida’s next president.

1984 My happiest memory was my feeling of belonging to the small campus community, of being able to be involved in many things and of really getting to know and be friends with not only fellow students but faculty and administration as well as support staff, from the Chancellor to the professors to housing staff to the campus police to the registrar.

—Thomas Steele


JC Parker recently completed his 30th year in the semiconductor industry. His career began in ’88 (postMSEE from NCSU) with AT&T Bell Laboratories in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He is currently a senior director of IP and design methodology with Intel.

1988 Chief District Court Judge Athena Brooks was nominated to serve the state as a Special Superior Court Judge. Fred Weinman has been named managing director of the Bonita Springs, Florida office for Northern Trust.

1989 Mark Magee began leading the Salesforce.com Consulting Practice for the Eastern U.S. at Appirio. Bud Young was promoted as the U.S. operations manager of The Quartz Corp.






Jonathan Pullin is the founding principal of the Essie Mae Kiser Foxx Charter School in East Spencer, North Carolina.

Marc Kiviniemi joined the University of Kentucky College of Public Health as chair of health, behavior, and society.

Julie Covington was the Featured Artist during July 2018 at the Asheville Ceramics Gallery in the River Arts District.


Samantha Sircey completed her Ed.D. through Western Carolina University in 2017 and was named principal of North Buncombe High School.

Kale Olson, a senior vice president and wealth advisor, has 17 years of experience, primarily at UBS and, most recently, at Oppenheimer & Co. He has earned the Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF®) designation and joined Hilliard Lyons in Asheville.

Ashley Steffens is an associate professor in the College of Environment and Design at the University of Georgia, helping students gain the practical skills they need to be successful in the profession of landscape architecture.

1992 Christopher Boe was appointed Dean of the School of Education at Pfeiffer University in June 2018. He has served the university for 14 years and achieved career status as a full professor. Coach Epley and his wife Rebecca, are now parents of five children, and Coach serves as a mission pastor at Oakwood Church in New Braunfels, Texas. Franky Pelaez describes his four years as Loyola’s women’s soccer associate head coach as a passion for soccer, and life in general. At Marquette, Pelaez built the soccer program with his college roommate, Markus Roeders ’90. Together, they led the Golden Eagles to nine Big East Conference regular season championships, five Big East titles, two Big East Tournament Championships and a pair of Conference USA Tournament titles.

1993 Sam McRae is a special agent with the U.S. Diplomatic Security Service.

Leigh Spicer was appointed as a medical director of Select Health of South Carolina.

1997 Jason Faunt packed his bags after graduating and moved to Los Angeles, California to become an actor. Faunt landed a role on NBC soap opera, Sunset Beach, prior to starring in Power Rangers Time Force. The critically acclaimed show has earned Faunt many other roles. Josh Tan and Thanh Tan had a baby boy, Rapha. One of my most memorable moments at UNC Asheville was taking car rides on the Blue Ridge Parkway to enjoy the beautiful views and visit Craggy Gardens.

—Josh Tan

1998 My favorite memory is when my friends and I would “borrow” the cafeteria trays to use as snow sleds.

—David Greene Teneal Pardue completed a doctorate in curriculum and instruction: mathematics education from UNC Charlotte and is an assistant professor of mathematics at Queens University of Charlotte.

2000 My best UNC Asheville experience was being an RA for three years in Mills Hall.

—Kenya Edwards

2002 The Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS) named Alison M. Armstrong, collection management librarian in the McConnell Library at Radford University, the winner of the 2018 Esther J. Piercy Award. Alison Fields is encouraging forest protection through the art of storytelling. Lena Richards was named marketing director for WithersRavenel engineering firm.

Melissa Elliott has been named principal at Pleasant Gardens Elementary.

My quintessential UNC Asheville experience: Cheering for championship basketball teams in the tight confines of the Justice Center.

Meredith Newlin published her book, Captured Fireflies: Truths, Mistakes, And Other Gifts of Being an English Teacher, on Nov. 19, 2017. Bess Newton was appointed to the position of executive director for Under One Sky Village Foundation, with the mission to give youth in foster care a community to call their own. Greg Rippin accepted a position as technical director at Freakonomics Radio. Carrie Simmons was named executive director of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council and took the helm on June 1, 2018.

—Mike Roach Amelia Stamps will be relocating her studio after the Woodland Art Fair, joining Stacey R. Chinn who has the Made KY shop in the Distillery District of Lexington, Kentucky.

These are a few of our favorite things... Our Alumni Board have contributed a starting list of favorite moments and memories of their time at UNC Asheville, highlighted in the class notes of this edition. These items are just a few of our favorite things, as we build out a list of 86 things. Why 86? That’s the number of students who started at UNC Asheville (then Buncombe County Junior College) in 1927. Share your addition to the list by emailing alumni@unca.edu.






Anelle Ammons earned a Master of Horticultural Science from NC State University in May 2018.

Ashley and Greg Garrison are celebrating their 10-year anniversary with The Hop in Asheville.

Ken Saunders III became the rector for St. James Episcopal Church in Greeneville, Tennessee.


2004 Samantha Bowers and her husband Peter Pfister turned their corner lot on Westover Drive in Asheville into a virtual Garden of Eden for the 2018 Asheville GreenWorks Summer Garden Tour. Megan Cole earned a Master of Social Work from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2008, and has been a social worker for Hospice of Rockingham County for seven years. Kevin Rice is conducting research at Mizzou to develop an attract-and-kill management strategy for Japanese beetles.

After almost 12 years in the world of events, Brian P. Davis has stepped away from events and started a new career in donor relations for UNC Asheville. Sarah Elniff graduated with a Master of Education in early childhood intervention and family support from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2016 and has published a board book for NICU families.

2007 Angela Brisson joined the Camping State Team, as extension assistant, NC 4-H Camping in the state 4-H Office. Lauren Fox joined the Public School Forum of North Carolina as senior director of policy. Crystal Goure married Leanne Christine in December 2017 and

started a new career as a graphic design specialist for YMCA of WNC in January 2018. Jessica Jackson has been named Asheville City Schools’ Teacher of the Year. The power of philanthropy was introduced to me through my experience studying abroad in the United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong—both on scholarship.

—Katie Rozycki

2008 Larkin Ford is a limited-term lecturer of drawing and painting at Georgia State University. Ford’s work has been included in The Oxford American magazine’s New Superstars of Southern Art and awarded “Best in Show” by juror Radcliffe Bailey in a 2016 Georgia State exhibition. Molly Wilkins and Taylor Brown were married on August 15, 2018. Molly also accepted a new position with a national

nonprofit BELL, as a learning and innovation specialist. Daniel Winger worked his way up through the banking field, becoming an assistant manager, prior to leaving the banking world to try finance, where he now runs his own finance branch as a manager.

2009 Chelsea Evans moved to Greensboro in January 2018 to pursue a promotion within The Fresh Market Corporate Office. Katie Hicks started a new job at Educational Partners International in Swannanoa, North Carolina. Liz McCarthy was nominated as “Chicago Break Out Artist” by NewCity Magazine in 2017. Natalie Noah joined the WBRZ Weather Team as a meteorologist in April 2018 and resides in Baton Rouge. Lauren Wingo accepted a position as an emergency medicine physician at Mission Medical Associates.

Demonstrate your Bulldog Pride every time you hit the road!

UNC Asheville License Plate ad

Reserve your specialized plate.

Be one of the first 300 alumni to add a “dog tag” to your UNC Asheville swag in 2019. A portion of the annual $25 fee supports student scholarships.

Order online at alumni.unca.edu/licenseplate



North Carolina state law requires that 300 applications and fees must first be collected by the university before the plates can be manufactured. Once applications and fees are received, the Department of Motor Vehicles will print the tags and mail them directly to applicants.


2010 Ben Alexander and Sara Alexander ’11 are proud parents of their baby daughter, Seda Joan Alexander. My most memorable moments at UNC Asheville included sneaking into Mills Hall to hang out with friends and having dinner in Highsmith every night with classmates at 6 p.m.

—Benjamin Alexander

Price Dickson graduated from the University of Illinois School of Veterinary Medicine. Amber Harrelson-Williams has taken on a new role as program associate at the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina. Greg Hicks and his wife welcomed their son, Finnick, in December 2017. Greg was also promoted to director of support services at the Mecklenburg County Bar.

I enjoyed playing an intramural sport every semester! We were the worst, but most positive volleyball team, and a few of our softball team members still play together in Raleigh!

—Rachel Prather

2011 Adam Dalton is the founder and owner of Dalton Distillery, based in Asheville. Donald Lear accepted a research engineering position with Georgia Tech Research Institute’s Aerospace, Transportation & Advanced Systems Laboratory in Smyrna, Georgia. Christina Xiong’s debut chapbook, The Gathering Song, has been published by Finishing Line Press.

2012 Molly Burch unveiled the lead single “Wild” from her new

album, First Flower, released in October 2018. Leah Hargrove was presented with the 2018 Humanitarian Award on June 26 in Bismarck, North Dakota, during a City Commission Meeting. Hannah Montgomery was accepted into a dual degree program in 2016 and is pursuing a J.D. in International Human Rights Law and a M.A. in International Studies. Jess Peete graduated from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management with an MBA and M.A. in sustainable international development. Beth Porter’s first book, Reduce, Reuse, Reimagine: Sorting Out the Recycling System, was published in November 2018.

2013 Hannah Bayles is a full-time real estate broker with BeverlyHanks in North Asheville. Beth Erickson retired from the City of Asheville and is pursuing a nursing degree from A-B Tech.

Brittany Gollins married Kenneth Gollins on September 16, 2017. Hannah Grace married Erich Hoffmann ’15 in June 2018. Tim Koerber, mountain bike photographer joined TGR in Bentonville, Arkansas, to shoot TGR Tested 2018. Kyle Smith joined the North Raleigh office of the North State Bank as a commercial loan portfolio manager. Rebecca Telberg joined the staff at the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina as a development associate. Joe Tracey III and Jackie Starkey became engaged June 5, 2018.

2014 Candice Jordan is working as a museum program specialist at the Schiele Museum in Gastonia, North Carolina, and also welcomed a son, Thomas, in October 2017.

It’s time to come home.

Save the Date!

HOMECOMING FEB. 22-23, 2019 WINTER 2018


Ashley Kent was selected as a homebuilding superstar by Professional Builder as a part of their 40 Under 40 Class of 2018. My most memorable moments at UNC Asheville took place in the fall. I enjoyed everything from driving up the mountains on my way to Asheville, the Turning of the Maples ceremony and riding horses, and eating ice cream at the Biltmore.

—Kristen Lawson

2015 Alexx Diera earned her master’s degree in crop and soil sciences at the University of Georgia. Giovanni Figaro became a Certified Public Accountant, and accepted a position as an accounting technician at UNC Asheville. Chloe Gagin is finishing an internship at the U.S. Department of Agriculture this fall and will be earning a master’s degree in economics from American University in December 2018. Hannah Noël graduated in May 2018 from UNC-Chapel Hill with a master’s degree in library science and is moving to Washington D.C. to intern with the Library of Congress. Lisa Riggsbee accepted a position as association director of community health at the YMCA of the greater Charlotte area. A memorable event for me at UNC Asheville was attending the Turning of the Maples on the Quad.

—Stephanie Watkins-Cruz



James Whalen accepted a Presidential Scholarship to attend UNC-Chapel Hill Law School starting fall of 2018. Leigh Whittaker received a promotion to legislative assistant for Congressman David Price.

2016 Bryan Berry married Tina Vue Berry on March 17, 2018. Devin Browning moved to Somerville, Massachusetts, and joined the donor services team at The Greater Boston Food Bank. T.J. Daniel started working for Bunnell Lammons Engineering as a hydrogeologist, and received his Master in Hydrogeology this fall. George Etheredge works as a freelance photographer, primarily for The New York Times . Paige Love was promoted to assistant coach of the Texas State Women’s Basketball team. Hanna Mathis spent 24 days on the Mystical Yoga Farm in Southwest Guatemala and received her RYT-200 training to become a certified yoga instructor. James Neal won second place in Business Writing at the NC Press Association and was part of the newsroom that won first place in News Enterprise Reporting. Tyler Smith will serve as an assistant basketball coach at Queens University in Charlotte, North Carolina. Erin Voss completed a master’s degree in political science from Appalachian State University.

2017 Morgan Davidson is a J.D. candidate at Campbell University Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law.

Madeline Delp, 2017 Ms. Wheelchair U.S.A., is continuing her nationwide Boundless Tour, a campaign to inspire people to test their limits. Ben Eisdorfer accepted a position as a marketing coordinator for Trilion Quality Systems. Connor Siegmeister was admitted to the University of Florida Law School on a full ride scholarship. Megan Smith and Casey Harrel ’14 were married at their home in Swannanoa, North Carolina on May 4, 2018. Sky Taylor accepted an operator position for the Metropolitan Sewerage District of Buncombe County Wastewater Reclamation Facility, and had her second child in June 2018. Justin Woods is playing professional baseball in Germany for the Huenstetten Storm.


Nef Karismaida and Cody Fenison ’17 got married at the Buncombe County Courthouse on April 2, 2018 with two of their friends as witnesses. Cody is finishing his service year with AmeriCorps Project MARS while Nef is working on honing her bilingualism in hope of becoming a certified translator one day. Michaela Scilex accepted a position teaching ninth- and 10th-grade math at Venture Academy in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Jacob Secor is a member of a student jazz ensemble dubbed The Secret Quartet, performing all-original compositions. He also plays sax with the popular jazz/ funk outfit Window Cat.

2019 Raekwon Miller signed a professional contract with the Dragons Rhöndorf of the 2. Basketball-Bundesliga/ProB league in Germany.

Austin Dowdy accepted a full-time position with Conduent, a technology-led business processing company, and began graduate school for a Master of Arts in English at Gardner-Webb University in the fall of 2018. Kayla Dunn moved to Florida to work for the Walt Disney World Company as a Jungle Cruise Skipper. Gabby Feinstein accepted a teaching position at Shalom Children’s Center at the Asheville Jewish Community Center. Bree Fitzgerald signed with the TV Saarlouis Royals on May 3, 2018 and traveled to Germany in August 2018 to join the team. Jordan Fulbright was awarded the NC State Jenkins Graduate School MAC Fellowship.

This year on Giving Tuesday:


alumni, parents, friends, faculty, staff, and students joined together to raise...

$92,973 to support UNC Asheville.

We are thankful for your support!



IN 1967, 40 years after its founding and a year following the first four-year class graduates, UNC Asheville (then Asheville-Biltmore College) found “the true school spirit” as the student newspaper The Ridgerunner stated, and celebrated its first full-scale homecoming–fittingly in February. This “spirit” was epitomized by bumper stickers on cars, a banner across Tunnel Road, and letters, posters and buttons, all publicizing the activities. On campus there were exhibits and decorations created by fraternities and other groups, including a papier-mâché version of the Asheville-Biltmore College bulldog mascot. Twelve contestants competed for the homecoming crown, which was won by Lynda Reighard, a senior psychology major, and the Friday festivities included a downtown parade.

have been better attended, the evening dance was jam-packed. Academic classes joined the celebration too, as students in Mrs. Rosemary Stephens’ language class examined the origin of the word homecoming, and discovered it combined two Old English words, and was used in the Middle English period by Chaucer. It continues to define the annual tradition at UNC Asheville, now back on the calendar for February 2019 with a call for all alumni to come home to UNC Asheville. Save-the-date for February 22-23, 2019.

After the parade, there were Coed Capers on the field behind the gym. These included a tug of war, greased pole climb, a mud hunt, three-leg, shoe, flag and sack races, musical buckets, and a pie eating contest. Competitors represented a club or class, with points awarded for most events, although some had a cash prize. Students today might equate this with UNCA Now points, without the digital interface. The news came via campus and city newspapers, with the local news sharing an appeal to locate “lost” alumni, and The Ridgerunner reporting that while the alumni reception could



Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage

PAID Burlington, VT Permit No. 19

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

If you receive two or more magazines at your home address, or to update your information, please email alumni@unca.edu. The pages of UNC Asheville Magazine are printed on paper created from 100% post-consumer recycled fiber that is manufactured using renewable biogas energy (a gas produced from the decomposition of landfill waste) and certified Processed Chlorine Free, EcoLogo, and FSCÂŽ.



Please join us for the installation of

Nancy J. Cable, Ph.D. 8th Chancellor

of the University of North Carolina at Asheville

Friday, April 26, 2019

Visit unca.edu/installation for more information.

Profile for UNC Asheville

UNC Asheville Magazine Winter 2018  

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

UNC Asheville Magazine Winter 2018  

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