Monday, December 11, 2017

UNCG's Moravian Lovefeast

From the early 1960s until the mid-1980s, the UNCG campus hosted an annual Moravian Lovefeast and Candle Service during the first weeks of December. Music, scripture readings, and messages delivered by local ministers were featured during the services, which were typically held in the Elliott University Center's Cone Ballroom. The services drew students, faculty, staff, and community members.

It was on a December evening in 1963 that the first Lovefeast was held at UNCG. Two Winston-Salem students, Phyllis Snyder Bargoil (class of 1964) and Almeda Tesh Dalton (class of 1965) invited their hometown pastor, the Rev. Thomas Presley, to Greensboro to lead the celebration. Almeda's father made the wooden serving trays which were used in the UNCG service until at least the early 1980s.

Twenty-eight people attended this first gathering, including Dean of Students Katherine Taylor, who encouraged the students to plan another Lovefeast the following year. Rev. Presley returned the following year to lead the Lovefeast, which quickly grew in popularity. Around 1967, the Lovefeast expanded from a single night to two nights of services. Eventually tickets were required (at no charge) to control the number of worshipers who attended each evening's service. By 1977, three nights of services were held in order to accommodate the crowd. It was estimated that the 1985 Lovefeast services drew over 600 attendees.

One of the central activities during the UNCG (or any) Lovefeast was the breaking of bread, signifying the union and equality of the worshipers. In the UNCG services, this included the sharing of traditional Lovefeast buns and coffee. Female servers would distribute the buns, while male servers carried trays of coffee. A Moravian blessing was said and worshipers would eat while the choir performed. The December 11, 1974 service, for example, featured a performance by the University Women's Choir of "Gloria," arranged by Benjamin Britten.

After the delivery of a message by a local minister, the lights were lowered and beeswax candles were distributed to the attendees. Candles remained lit as the worshipers departed the service. While the lit candles represented the sacrifice and love of Christ, the students at UNCG adapted them for another purpose. According to an interview with Rev. Presley in 1979, "If you carry the lighted candle back to your room, the wish you make will come true." At UNCG these lit candles moving across campus also foreshadowed the luminaries display, which typically occurred soon after the Lovefeast.

The last reference found in University Archives to a campus-sponsored Moravian Lovefeast is found in the 1986 Pine Needles yearbook. In reference to the services held in December 1985, the article notes, "fighting against outside claims that the feast - in its presentation of a Christian message and hymns - violated the spirit of the separation of church and state, administration members asked those delivering the 'message' at the two nights of ceremonies to look for a more 'universal focus' in what they said." Rev. Ron Moss of the Wesley-Luther House and Father Jack Campbell of the University Catholic Center led those services.

The Pine Needles article concludes with a quote from a student attendee, who left from the Lovefeast to study for final exams in the library. "When I came to the Festival I thought it would just be a social or something - or maybe a church service. But it wasn't. It was just a lot of people getting together to enjoy something beautiful. Sure, I heard people talking about how it was wrong, and how it violated students' rights, but I can't help but think that something as beautiful as that was couldn't have done anything but helped."

Monday, December 4, 2017

Lighting the Campus with Luminaries

At 7am on a December morning in 1969, a number of UNCG students gathered in front of the Elliott University Center with 2000 candles, white paper bags, soufflé cups, and a really big pile of sand. With these supplies, they started a campus tradition which continues today: the annual luminaries display.

Alumni House with luminaries
Before the project could begin, Kim Ketchum, president of the UNCG senior class of 1970, presented the idea for the display to Katherine Taylor, dean of students, and to Terry Weaver, manager of the Elliott University Center. They agreed to allow the students to proceed with the display, and ultimately, the project received the blessing of Chancellor James S. Ferguson. Chancellor Ferguson provided money to purchase the sand and candles from his discretionary fund. The white bags and soufflé cups were donated by the cafeteria.

Throughout the day, students stopped by to help assemble the luminaries. They carefully placed sand and a candle (balanced on the soufflé cup) in each bag. Ketchum and six other students used a Physical Plant vehicle to position the luminaries strategically along the campus streets. Around 6pm, students emerged from the residence halls to light the candles. As the luminaries burned, groups sang Christmas carols around the campus and gathered to drink hot cider and hot chocolate around a bonfire that burned in a metal pit. 

Ketchum recalled, “It was a success then, and it’s very gratifying that our class started a tradition that endures to this day. I think that this probably was the first large luminary display in Guilford County, and the rest of the area picked up on it.” 

Luminaries at Fountain Plaza, 1995
UNCG’s sororities and fraternities carry on this tradition today, preparing the luminaries, lighting them, and cleaning up. In 2011 sustainable luminaries were introduced, which decreased prep-time and eliminated potential hazards. And, as is part of the campus tradition, when the candles burn out, students return to their studies, as Fall semester final exams loom in the immediate future.

Monday, November 27, 2017

“Beauty, Service, and Grace” - The History of the Alumnae House

Not long after the State Normal and Industrial School (now The University of North Carolina at Greensboro) opened its doors in October 1892, graduates began to discuss the possibility of an alumnae building. As they often returned to the college to participate in official events and social occasions, they wanted a comfortable place to hold meetings and to stay during overnight visits. Although the alumnae had limited access to accommodations in dormitories and on the third floor of Students’ Building, they dreamed of a spot at their alma mater to call their own.

Drawing of the Alumnae House, 1937
 Serious discussions began in 1916 and after the end of World War I in 1918, the plan was revisited by the new Alumnae Association Secretary Ethel Bollinger (Class of 1913). Miss Bollinger hoped to use the prospective building for an office and a residence for unmarried faculty. Yet it wasn’t until Clara Booth Byrd (Class of 1913) assumed the position of Alumnae Association Secretary in 1922, did the plan for an alumnae house truly begin to take form. Miss Byrd convinced Julius Foust, the college’s second president, to choose the site and to begin raising money for the project. Foust was committed to the project and threw his formidable efforts behind fundraising. Miss Byrd felt that the most practical location for the building was on the site of the old wooden residence hall alternatively called Guilford or Midway Dormitory. One of the original campus buildings, it occupied a prime location on College Avenue and was in poor condition, requiring either complete renovation or demolition.

Clara Booth Byrd
A committee was formed to explore the financial feasibility of an alumnae building and to revisit its purpose on campus. Originally conceived as a residence for faculty and for overnight alumnae visits, this vision was expanded and the plan altered to create a building that would be “the very center of college life outside the academic realm.” The committee set a fundraising goal of $250,000, which was to be procured by alumnae, faculty, and students.  Yet by the early 1930s, only $53,000 had been collected. As the country slipped into an economic depression, hopes for the building looked dim. Finally, with financial assistance from the Public Works Administration, construction could begin. By all accounts, Miss Byrd chose the architectural design for the Alumnae House. She selected Homewood, a Maryland estate built by Charles Carol in 1800, as a model for the new building. Homewood's exterior, considered an excellent example of Georgian architecture, was practically duplicated on the Woman’s College campus by Penrose V. Stout of Bronxville, NY.
Alumnae House Dedication, January, 1937
But even before the building was formally dedicated in June of 1937, there was controversy, as alumnae and students began to question the close involvement of Miss Byrd in every aspect of the Alumnae House’s design and use. Her possessiveness of the building and her fear of damage to the new furniture that she had been so instrumental in selecting, led alumnae to see her as a “dominating and inflexible” force.

In an Alumnae House Bulletin dated January of 1937, Miss Byrd set out guidelines on how best “to preserve the beauty and dignity” of the new space. She specifically asked that students “establish a tradition of order and spotless cleanliness” to be preserved at all times. The situation became so contentious that there were plans afoot to have Miss Byrd dismissed.  But she weathered the storm and continued in her role as Alumnae Association Secretary until her retirement in 1947. She must have been pleased that the Alumnae House, which had occupied so much of her life, ultimately became a hub for student and alumnae activity.

The Byrd Parlor
Fittingly, when she passed away, her funeral was held in the building that she had fought so hard to bring to fruition. In November 1972, almost a decade after the university had become co-educational, the building’s name was officially changed to Alumni House. It is said by some that Miss Byrd never let go of her strong attachment to the house and still ensures doors are closed at the end of the day.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Creating a Hub for 21st Century Learning

The history of UNC Greensboro (UNCG) is one of innovation and excellence. These qualities have helped to inform the planning of its academic programs, the recruitment of its faculty and students, and the design and construction of its buildings and classrooms. Needing to effectively respond to the technology and information revolutions of the late 20th century, the University embarked on an ambitious building campaign to renovate existing spaces as well as to design classrooms and housing to support and expand new ways of learning. The Moore Humanities and Research Administrative Building (MHRA) is a wonderful example of the University’s efforts to meet the needs of higher education in the early 21st century.

To finance these capital improvements, a $3.1 billion Higher-Education Bond Issue was voted on and approved by North Carolina voters in November 2000. UNCG received $166 million to pay for three new buildings and for major renovations on 15 other campus buildings. On March 24, 2004, the University held a dual ground-breaking ceremony for the $16.9 million MHRA building and the $16.6 million Gatewood Studio Arts Center. Chancellor Patricia A. Sullivan declared to attendees that “excitement and promise are in the air as we take the next step in the bold transformation of the campus.”

Soon after the March 24 groundbreaking ceremony for the MHRA Building was held, fencing was installed at the Spring Garden and Forest Streets site. Construction for the MHRA Building would begin as soon as the current building (Park Gymnasium) that occupied the site was demolished. On March 29, 2004, bulldozers set about tearing the Park Gym down. It took several days to remove all the debris from the site. With ground now cleared, construction was started.

The three-story MHRA building would establish a visible humanities presence on Spring Garden Street. In fact, the building was specifically designed to bring together related academic departments to support teaching, research, and administrative functions. Functioning as a “hub” for the humanities, the building would welcome the departments of Classical Studies, English, History, and Language, Literatures, and Cultures. The structure would also include several administrative units. The administrative units included the Office of Contracts and Grants, Office of Technology Transfer, and the Office of Research and Engagement. Previously, these academic departments and administrative units were dispersed throughout the campus. Many of the humanities faculty and classrooms were housed in the McIver Building. Stories of faculty having to share a single office were common. The construction of the MHRA Building would help to ease a chronic campus space shortage by providing needed faculty offices and classrooms.

The Winston-Salem firm of Calloway, Johnson, Moore, and West designed the 86,000 square-foot building. They sought to translate “the traditional materials and architectural style of the University’s historic campus into an updated aesthetic.” The use of red brick and stone is a central feature. The building’s classically detailed rotunda draws the visitor into a light-filled atrium. While the exterior design was intended to play on the materials of the surrounding historic campus, the choice of materials for the interior of the building was intended to create a more “modern” and “corporate” look and feel. The design firm made heavy use of perforated metal and glass. They also used stainless steel and textured stone to mark important spaces and transitions within the building. All classrooms, conference rooms, and seminar spaces were equipped with audiovisual and digital projection equipment. Additionally, the teaching spaces were designed with close attention to acoustics and lighting to facilitate learning.

Construction of the building was completed in 2006. Faculty and administrators moved into the new building prior to the start of the fall term. On August 31, 2006, the University’s Board of Trustees named the three-story structure the Beverly Cooper Moore and Irene Mitchell Moore Humanities and Research Administrative Building. The Trustees sought to recognize the couple’s contributions to UNCG. The building was formally dedicated during the 2006 celebration of Founder’s Day (October 5, 2006). It was announced that Irene Moore was going to be giving $2 million to UNCG through the Students First Campaign to name the humanities building and to establish 16 graduate student scholarships. Her husband, Beverly, had been chairman of the UNCG Board of trustees from 1972 until 1975. Mr. Moore was a prominent Greensboro attorney who died in 2001.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Campus Maps Part I

Maps are artifacts that represent a physical space fixed at one point in time. Taken individually, they tell us how to get from one place to another. They provide a view of place unattainable from the ground and give us a unique perspective and orientation. Compared with one another, maps trace the changes in our physical world. Buildings come and go, or their uses vary with the changing times. The landscape also changes as new roads are built and fields are turned into golf courses or parking lots. In this post we'll look at some examples of campus maps from our University Archives drawn by members of the university community.

Several maps of campus used in official publications were drawn by female students and alumnae of the university. These maps were used primarily in publications such as the course catalog, handbook, and brochures. These official publications would represent the university not only to its students, but to the public. Because of this, the maps had to be of high quality. Three examples of these are presented below, along with photographs of the cartographers.
This 1940 map of the Woman's College of the University of North Carolina campus was drawn by Kathryn Bain (top) and Doris Shaffer (bottom), both Class of 1941 students
This 1957 map of the Woman's College of the University of North Carolina was drawn by Henriette Manget Neal, Class of 1945
This 3D 1965 map of the Woman's College of the University of North Carolina was drawn by Clara Reese, Class of 1965

We'll explore more campus maps from our collections in a future Spartan Stories blog!

Monday, November 6, 2017

The Black Power Forum, Fifty Years Later

This month marks the 50th anniversary of the Black Power Forum that was held at UNCG from November 1-3, 1967. 

Throughout the 1960s, Greensboro served as a key site for the civil rights movement. After the Sit Ins and protests of the early 1960s, the middle of the decade saw the ideals of black self-determination and pride being spread throughout Greensboro and the nation. The term “Black Power” first entered the national consciousness through Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) leader Stokely Carmichael’s speech at the March Against Fear in 1966. Black Power soon became known as a movement for solidarity within the African American community and the fight for racial independence.

Agenda for November 1, 1967,
the first day of the Black Power Forum
While students at North Carolina A&T University often stood as leaders in the movement, discussions were not limited to the area’s historically black colleges and universities. On November 1-3, 1967, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro played host to a controversial Black Power Forum, organized in large part by African American students and members of the UNCG Student Government Association to “inform students and faculty members of this movement and its actions and to give us a chance to discuss Black Power, its history, its political and social implications for us and the nation.” 

The forum was organized around three topics: “Black Power past and present,” “the ghetto,” and “Black Power and the self-image of the Negro.” Speakers from across the country were brought in for presentations and discussions held in Cone Ballroom. Attendance the first day was judged “poor” with fewer than 75 attendees at the initial session, but by Thursday evening attendance had grown to 800. A UNCG report summarizing activities after the conclusion of the Forum noted “that off-campus people outnumbered UNCG students and faculty, that they were primarily Negroes and males, that a considerable number of them seemed to be sympathetic toward the concepts of Black Power, and that they often expressed their feelings with applause or cheers.”

The Forum did not occur without controversy. Editorials and essays declared that the University had been “used” by activists with a specific agenda. Rumors abounded that Ku Klux Klan members planned to attend the Forum, and UNCG Chancellor James Ferguson was forced to ask police officers with the City of Greensboro to attend each of the scheduled sessions to “guard against possible trouble.”

Black Power Forum participants, 1967
Additionally, administrators expressed concern that the sessions “did not produce a detached, objective examination of the ideas of Black Power but were given over to vigorous exhortations in support and advocacy of the movement.” But they could not deny that the Forum provided students with a learning opportunity. As stated in the UNCG report, “today’s students, today’s citizenry in general must learn all they can about the nature of Black Power and the forces that brought it into being. They need to be aware of the task before them. Above all, they should not wait until a crisis develops – until there is a riot in the streets – to gain knowledge of this troublesome subject.”

The Black Power Forum also served as a catalyst for the founding of the Neo-Black Society in Fall 1968. As Marie Darr Scott (class of 1970) noted in her 2011 oral history interview, "this Black Power Forum was just—I mean, it just opened up a whole new thought and mind for the black students at UNCG ... Not everyone got involved but almost all of the black students were interested in forming a black student organization on campus." 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Two Decades of Turbulence: Leadership in the School of Education

Today's Spartan Stories post was written by Arlen Hansen, a PhD student in History. Arlen worked in Special Collections and University Archives during Summer 2017, assisting with research related to the University's 125th anniversary celebration.

Robert O'Kane

Education has always played a significant role at UNCG, having been founded in 1891 as the State Normal and Industrial School to educate women as teachers. However, from 1966 to 1986, the university faced what can only be described as a time of turbulence and uncertainty with education. This stemmed from the challenges faced by the two deans of the School of Education at that time, Robert O’Kane, and his successor, David Reilly.

The School of Education was created in 1949 and include both undergraduate and graduate level courses. In 1966, the Dean of Education Kenneth Howe departed UNCG for Kabul, Afghanistan, to become an education adviser for the U.S. Agency for International Development. His replacement, was Robert O’Kane, a Harvard Ph.D. graduate who came to UNCG from Rutgers University. His initial major focus as dean, was the recruitment of outstanding faculty to the school. However, what this turned out to mean in practice was hiring fellow Harvard graduates like himself. It became something of a joke among the “non-Harvard” faculty of the school to call O’Kane and his group of new hires the “Harvard Mafia.”

But O’Kane’s real troubles began with the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education Programs (NCATE). During his tenure as Dean, the NCATE began to exert profound influence on university’s teacher education programs across the country. The first UNCG review by NCATE was in 1962, under Dean Howe’s tenure. During that visit, the NCATE team focused on how the teacher education program was organized, and were particularly concerned by the fact that control of teacher education seemed to be spread across the campus, rather than being centralized within the School of Education. Although UNCG did receive full accreditation for its teacher education program in 1964, NCATE would continue to ask for modifications. These contentious differences between UNCG and NCATE would persist for years, and in 1972, the University received another poor NCATE review.

The focus of criticism in the 1972 NCATE review remained the same as it had been in 1962. The teacher education program was cited for the absence of central control over its programs. Following the disappointing NCATE review, Chancellor Ferguson decided a leadership change was in order. He removed Dean O’Kane as the chair of the council that managed teacher education campus-wide, and appointed education professor Dwight Clark to serve as the coordinator. This move effectively removed teacher education from the purview of the Dean’s office which was a major blow for O’Kane. He subsequently stepped down as Dean in 1973.

David Reilly
O’Kane was replaced by David Reilly, who had previously been the chair of the psychology program in the School of Education.  During Reilly’s tenure as Dean, some long simmering conflicts with the School of Education escalated, and owing to his management of these issues, and of the School in general, Reilly would ultimately come to be viewed by many as a divisive figure. To his credit, Reilly made repeated attempts to reorganize and centralize the teacher education program. However, Reilly was opposed in his efforts by roughly half of the School’s faculty members.  Ultimate Reilly lost his battle, and the teacher education policies and practices remained as they were when he took the Dean’s chair. Then in 1985, Reilly tried and failed to abolish the Department of Curriculum and Educational Foundations, whose members had consistently opposed his policies. The fallout from this was the resignation or early retirement of several prominent faculty members, including former Dean Robert O’Kane. Reilly resigned as Dean in 1986, and resumed his professorial duties in the School.

To a significant extent, the problems which beset the School of Education under the administrations of O’Kane and Reilly were not of their making, and should not diminish their lifetime of contributions as educators.  The resignation letter of Robert O’Kane as Dean, dated August 1, 1973, captures his sadness in his struggles.  “I am in need of renewal,” O’Kane wrote, “a chance to reconsider my stance as a professional…and make judgments about how I shall spend the rest of my…career.”  In a sense, the same could figuratively have been said about the School of Education during those turbulent years.