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.

Monday, October 23, 2017

History of the Service League

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.


The Service League was established in 1942 as a student organization at the Woman’s College (later known as UNCG) to help U.S. troops during World War II. That year, according to the Greensboro Daily News, more than 100 students from the college volunteered for secretarial and lab work at the Greensboro chapter of the American Red Cross. During the 1944-1945 academic year, the League raised $11,700, which was enough monies to purchase six field ambulances for the Red Cross. Dropping the “War” part of their moniker at the of WWII in 1945, the Service League continued as a campus organization to help the less fortunate in the United States and throughout the world.

Campus Purse Drive totals
During the years of the Korean War (1950-1953), the League was very active. In 1952-53, the League was proud to report on their work “of conservation and improvement of the grounds and the soda shop,” as well as the placing of “KEEP OFF THE GRASS signs…in various spots on campus.” Other initiatives that year including collecting clothing donations and fundraising. Much of the donations were raised by going “dorm to dorm,” in what had become known as the yearly Campus Purse Drive. The other major fundraiser for the year was a faculty talent show.  Among the organizations which subsequently received the $3,400 dollars raised were the American Red Cross, the American Heart Association, and other nonprofits for cancer and polio research.

Additionally, the Service League sponsored a semi-annual blood drive in which a “Blood Mobile” would come to the campus each semester to collect blood donations. Most of the blood was shipped to South Korea for use in U.S. field hospitals there. The Blood Mobile visits would continue each year even after the Korean War, lasting until the 1980s. Also during the 1950s and 1960s, the Service League helped to fund the Foreign Scholarship Fund, which helped a foreign student’s study at the University.   

The exact causes are not clear, but in 1971 the Service League disbanded.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Romanesque Revival Architecture on the State Normal Campus

When plans were made public that The State Normal and Industrial School (now UNCG) was to be built in Greensboro, North Carolina, many architects were considered to design the primary campus buildings. Ultimately, it was decided that the firm of Epps & Hackett of Greensboro would construct the two main buildings in the Romanesque Revival style, for a cost of $500. A fashionable 19th century, Romanesque Revival was influenced by 11th and 12th century European architecture, and was often used on American college campuses. Henry Hobson Richardson made this style popular in late 19th century, and it would continue to be used for decades after his death in 1886.

Main Building and Brick Dormitory (now Foust), ca. 1896




The State Normal and Industrial School was a very large commission for the new firm of Epps & Hackett and they designed two imposing buildings, which would rise dramatically from land recently used for cornfields. Typical of Romanesque Revival style, the architects incorporated semi-circular arches and heavy frontal towers constructed of brick with granite trim to create an impressive façade. Thomas Woodroffe, the owner of the notable Mt. Airy Granite Company, was hired as the contractor.
When the school opened its doors in October of 1892, students were welcomed into the new buildings. Main Building included classrooms, administrative offices, recitation rooms, a library room, a gymnasium, and an assembly room, which was also used as a chapel. When the legislature appropriated additional monies for the school’s improvement in 1895, two flanking wings were added, allowing for additional classrooms and laboratories.

Brick Dormitory, 1900
Brick Dormitory was situated directly beside Main Building, with the two structures being joined by a large circular drive. The first floor of the dormitory housed the infirmary, as well as the dining room, which sat 150 students, while the large kitchen was located in the basement. When the building first opened, thirty-six rooms on the first and second floors were designated for students, and when the third floor was completed, it added twenty-two additional rooms. Eventually, a wing was added to the rear of the building, which created a new dining hall that sat 400 students and faculty and created additional bedrooms, increasing the capacity to 330 students and faculty residents.

Students' Building, 1915
As the student population grew, additional space was needed for campus gatherings, administrative offices, and social activities.  To meet these needs, Students’ Building was constructed on the site of college president Charles Duncan McIver’s barn. Built with monies raised by students and supporters of the school, the cornerstone was laid on College Avenue in 1902. The large three-story brick and granite structure reflected the Romanesque Revival style of Main Building and Brick Dormitory. It incorporated a 700 seat auditorium, literary society halls, reception areas, and meeting rooms. A special room dedicated to the Bailey sisters, who died in the school’s 1899 Typhoid epidemic, faced the front of the building and featured beautiful stained-glass windows. The third floor included bedrooms that could be rented by alumnae.  The college’s administration found a practical use for the basement by designating it for the domestic science and manual training departments.

Brick Dormitory in Ruins, 1904
Sadly, these Romanesque Revival buildings met varied fates. On the night of January 20, 1904, Brick Dormitory caught fire. While all of the students escaped unharmed, the building was totally destroyed. Considered dilapidated and out-of-fashion, Students’ Building was razed in 1950. Only Main Building continued to be used by the student body for classrooms and offices. In 1960, it was renamed Foust Building, in  honor of the second president of the college, Julius Foust. Now considered the most iconic structure on campus, the Foust Building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980, as one of the most important examples of the Romanesque Revival architecture in the state.

Monday, October 9, 2017

William Raymond Taylor’s Journey

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.

William Raymond Taylor may be one of the more colorful characters to have populated the ranks of Woman’s College (later UNCG) faculty. He was certainly one of the most challenging of faculty members for Woman’s College President Julius Foust, and a figure who always “pushed the envelope” of what was possible at the WC.

William Raymond Taylor was an English professor at the Woman’s College from 1921 to 1961, but he is better known for being the founder of the University’s Drama and Speech Department. UNCG’s Taylor Theater is named in his honor. A native of North Carolina, Taylor received his B.A. from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 1915, and his M.A. from Harvard in 1916, where he studied with prominent Shakespearean scholars, and became a close friend of the playwright Eugene O’Neill. He taught at Alabama Polytechnic Institute (later Auburn University) from 1916 to 1921, where he founded the drama department there, before coming to the Woman’s College. UNCG historian Allen Trelease writes that knowing Taylor’s love of and involvement in drama, then President of the Woman’s College, Julius Foust was reluctant to hire Taylor and allow him to begin to pursue drama once on site at the Woman’s College.1  It would be the beginning of a long history of tension between Foust and Taylor.

Throughout his 40 years at the Woman’s College, Taylor would divide his time between teaching language and literature, and building the theater program at the Woman’s College. He organized the first drama group at the Woman’s College in 1923, called the Play-Likers. The Play-Likers would evolve into the Drama Department (now the School of Theater and College of Visual and Performing Arts). Taylor would direct more than 200 plays during his years at the Woman’s College. In the early days, Taylor took the Play-Likers on the road, performing plays in small theaters for townspeople in towns throughout the Piedmont and Eastern North Carolina. Also for the first several years of the Play-Likers’ existence, Taylor and his wife, promoted further interest in theater by taking groups of Woman’s College students to New York City to see Broadway plays. On some of these trips they would pack in multiple performances, seeing almost a dozen plays on the trip.2

During this time, Taylor began urging a reluctant Julius Foust to build an auditorium. He, and an associate traveled all over Europe looking at theaters and opera houses for design inspirations for the prospective building. In 1927, when the new Aycock Auditorium made its appearance at the corner of Tate and Spring Garden Streets, Taylor prevailed upon a skeptical Julius Foust to make the building a theater as well. Foust only half-jokingly referred to Taylor’s growing assortment of backstage props, set pieces and paraphernalia as “the devil’s workshop.”3  Taylor would “push the envelope” with some of his 1920s productions, particularly his version of the Broadway hit “Tarnish.” Foust opposed the play’s “low moral tone,” but allowed the production to go forward. Apparently, Foust did not know just how “low” he would consider the moral tone to be. Foust did not go to see the play, but when hearing about its debut, he called Taylor into his office and nearly fired him. Taylor would later say that he never regained Foust’s confidence after “Tarnish.”4

Taylor (left) and members of the Play-Likers
preparing for a performance in 1932
In the late 1940s, Taylor’s position and stature at the Woman’s College began to suffer and diminish. He found himself increasingly incompatible with his associates in the drama division, and critics began to charge Taylor and the Play-Likers with sloppy business practices. The Play-Likers began to disintegrate, audiences declined, and the organization began losing money.5  These problems would eventually lead to drama acquiring status as its own department “in 1953—a development that,” Trelease writes, “involved the removal of W. Raymond Taylor from its leadership.”6  Taylor would return to teaching full-time until his retirement.

After his retirement in 1961, Taylor started a successful stage production and theater supply business with his son. It became one of the largest such firms in the nation. During this time, Taylor and his son designed and installed staging for Las Vegas casinos, and materials for theaters all over the United States, and even in South America. He became an award-winning rosarian (a cultivator of roses). His garden eventually contained over 1200 rose bushes of 250 varieties. In his later years, Taylor also did extensive research in the field of theology, as well as studies in New Testament Greek, after experiencing what he called a “spiritual awakening” at the age of 75. Taylor would tell the Greensboro Daily News in 1972, that around 3:00 AM on the morning of April 3, 1970, he had found himself wide awake and was aware of a voice speaking to him. “I did not hear the voice” he explained, “but in the place of audible sound there was the completely experienced “consciousness of voice.” Taylor said the message of the voice was crystal clear: “You are weak. You are all alone in your loneliness. You need the strength and comfort of my spirit.” A few days later, Taylor, who had never been a church-goer, would tell his wife, a lifelong church-goer, that he wanted to go to church with her on Sunday. Taylor’s “spiritual awakening” would lead to him traveling all over the South, preaching in dozens of Baptist churches, during the last years of his life.7

Taylor died in 1976, at the age of 81.


1  Allen W. Trelease, Making North Carolina Literate: The University of North Carolina at Greensboro from Normal School to Metropolitan University (Durham: Carolina Academic Press, 2004), 103. 
2  Elisabeth Ann Bowles, A Good Beginning: The First Four Decades of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 1967), 150, and Trelease, Making North Carolina Literate, 119. 
3 Trelease, Making North Carolina Literate, 88. 
4 Greensboro News Record, September 23, 1990. 
5 Trelease, Making North Carolina Literate, 169. 
6  Ibid., 247. 
7  Greensboro Daily News, June 18, 1972.

Monday, October 2, 2017

125 Years Ago: Starting Classes at State Normal

On October 5, 1892 – 125 years ago this week – the doors of the State Normal and Industrial School (now UNCG) opened its doors for an initial class of 198 women from across North Carolina. The institution was originally chartered by the State of North Carolina in February 1891, with a mission of training female teachers and instructing them in “drawing, telegraphy, type-writing, stenography, and such other industrial arts as may be suitable to their sex and conducive to their support and usefulness.” Leading the charge in the establishment and development of the school was Charles Duncan McIver, a staunch advocate for public schools, teacher education, and higher education for women. After the state legislature approved funding, McIver was named the first president of the State Normal.

View of the State Normal campus from Spring Garden Street, 1894
Four North Carolina communities put forth offers to be the home for the new school: Durham, Graham, Thomasville, and Greensboro. Ultimately, Greensboro won due to its relatively central location and the convergence of railroad lines from six directions (see this post for more information on the selection of Greensboro as the school's site). McIver and other school boosters quickly set about identifying a location in Greensboro where the new institution could be built. Ultimately, in November 1891, the site that was selected was one referred to as the "Pullen Site," located about a half mile west of Greensboro Female College on Spring Garden Street. This site was also within view, but not directly on, the railroad line. Two Raleigh real estate speculators and philanthropists, Richard Stanhope Pullen and Robert T. Gray, donated the ten acres that would house the school.

After a year spent planning the new school and constructing its facilities, classes began at the State Normal on October 5, 1892 (the date we now celebrate as Founders Day).Courses of study were divided into three departments: normal (teaching), business, and domestic science. The normal, listed as the leading department, included pedagogy classes as well as coursework in English, history, math, science, foreign language, art, music, and physical culture. This department also served as the academic home for McIver. In addition to serving as President of the school, he taught courses in pedagogy, education, and civics – courses that maybe went on a bit longer than anticipated. A memoir written by a staff member noted that “both in class and in chapel, he kept the students after the appointed hour so frequently that faculty members tried to avoid having their own classes scheduled in the following periods.”

President Charles Duncan McIver and the State Normal faculty, 1893
The standard course load for these new students included 22 to 27 class meetings per week, divided among six or eight individual courses. Study time was curtailed by the dormitory lights-out rule from 10 pm to 6 am, designed to ensure that students got adequate sleep. Every freshman regardless of major took the same eight courses in algebra, English, general and English history, Latin, physical geography and botany, drawing, vocal music, and physical culture (although domestic science students substituted sewing for drawing).

Founding the State Normal proved to be a milestone in education – and particularly women’s education – in North Carolina and throughout the United States. McIver and the early educators and students at the State Normal set the groundwork for UNCG as it stands today. One hundred twenty-five years after the first classes took place, the legacy remains.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Brain Videos, IV Bags, and Deadheads: The Most Interesting Teaching Experience Contest

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.
Michael McIntosh

One day in 1998, sitting in the UNCG Dining Services facilities, Michael McIntosh, an Associate Professor of Nutrition at UNCG, would recall the exact moment—on a day twenty-four years earlier, that he knew he wanted to be a teacher. It was the day the new English teacher arrived at the mission school in the small village in Cameroon, West Africa, where McIntosh was a Peace Corps volunteer. A few months earlier, the previous English teacher had had to leave the country suddenly because of a serious illness, and McIntosh, who had been training local farmers in fish farming (to enhance local production and consumption of protein-rich foods), was pressed into service as an interim English teacher at the mission school. The next day he found himself out of the field and in front of sixty French-speaking junior high school students. McIntosh would soon discover that their level of comprehension in English was about the same as his own comprehension in French. Over several weeks, McIntosh and the students learned to communicate with each other by use of hand signals, demonstrations, models of all sorts, and blackboards full of chalk. It was difficult, but at last McIntosh felt that he was making real progress. McIntosh described the following three months of teaching those Cameroonian middle schoolers as some of the most fulfilling of his life. And then the new English teacher arrived, and McIntosh sadly went back to the fields. It was at that moment, he knew he wanted to be a teacher. McIntosh told this story as a part of the “Most Interesting Teaching Experience” Contest held by the UNCG Dining Services in 1998.

McIntosh’s story is inspirational, and thus perhaps fitting for a teacher from a university that started its life as the “State Normal and Industrial School.” A “normal” school was a college with the specific mission of training teachers. While McIntosh’s story was inspirational, many other entries in the contest were mostly humorous, if a little frightening on occasion. William Purkey’s class in Counseling asked him to describe what “encounter group activities” were like in the 1960s. Purkey wrote, “To demonstrate…I asked for 10 volunteers to form a very tight circle in the middle of the classroom, then I asked for a single volunteer to “break” into the circle. In the 1960s the one being excluded would run around the closed circle, looking for an opening. But I forgot [to mention] this…. The excluded volunteer suddenly started from one side of the classroom, ran to the circle. Then vaulted completely over the 10 circled student and landed head first…inside the circle.” Purkey concluded his story by saying that he has never since described that activity again. He did not say if the vaulting student sustained any injuries.

An even more disturbing experience was described by Psychology Professor Kathy Bell. While teaching about electrical impulses in the brain, Bell showed a video segment on how electrical impulses in the brain fire during a seizure. In the video, areas of the brain firing were illustrated with flashing lights. While this “seizure” was being demonstrated on screen, a student in the class had an actual seizure. Wrote Bell, “After depressing the student’s tongue to avoid her choking, I sent another student to call an ambulance. The student was fine by the time the ambulance arrived….” Later in the semester, Bell would discuss a study of children in Japan who were having seizure in reaction to flashing lights. She observed that this “provided a possible explanation for what we had observed in class. Needless to say, I do not intend to show the brain video again.”

But the Grand Prize winner of the contest takes the cake for being both hilarious and disturbing, in nearly equal portions. Bill Tullar remembered a professor from his college days whose name was Hailey. Professor Hailey had a reputation for giving the most difficult tests anyone had ever seen or experienced. Hailey hated giving make-up exams, and made them absolutely impossible if he had to give them. Consequently, students would do anything to avoid missing a regularly scheduled exam. One night during finals, Tullar remembers walking past Professor Hailey’s classroom and seeing a most astonishing sight through the open door. Tullar wrote, “In the front row of the class was a young man. He had his IV stand, a full IV bag hung on the stand, and the IV needle was firmly stuck in his left arm. He was writing furiously. This young man had gotten out of Moses Cone hospital, come to school to take the exam, and as soon as he was done, he went right back to Moses Cone, IV bag and all.”

Adams teaching on the bus in the summer of 1989
UNCG is, of course, no longer strictly a “teacher’s college,” but is classified as a “research university.” Yet, teaching, and the student-teacher interaction, as either transformative or frightening, as the anecdotes above illustrate, remains central to the task of education, here at UNCG, and everywhere that there are students and teachers. “Research and teaching are…inseparable,” wrote Sociology Professor Rebecca Adams in her response to the contest’s question. The entries were mostly hand written on a half-page size entry card that could be picked up at the Dining Services locations. For her entry, Adams submitted an article she had published in which she described teaching a summer class on Field research and Methods and Applied Social Theory to twenty-one undergraduates and then taking them on the Grateful Dead’s 1989 Summer Tour to research the subculture surrounding the band. In the article, Adams describes the close bonds that formed among the students from the experience of class on the road, and how, she wrote, “The students became a part of my life.” Long after that summer tour, Adams and the students she came to call “my deadheads” would meet up again over the years at Grateful Dead concerts. Adams husband and toddler daughter had accompanied the class on the tour, and wrote Adams,
At the urging of the students, my daughter spoke her first sentence: “Go Bus!” They held her, talked to her, and played with her. They sided with my husband when we bickered. The intensity of emotion I felt towards “my deadheads” both surprised and scared me; I had always kept a proper distance from students. Then I realized the benefits of this closeness. Because the students knew me, really knew me, they were more likely to come to me with problems, questions, and ideas. They knew I would respond as a friend, not just to the limits of my bureaucratic responsibility. They respected me more, not less. I now have more insight into the lives students lead. I am a much more effective teacher.
Sounds like a true education, for teacher and student alike.

Monday, September 18, 2017

The History of Dance on Campus

Student Dancer, 1928

Dance has always been a very important part of the history of The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG). When the college opened in 1892 as the State Normal and Industrial School, “movement” was taught as part of the Physiology and Hygiene curriculum under the direction of resident physician Dr. Anna Gove. The program stressed posture, calisthenics, gymnastics, and walking. This cutting edge curriculum was a product of several important conferences held during the mid-nineteenth century, which attempted to refine different physical education ideologies prevalent in the United States and Europe.

Only a decade after the school opened, Physical Culture had broken away from Physiology and Hygiene, concentrating on “the development of grace, precision, alertness, agility, and endurance.” This plan of study also included sports such as tennis, field hockey, and basketball. Physical education was stressed so that the students could both keep in shape and learn basic athletic skills that would prepare them for their career as teachers. By 1911, the school’s “Physical Training” program included rhythmical movements and folk dancing, as well as singing and games. These areas remained an important part of teacher training through the 1920s.

Folk Dancers

During these years, dance also emerged as an important part of school pageants and productions. Park Night, May Day, Field Day, and school clubs provided opportunities to bring both music and dance to campus events. Park Night festivities began with the “Dance to the Past,” followed by a large procession of students carrying torches. The event continued with lyrical poetry, presentations, and a solo dance, ending with the “Dance to the Future.”  The elaborate May Day celebrations included students dancing around colorful, ribboned poles, as well as group dances performed as part of smaller productions held around the campus. Even Field Day, primarily an athletic event, incorporated a “dance drama” performed by the Orchesus Club. This exclusive campus group was founded for students interested in interpretive dance.

Mary Channing Coleman

In 1920, college president Julius Foust lured Mary Channing Coleman away from her position at Columbia University to be the director of the school’s Physical Education Department, and the wheels were in motion to move the program into one of national importance. Under Coleman’s direction, dance became a growth area within the physical education curriculum, offering a variety of choices such as rhythmics (including interpretive dance), clogging, and folk dancing. Dances such as clogging and square dancing, which were both closely connected to the mountain culture of the state, were particularly popular.

The students’ interest in dance was fueled by the visit to the college by several important dance troops, including the Duncan Dancers, which had been organized by the internationally renowned American dancer, Isadore Duncan; the Denishawn Players, featuring Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn; and the famous Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova.

Virginia Moomaw
The curriculum continued to grow under Coleman’s strong management and in 1945 Virginia Moomaw was brought to the college to develop an official dance program. Shortly after her hire, the interdisciplinary Graduate Creative Arts Program was approved, which established dance as an MFA degree program and in 1957, students had the opportunity to declare dance as their major. Moomaw was also very involved with dance outside of the school. She was active in the early years of the National Dance Association as well as the AAHPERD (American Association of Health, Physical Educations, Recreation, and Dance). Her reputation for excellence and her creative curriculum made the college’s dance program one of the best in the nation.


Student Dancer, 1990s
In the following decades, dance became a part of several administrative changes. In 1963, the program was included in the Physical Education Department with health education, physical education and recreation but by 1970, dance became part of the School of Heath, Physical Education, and Recreation, which was renamed the School of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance in 1980. When in 1991, the School of Health and Human Performance was formed, dance was included and remained as part of the department until 2010 when it joined the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance.  In 2016, the Department of Art merged with the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance to form the College of Visual and Performing Arts, the largest performing arts programs in the state and one of the largest programs in the region and in the country.*

* The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (20 January 2015). "UNCG: GRAMMY nods for four with ties to School of Music, Theatre... -- GREENSBORO, N.C., Jan. 20, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --".

Monday, September 11, 2017

Bringing Music to Peabody Park

If you have ever walked the length of College Ave (in the direction of Market Street), you will eventually find yourself crossing a metal and concrete bridge. The structure and placement of the bridge creates for the walker the illusion of floating through and above a wooded section of Peabody Park. As you pass through a line of tree tops, you begin to see hints of a brick and glass structure located just beyond the bridge. The building’s multi-story entrance beckons students, faculty, and visitors to pass through its glass doors and experience the energy and creativity of music education as well as the wonders of musical performance. It is the Music Building.

The Music Building is situated at the corner of West Market Street and McIver Streets. Drawing on the existing landscape of Peabody Park, the design team built the three-story structure into an existing hill. Thus, the 130,000 square foot building blends into the surrounding landscape and conveys a sense of permeance. Would you be surprised to learn that the building only opened in 1999?
Prior to the building’s construction, the music program had struggled with growing pains and operated out of seven different buildings on campus. Faculty and students had to walk from building to building to study, rehearse, and perform. For example, the Brown Building on Tate Street housed the program’s administration and instruction spaces. The Brown Building Annex housed rehearsal spaces, the music education library, and faculty offices. Three separate campus-owned houses were used as offices and practice spaces. Finally, music performances were held at the University’s Auditorium and the nearby Curry Building. Thus, the hope was to bring together all the program’s functions and house them in one academic building.

The planning and construction of the Music Building in Peabody Park reflects the forward vision of its administrators and faculty. Starting in 1977, the music school Dean Lawrence Hart charged a committee to consider the needs of the program and the feasibility of constructing a new campus building. The committee’s work stopped with the Dean’s retirement. In 1984, with the appointment of Dean Arthur Tollefson, there was a new push to study the program’s current and future needs. Dean Tollefson himself articulated a vision of a building that provided both the “appropriate tools” and space to support a world-class music education.

Over a period of years, the University’s Board of Trustees worked to obtain funding for a new building. With the passage of the $310 million North Carolina University’s Improvement Bond by voters in 1993, monies were secured for various capital improvements on campus as well as the construction of a $23.4 million music building. In February 1994, the Board of Trustees voted to select the architecture firm Calloway, Johnson, Moore, and West of Winston-Salem. This firm designed the building in association with Howard, Montgomery and Steger Performance Architects of New Orleans. Also in February 1994, the Board of Trustees selected the site of the new building. Surprisingly, the Board rejected Chancellor William E. Moran’s recommendation of constructing the new building on Tate Street (between the Weatherspoon Museum and the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks). Instead, they approved an alternative location for the music building on the corners of West Market and McIver Streets. The Board justified its decision by stating that the new site would provide the music building more visibility.

The selection of the West Market and McIver Streets site was not fully embraced by all of the University’s faculty and students. For example, the Environmental Awareness Foundation (a coalition of students, faculty, and members of the surrounding community protested and expressed concern about the impact of new construction in Peabody Park. At the same time, this group did recognize the need for a new music school building. Several demonstrations were held on campus. In response to these protests, the University’s administration sought design changes and protective measures to minimize any impact on the flora and fauna in Peabody Park.

On August 1999, the new music building opened its doors to 50 faculty members and 500 music students.to its 500 students. The new building featured a 351-seat recital hall, a 120-seat organ recital hall, and a 140-seat lecture hall. One of the star features of the organ recital hall was a stunning 28-feet tall 1,900 pipe organ. The organ was fabricated by the Andover Organ Company in Methuen, Massachusetts. Additionally, the building contained faculty offices, classrooms, rehearsal spaces, recording studios, and a music library. The new building also adopted a range of new technologies. For example, the Wave (Wenger Acoustic Virtual Environment) Room stimulated the acoustics and environment of various concert halls around the world. Chancellor Patricia Sullivan formally dedicated the building on October 3, 1999. The afternoon-long event was filled with tours, demonstrations, and recitals.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Gregory Ivy: The Legacy of a Non-Conformist

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.

To the extent that UNCG is known as an “arts school” in North Carolina, much of the credit for that reputation can go to Gregory Ivy (1904-1985). “Consider,” wrote his student Lee Hall, “what the world and North Carolina were like in the Great Depression, what the Woman’s College was about…when Gregory Ivy arrived in his super-modern space craft and -- seeming to barely speak the language of the country he had invaded -- urged the female natives to seek and value freedom, to question what they had been taught was unquestionable, and to notice that most authority figures were swaggering about as buck naked as the emperors they imagined themselves to be.”1  According to Lee Hall, “Ivy might as well have been an alien when he arrived in North Carolina” in 1935, to found the art department of the Woman’s College (later UNCG).2

Ivy was a Columbia University-educated artist, a modernist influenced by surrealism and the Cubists. As such, according to Hall, Ivy was always advancing challenges to the status quo, and he made the newly minted art department at the Woman’s College into “a mini-cosmos of the humanistic world he envisioned.”3  With this guiding philosophy, Ivy influenced generations of students, and shaped art education at the Woman’s College. In 1938, Ivy established a summer art colony held at the Beaufort Summer School through the mid-1950s, which focused on landscape painting. In 1941, with the help and support of community members, Ivy established an art gallery, now known as the Weatherspoon Art Museum. Ivy’s connections to the wider art world meant that he could bring nationally known artists to the Woman’s College. This is how the sculptor Maurice Glickman, for instance, anchored the inaugural exhibit at the new Woman’s College Art Gallery in 1941. In subsequent decades, under Ivy leadership, the Weatherspoon Gallery became nationally known in the art world as a leading showcase of modernist art. His legacy is still felt in the Arts at UNCG, and in the Weatherspoon Art Museum.

Ivy's watercolor Dead End, Beaufort (1940)
Lee Hall met Gregory Ivy as an art student at the Woman’s College.4  Hall would later recall that in 1950s “McCarthyism” America, Ivy “did not fit in, he did not conform.”5  Ivy had built the UNC system’s first department to award a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in fine arts, and assembled an art department of very talented colleagues. According to Lee Hall, “these “liberal” or “arty” or “pinko” faculty…kept the gossips and scolds stoked, and caused among the keepers of the status quo near-terminally raised eyebrows and pursed mouths.” Lee Hall recalled that students seemed to either love or hate Ivy, and recalled the gossip of her fellow students about him. From students who liked him: “He’s hip.” “He has Negro friends.” From students who hated him: “He’s an atheist and communist.” “He believes in sex before marriage.” “He’s going to be fired.”6

Gregory Ivy left the Woman’s College in 1961, after twenty-six years, to work as design coordinator for an architectural firm in Greensboro. He resigned with an angry letter to acting-Chancellor W.W. Pierson bemoaning the lack of funding for the art department, and the apparent disinterest of the College to fund it. “The Art Department,” he wrote, “is the only department here which is not housed, and yet, it is the best known nationally of all the departments.”7  His resignation letter detailed all of his grievances with the administration, and continued, “I feel that I can no longer assume the responsibility for maintaining decent standards under these conditions. The quality of the work done under these really outrageous and scandalous conditions suffers.”8

 In 1965, Ivy left Greensboro to head the art department at California State College in Fullerton. Over the course of his long career, Ivy participated in exhibitions with major artists such as Edward Hopper, Jackson Pollack, and Marc Chagall, and at institutions including the Brooklyn Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago. The Weatherspoon Art Museum houses a major collection of Ivy’s work.


1 Lee Hall. Lecture delivered November 13, 2005 at Weatherspoon Art Museum on the occasion of the public reception for the exhibition, “Gregory D. Ivy: Making North Carolina Modern.” Gregory Ivy Bio Files, Special Collections and University Archives, UNCG Libraries. 
2 Ibid. 
3 Ibid. 
4 Lee Hall was the student artist who drew the male nude which graced the cover of the Fall 1954 issue of the Coraddi. In the ensuing controversy, The Coraddi staff was censured by Chancellor Edward Kidder Graham, resulting in the resignation of the magazine's staff. 
5  Lee Hall. Lecture delivered November 13, 2005 at Weatherspoon Art Museum on the occasion of the public reception for the exhibition, “Gregory D. Ivy: Making North Carolina Modern.” Gregory Ivy Biographical File, Special Collections University Archives, UNCG Libraries.   
6 Lee Hall, e-mail to Will South, 4 March, 2004. Gregory Ivy Bio Files, Special Collections University Archives, UNCG Libraries. 
7 The Carolinian, May 12, 1961. 
8 Ibid.

Monday, August 28, 2017

The Birth of the Spartans

One year after the era of co-education was ushered in with the enrollment of male undergraduates in 1964, Frank Pleasants was hired to coordinate competitive athletics for male students at UNCG. Campus administrators saw a robust athletic program as a significant way of encouraging male enrollment.

UNCG men's basketball head coach Jim Swiggett
In 1966, Jim Swiggett, a highly successful coach at a nearby high school, was hired as UNCG’s first men’s basketball coach. His inaugural squad was developed from the existing student body, with open tryouts for players across campus. In October 1967, after the first two days of team practice, Swiggett reported 14 men participating in workouts. He stated, “We have some boys who have played some basketball, and some who haven’t,” adding he had “15 uniforms, and if these boys who are out want to play, we’ll carry them.”

Also in October 1967 after discussions with athletes and other students, UNCG athletic teams officially adopted the “Spartans” as their mascot. Pleasants noted they “were looking for a name which had a masculine ring, and one also which had associated with it a tradition of courage.” Additionally, they avoided duplicating names of other teams in the region, specifically veering away from “animal names,” like the Wolfpack, Catamounts, or Tigers, for that reason. Strong consideration was given to the “Generals” and the “Brigadiers” in an effort to honor Revolutionary War hero General Nathanael Greene. But Pleasants noted that Greensboro’s professional hockey team at the time was named the Generals, and argued that the Brigadiers “sounded a little too jazzy.”

Brian Emerson
With a roster and mascot in place, the first Spartans squad prepared for their opening game on November 20, 1967 against the College of Charleston. Days before the game, Swiggett noted, “The spirit on the team is excellent, and we’re really looking forward to beginning intercollegiate play. But actually, I don’t really know what to expect. We want to win, but we want to look good whether we win or lose.”

While the match with Charleston was a close one, ultimately a lack of height coupled with a lack of experience resulted in a one-point loss for the Spartans (80-79). The team lost its first seven games, with five defeats by a margin four or fewer points. The Spartans earned their first win against N.C. Wesleyan at home in Coleman Gymnasium by a score of 87-65. They finished their inaugural season with a 2-11 record, and secured their spot in the history books as the first in a long tradition of UNCG Spartans.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Darlinettes and Rhythmettes: Big Band Sounds at the WC

In 1942, big band music from the likes of Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, and Benny Goodman were all the rage, but local big bands were hard to find. Most of the musicians in these groups were male, and they were being drafted into military service during World War II. But a group of students at the Woman's College stepped in to fill the void, forming the Darlinettes and their four-member vocal group, The Rhythmettes, in 1942.

Practicing in the Brown Music Building
Many of the Darlinettes' and Rhythmettes' performances took place at Woman's College. They played many of the formal dances and "soldier dances" held on campus during and immediately after WWII. But the group was not confined to the WC campus. They played shows at the USO Club on North Elm Street, and they entertained troops stationed at the Army Air Corps' Overseas Replacement Depot in Greensboro. In 1946, they traveled to Asheville to provide entertainment at the 1st annual conference of the 191st District of Rotary International. Cleveland Thayer, General Chairman of the Distrct, wrote to offer his personal thanks to the Darlinettes for "the fine work of your orchestra."

The founding leader of the Darlinettes and Rhythmettes was Cherry Folger, who also played trumpet. Folger was reportedly the first trumpet major in the history of WC, and was quite the musician and leader. At the age of 14, she was fronting an all-male musical group in her hometown of White Plains, NY. According to a newspaper article from 1943, she "often hits high 'E' above high 'C' on the instrument, and has been known to touch high 'G.'" She formed the Darlinettes soon after arriving at WC in 1942 (she transferred after spending her first two years of college at the Eastman School of Music and the University of Rochester).

 

When Folger graduated in 1944, Doris Funderburk took over the baton for the Darlinettes. Under Funderburk's leadership, the Darlinettes continued their busy performing schedule. But they also found time to record an album, titled "Autumn Serenade." The 78 rpm records were made May 26, 1946, at the Vic Smith Recording Service in Greensboro. They featured 10 songs, including an original piece written and orchestrated by Funderburk called "You Don't Get it From Books."

The group continued performing, with membership swapping out with each graduation, through the early 1950s. Many of the Darlinettes took up non-musical careers after graduation, but a few continued in a musical path. Frances Stevens Snipe of Clemson, SC, sang with Greensboro band leader Burt Massengale's group for a number of years. Mary Sampson Irvin played trombone with the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra. And Doris Funderburk Morgan served as the organist at the old Charlotte Coliseum for many years, playing music to enliven crowds at the Charlotte Checkers ice hockey games.

In September 2002, several members of the Darlinettes were reunited at an event organized by Burt Bruton, the nephew of the late Sue Bruton, an original member and saxophonist in the Darlinettes. The following May, the UNCG School of Music declared May 2 to be Darlinette Day. They hosted an event featuring Darlinettes members and established a Darlinettes Artist in Residence Endowment Fund, aimed at bringing female jazz artists to the school.