Acting on an impulse, Whitney Brown ’10 (MA) changed the course of her life. A Phi Beta Kappa perfectionist, intent on a career studying folklore, she turned down a promising job with the Smithsonian Institution and instead ran off to Wales to learn the ancient art of building dry-stone walls.
History, says UNC professor William Sturkey, isn’t necessarily what happened. “It’s what gets written down.”
Recent events like the renaming of Saunders Hall, and the national attention focused on the Silent Sam confederate monument, have forced Carolina to reckon with the unwritten parts of its racial history.
That’s the point of the “Race and Memory at UNC” class taught by Sturkey, an assistant professor of history. His class is one of 18 in the University’s shared learning initiative, titled “Reckoning: Race, Memory and Reimagining the Public University.” Over 800 students are taking courses. Sturkey’s class is the only one designed specifically for the initiative. It is by far the largest, with over 100 students enrolled.
Sturkey doesn’t want to reinvent the wheel. He just wants to teach history in a much more transparent and honest way. And if that makes some folks uncomfortable, well, that gives him fuel for the fire. Because he doesn’t want his grandchildren to be having these same racial arguments 100 years from now.
Find out more about William Sturkey: “Some Things That Are Just Wrong,” in the November/December 2019 Carolina Alumni Review.
Danny Rosin ’90 paid his way though college “leveraging my love for Carolina (and hatred for dook). I did this through a small business enterprise on campus, where I was the guy knocking on dorm doors.” The business was selling T-shirts, which included the iconic ’25 things you need to do before you graduate from UNC.’
Today, as the founder of promotional products company Brand Fuel, “we hold CLC licenses to manage the protection of UNC’s sacred marks versus the production of rogue that helped fund my education.” Take a nostalgic trip down the Franklin Street of the 1980s as Danny tells his unlikely tale.
The academic rigors and culture of college can trip up even the best-prepared. Jeff Powell ’15 fell back on his love of creating objects, and that eventually led him to Holden Mora. In this episode, Powell discusses the trials and tribulations he encountered while building his first prosthetic hand for the 5-year-old boy.
Find out more about Jeff Powell and The Helping Hand Project at alumni.unc.edu/news/a-hands-on-education/.
To the rest of the world, Alexander Julian ’69 is a an internationally-acclaimed designer who credits his style to his Chapel Hill upbringing. To the Tar Heel faithful, he’s the man behind the iconic argyle designs on all of the Tar Heel sports uniforms. Hear him tell the story of how that came to be.
From a childhood bedroom in Greensboro gazing at National Geographic maps tacked to the walls to planting a Tar Heel flag on the North Pole, Dr. Ranjan Sharma ’82 has accomplished a feat most travelers can only dream about. Sharma was featured in the March/April 2019 issue of the Review (“An Allergist With a Travel Bug”).
One day in the future, he might lose his ability to speak. So to Sam Anthony ’91, each second counts. Every word matters. And every person he meets is important.
Instead of our usual stories about Carolina, and Carolina alumni, our latest episode features a selection of a cappella holiday music courtesy of the UNC Loreleis and Clef Hangers. The session was recorded during a recent performance at the George Watts Hill Alumni Center.
Photographer Tyler Cunningham ’97 believed that she could do more with her camera. A podcast introduced her to Through Our Eyes. The project distributes cameras to members of the homeless communities, allowing participants to tell the stories of their lives through images of their own creation. Cunningham decided to bring the project to Raleigh. With the help of her church and local organizations, she handed out over 100 cameras just days before Hurricane Florence battered the Triangle.
The text message read something like, “I have ALS. I need you to tell my story.” And just like that, a wildlife documentary about red wolves in eastern North Carolina became a documentary about life, and death, and friendship. So Jeff Mittelstadt ’07 (MBA) quit his day job and learned to cry quietly behind his camera as he filmed the final years of his friend Chris Lucash’s life.
More than 4,000 of the newest members of the Carolina family have arrived in Chapel Hill, ready to begin their Tar Heel journey – just as soon as they deal with move-in, family, roommates and simply finding their way around campus.
1968 was a watershed year in American history. For college students, Vietnam, civil rights and the sexual revolution mixed with the more mundane realities of daily life on campus. Back in Chapel Hill for their 50th reunion – some of them for the first time since graduation – the UNC class of 1968 gathered to reminisce about what it was like to live through that historic time.
Mike Wiley ’04 has been performing for school and regional theater audiences for almost two decades as a solo artist, and he often plays more than two dozen characters during a performance. “You almost feel like you have multiple personality disorder,” he says.
Martha Gunter Caldwell ’39 was on the small side from the beginning and topped out at 4-foot-10, but she has lived a big — and long — life. Caldwell, who turned 100 in April, graduated from UNC at a time when few women attended college.
“I still love Chapel Hill — I still love it. And every time somebody goes, I say, ‘Blow a kiss to the Old Well for me,’ ” Caldwell says. “Yes, I’m a Tar Heel. Hark the sound!”
Find the full story at the GAA website.
Jim White ’71 tells the story of the Jim White Oral History collection at UNC, and how he and his high school students became oral historians. The full story, “Nobody Asked Me That Before,” and some veterans’ stories from the collection are in the November/December 2017 Carolina Alumni Review.
Freddie Kiger ’74, teacher of the GAA’s overwhelmingly popular N.C. History Series, gives us a preview of his class “History of The University of North Carolina, Part II (1835-61),” marking the rise of UNC — a “golden age,” if you will — before the destructive whirlwind of secession and the Civil War.