Why They Give

Class of 1953 Minerva and Minerva Garden Endowment



1953 was a dynamic graduation year. American military accomplishments during WWII created new international relationships and influence. Although both the United States and the Soviet Union announced development of hydrogen bombs, and grim losses motivated an armistice to end the Korean Conflict, Americans enjoyed a relatively positive outlook. Writers and journalists provided progressive voices, such as Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible, and James Baldwin’s autobiographical novel, Go Tell It On the Mountain. Radio/television newsman, Edward R. Murrow (born near Greensboro), directed public attention to McCarthy’s abuses of power. African-American activists pursued equality through a bus boycott that became a model for Martin Luther King, and IBM threatened to rescind plant openings in states without a fully integrated workforce. New products abounded: plastics, televisions, TV dinners, GM’s first Corvette, and wide-screen CinemaScope that debuted in movie theaters. General George C. Marshall received the Nobel Peace Prize; Hemingway and Inge won Pulitzer Prizes; JFK and Jackie were married — America’s love affair with itself seemed indefatigable.

WC continued to grow. Edward Kidder Graham, Junior, son of a former UNC President, was the fourth Chancellor of Woman’s College in 1953. After receiving his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at UNC, he earned his PhD in medieval history at Cornell University, where he subsequently worked for a decade. He served on several college faculties and was a president of the Association for Higher Education, a member of the national selection committee for Fulbright awards and a consultant for the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

In celebration of their 50th anniversary (2003), the Class of ‘53 honored UNCG’s traditional patron, Minerva, Roman goddess of wisdom. They commissioned a new statue of Minerva to replace the original statue, a gift from the Class of 1907; they also provided for upkeep of the space around Minerva through the Class of 1953 Minerva Garden Endowment. Created by sculptor James Barnhill ’82 MFA in 2003, the statue graces the entrance to Elliott University Center. One of the pedestal panels is inscribed with a quote from Proverbs:

“Incline thine ear unto wisdom and apply thine heart to understanding.”

The Class of ‘53 alumnae support today’s UNCG students with a quiet space to rest, reflect and become inspired.


Story by Zoe Dillard, Donor Relations

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Kristine Davidson

Kristine Davidson

Associate Vice Chancellor
336.334.5679
kjdavidson@uncg.edu