Why They Give

Class of 1966 UNCG Teacher Education Fellows Program Fund Endowment

The Class of 1966 graduated into an America that valued education. President Johnson’s 1965 Higher Education Act established federal support programs for more students, increasing educational access, regardless of economic circumstance. Paired with the 1964 Civil Rights Act, strengthening the school desegregation of Brown vs. the Board of Education, ongoing progress in educational opportunities was in the air of 1966. Although Joanne Smart Drane and Bettye Ann Tillman integrated Woman’s College a decade before, the Class of ‘66 entered an era of conflict and promise for civil rights. The Civil Rights movement, gaining momentum with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., forced American society to reexamine itself.

Although their college years encompassed shocking media coverage of the Viet Nam war and the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963, the Class of ‘66 persevered and pursued educational growth and goals at UNCG.

The Class of ‘66 knew two University chancellors: Chancellor Otis Singletary and Acting Chancellor, James S. Ferguson. A WWII and Korean conflict veteran, Dr. Singletary had taught at the Naval Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Unit at Princeton University and the University of Texas; he took a leave of absence from UNCG to be director of the job corps. Ferguson served as acting chancellor during Singletary’s intermittent absences, succeeding him in 1967. The university grew to 10,000 students under Ferguson’s leadership and saw construction of numerous new buildings, including the arts and sciences building which bears his name.

With its 50th anniversary gift (2016), the UNCG Teacher Education Fellows Program Fund Endowment, the Class of ‘66 reconfirms UNCG’s legacy of teacher education. In 2011, the NC General Assembly ended annual appropriation for the NC Teaching Fellows Program established in 1986. UNCG has continued to raise funds to maintain their Teaching Fellows through various endowments. The Class of ‘66 gift provides support for supplementary experiences in the UNCG Teacher Education Fellows Program, including enrichment activities, travel, seminars, and appropriate leadership development. These 1966 graduates are undeterred in supporting North Carolina educators into the 21st century. They know the value of education in challenging times.

Story by Zoe Dillard, Donor Relations



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P. Kevin Williamson

Associate Vice Chancellor