Ricardo “Ric” Hannon ’18
With 7 percent of UNC Greensboro’s undergraduate population classified as a military veteran or a military dependent, an active and supportive alumni-veteran network is in demand. One School of Health and Human Sciences graduate has made it his mission to help brothers- and sisters-in-arms navigate the transition to civilian life.
“It started in my junior year,” says Ricardo “Ric” Hannon ’18. “I struck up a conversation with another veteran in the library about what we wish we had known going into college. Things to watch out for. People we could have talked to. We started batting around ideas for how to share what we learned.”
That conversation turned into Regular Infantry Guys, a weekly podcast Hannon founded with fellow alumni-veteran Gennaro Ringley ’17. The men invite representatives of veteran support services and nonprofits to discuss their experiences and provide valuable resource information for North Carolina and the rest of the nation; they also invite fellow veterans to share their stories and experiences with transition. Topics have included mental health and PTSD services, Veterans Affairs’ benefits, and higher education resources.
The impact has been phenomenal.
“People love it,” says Hannon. “Veterans – and a surprising number of civilians – across the nation have reached out to tell us how much they value this information and this space of honesty, integrity, and vulnerability.”
For many veterans, there is a stigma against asking for help or admitting the unstructured life of a civilian can be daunting and challenging. Hannon knows, though, how important those conversations and confessions are in helping veterans navigate the transition successfully.
Hannon struggled himself as he pursued his bachelor of science degree in kinesiology at UNCG, but the resources provided by the Veterans Resource Center and the Life Design Catalyst Program, as well as faculty and staff support and guidance, helped him rediscover his place in society. Armed with the Maggie E. Davis Scholarship, Hannon converted his leadership skills and focus from the military into his new purpose: community service, exemplified by the highly motivated students Iva Davis Holland ’26 hoped would receive the scholarship she established in memory of her mother.
“The scholarship meant a lot,” he says. “Especially as a non-traditional student. It gave me the financial support and freedom to study and build the skills and mentorships I need to make a new kind of difference.”
That difference can be seen right in our own backyard. In addition to the podcast, Hannon reaches disabled veterans through the City of Greensboro Park and Recreation’s Adaptive Inclusion Recreation Program. The program breaks down the barriers – physical and attitudinal – that prevent children and adults with disabilities from participating in outdoor activities. Hannon encourages veteran participation so they not only support others but also support themselves.
“Service is the thing that’s missing,” Hannon insists. “Whether it’s volunteering with your local soup kitchen or mowing the lawn for a retiree down the street, service is what gives veterans the purpose and fulfillment they need. That’s what we’re showing them.”
Story by Michelle Danner-Groves, Donor Relations
Endowments provide donors with opportunities to create living legacies and touch the lives of future generations.