Students on this campus have addressed the biggest societal issues of their day. The first was exemplified by the public college itself: one for women, made possible by the state. Concerns evolve with each generation of students, but the search for what’s right does not.

Toward justice

When students at a Nov. 1952 class wept over election results, Professor Mereb Mossman told them: “Now ladies! There will be other times!”


Dot Kendall Kearns ’53, ’74 MEd calls her “my guiding light.”


The first woman to serve on the Guilford County Board of Commissioners and the first woman chair, Dot fought for the innovative Smart Start for young children, for equitable funding for all public schools and for clean, safe water. She also served as a school board member.


Many professors inspired her. “Being in a climate of daily pursuit of knowledge and truth amidst the admonition toward progress, justice and service, the days and years were so exciting – and motivating for a lifetime.”

photo of DOT KENDALL KEARNS ’53, ’74 MEd

Dot Kendall Kearns ’53, ’74 MEd


photo of JoAnne Smart Drane ’60 and Bettye Ann Davis Tillman ’60 (l-r)

JoAnne Smart Drane ’60 and Bettye Ann Davis Tillman ’60 (l-r) were the first two African American students at UNCG.

photo of JoAnne Smart Drane

JoAnne Smart Drane ’60

“I think that our feelings, at least initially, bordered on fear of the unknown. Bettye and I weren’t sure how we would be received and what the attitudes of the students would be.” Some were hostile; many were welcoming, JoAnne Smart Drane recalls.

Did You Know?

The Student Government Association in 1963 endorsed the boycott of Tate Street businesses that were segregated.

thumbnail graphic for 1963 document from the picketing of the segregated Tate Street businesses

1963 document from the picketing of the segregated Tate Street businesses.

photo of Sina McGimpsey Reid, class of 1965

Sina McGimpsey Reid ’65 was one of many leaders of the student picketing of three Tate Street businesses in 1963.

“Not systems, but people, are important.”

photo of buttons for advocacy, women's rights (left), and LGBTQ (right)

BUTTONS Many students have addressed women’s rights and LGBTQ causes.