Campus Scene

Campus Scence


Professor’s Photo Wows Editors, Readers of Travel Magazine

Travel + Leisure magazine editors selected a photo of a giraffe taken by Journalism Professor Gary Swanson as one of the 10 best among 4,000 entries during a monthly photography contest.

Online readers then picked the photo as the best overall, and it appeared in the March issue of the magazine. The selection also qualified for the contest's grand prize — a trip for two to South Africa. Coincidentally, that’s where Swanson took the photo during a summer 2010 trip with two students to record video for a documentary, which was part of a class project.

A free trip would have been nice — Swanson plans to return for more film work — but his entry came up short in voting by the magazine’s online community.

‘EYELASHES’: The title of Professor Gary Swanson’s photo (above) recognized by Travel + Leisure magazine. While in South Africa, Swanson took the photo as the giraffe started down a hill to graze on more tree leaves.



Faculty Share Research on ‘Academic Minute’

UNC faculty are taking to the airwaves to share information about their research with a national audience. The Academic Minute, produced by WAMCFM in Albany, N.Y., airs weekdays on 50 radio stations nationwide and features researchers from colleges and universities around the world keeping listeners abreast of what’s new and exciting in the academy. UNC researchers’ 1 minute, 40-second essays are recorded on campus and transmitted electronically to WAMC.

UNC’s contributions to the program include:

  • Assistant Professor of Marketing David Thomas: how businesses and other organizations view their place in the communities that exist around them.
  • Professor of Education Michael Opitz: the link between literacy and fitness among youth.
  • Professor of Earth Sciences Steven Anderson: how researching volcanism here on Earth can shed light on similar processes elsewhere in the solar system.
  • Co-director of the Life of the Mind program Michael Mills: the study of semiotics and how we interpret signs.

Past programs are archived on the WAMC website and also available on the Inside Higher Ed website.



Bears Retire Higgins’ Jersey

Mike Higgins, UNC Hall of Fame center from 1985-89 and the only Bear to play in the NBA, smiles as UNC President Kay Norton and Athletics Director Jay Hinrichs present a framed jersey during a Dec. 21 halftime ceremony to retire his No. 55 jersey. Higgins remains the Bears’ all-time leading scorer, rebounder and shot blocker. He’s the second UNC student-athlete to have a jersey retired. Corte McGuffey, who quarterbacked the Bears from 1996-99 and was named the top NCAA Division II player as a senior, was the first in 2007.

For complete coverage of the Bears, log on to



Five Things to Know about Pro-Sport Staff Jobs

  1. From the beginning of preseason to the end of postseason, there aren’t any weekends off.
  2. They may be big, they may be small, but at least three crises occur during the day. During the offseason, you’re on call 24/7 for any crisis that might occur.
  3. During the season, it’s normal to work 12-16 hours on game days. Expect to stay late.
  4. You will never be able to watch a game in the sport as a fan again. You will be working them. All of them.
  5. . If you love the sport you work in and love your job, none of the above will matter because you won’t be working to live, you’ll be living to work.

—Brittany Sarconi (BA-11), a PR intern with the Houston Astros, is a graduate student in the Sport Administration program.


ManfraSnow Problem: New AVP of Alumni Relations Settles In

Assistant Vice President of Alumni Relations Matthew Manfra’s road to his new position wasn’t exactly paved with gold.

“I think Matt may have rented the only rear-wheel drive car in Colorado,” says Steve Baker (BA-86), past president of the UNC Alumni Association board, who was giving the candidate a post-interview tour of Greeley during an October snowstorm that dumped nearly a foot of snow.

Baker’s friendly push out of a treacherous driveway, along with the kind loan of a broom from an 87-year-old resident during another spinout, put Manfra back on the road after he successfully weathered the snowstorm — and the interview.

“It was smooth,” Manfra says of his cross-country return to UNC after leaving his previous position as director of alumni outreach programs at Rutgers University. “Sunny skies all the way.”

Manfra now sits comfortably at the wheel of a front-wheel drive car and at the helm of UNC’s alumni relations program.

He says he’s confident that he and the dedicated volunteers on the association’s board of directors have a clear outlook for UNC’s 100,000-plus alumni, with members in 50 states and 77 countries.

To get more involved with the Alumni Association, whether it’s hosting a get-together where you live, mentoring a current student or attending campus events, contact Manfra at, 970-351-2551 or visit

—Amy Dressel-Martin


Listen In

"As we look ahead, UNC’s partnership with Greeley is a model for the way 21st century communities can grow and thrive as we think of creative ways to invest in education and the economy for a nation ‘built to last.’"

— From the blog of U.S. Department of Education Under Secretary Martha Kanter, following her presentation on college affordability and completion at UNC on Feb. 23.

Read Kanter’s blog

Read more UNC News