Tag Archives: Guilford College

Greensboro placed at the center of American history — “the earliest known” long-distance Underground Railroad scheme

Bound for Canaan, The Epic Story of the Underground Railroad, America’s First Civil Rights Movement by  Fergus Bordewich, was pronounced by the Wall Street Journal to be “an excellent book . . . as close to a definitive history as we’re likely to see.”

In Bound for Canaan, Bordewich says

By the 1800’s the North Carolina Quakers formed the only sizable abolitionist community south of the border states. Though isolated in an ocean of slaveholders, they were numerous and well organized, and had close links with relatives, friends, and fellow Quakers in the free states. They were uniquely well situated to lay a foundation for the earliest long-distance route of the Underground Railroad.

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Beyond the border states, only in North Carolina, where Quakers provided the critical mass of support, would organized emanciplationist sentiment survive on a significant scale, and produce men radical enough to break the law.

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Levi and Vestal Coffin [from the New Garden community near present-day Greensboro] were shortly to become the founders of the earliest known scheme to transport fugitives across hundreds of miles of unfriendly territory to safety in the free states.

So Bordewich puts Greensboro and Guilford County at the center of the history of the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness in America – a place Greensboro and Guilford have continued to occupy ever since, with the histories of Albion Tourgee, the Sit-In Movement, Henry Frye, the Klan-Nazi Shooting (also referred to as the Greensboro Massacre), and the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

WELL, Fergus Bordewich will be in Greensboro to speak on November 2. His topic:  “Still Bound for Canaan. The Underground Railroad, its History, and its Meaning for the Twenty-First Century.

That event will be free and open to the public.

The “first planter of education” at Guilford College was a woman “who stepped directly from the forest” – Anne the Huntress

Guilford College is rightly celebrated as the first coeducational college in the South.

What may be less well known is the tale of the first “planter of education” in the community that became Guilford College. She was known as “Anne the Huntress.” Her character and attributes color the culture, if not the attire, of women (and men) at Guilford College to this day. She stepped directly from the forest.

Quoth Dorothy Gilbert:

The first planter of education [in the New Garden community] was a woman who stepped directly from the forest in 1790 and vanished away into it seventeen years later. Her coming was dramatic. A large company had gathered to watch a shooting match, and suddenly there was among them a beautiful young woman carrying a highly ornamented rifle and equipped with a shot pouch, belt, hunting knife, and hatchet. She asked permission to take a shot with contesting riflemen: then she stepped to the line, gracefully raised her rifle, took quick aim, and fired. The ball drove the center sixty yards away. And this was the teacher, for Ann the Huntress – she never gave another name – lingered happily in the community for years: and as she visited from home to home, she taught the children for her recreation and killed the deer for her livelihood. She particularly objected to careless pronunciation, and young Quakers began the use of the final consonant. The speech within that neighborhood showed perceptible differences, and Addison Coffin believed that the influence of Anne the Huntress accounted for it and prepared the way for the success of [what became Guilford College].

This teacher “who wore Indian leggings and carried her rifle,” Gilbert believed, ”deserves commemoration in the annals of the profession.” She came from the forest and she planted a tradition of education and refinement at the very beginnings of the New Garden settlement in the Carolinas. “Ann the Huntress” was her name.

To this day, selected Guilford students may be observed to exhibit memorable attire. Perhaps there is a strain of the Huntress in that.

While no latter-day Guilford student is known to carry a silver-plated rifle (nor would a rifle likely be welcome on campus in these parlous times), one account of Ann’s 1790 bullseye reports that she fired a second shot immediately after the first – and landed it “neatly atop the first;” and hitting the mark is another Huntress attribute that characterizes Guilford students to this day. It is seen in the performance of Guilford’s golf and basketball teams, the creations of its Mark Dixon’s sculpture students, and the precision of all those accounting majors.

Issues of careless pronunciation among present-day Guilfordians want closer scrutiny.

 

Axios reports college education is moving away from job training to problem-solving — right down Guilford College’s alley

Axios is reporting that “seismic shifts created by frontier technologies are challenging a centuries-old model of higher education.”

When it’s hard to predict what the jobs of the next 10 years will be — much less the next 50 years — acquiring the skills necessary to acquire skills is more important than the specifics of any given discipline.

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For those jobs that will exist, experts say, the uniquely human skill of problem-solving is essential, rather than a specific major.

The old model of studying one thing is giving way to a need for broadly trained workers.

MidLaw is not yet ready to concede that job preparation is the ultimate objective of a liberal education. (Life preparation is.) But – MidLaw must not let the dimming perspectives of age and wisdom, blind it to what is happening now. The world turns. Seismic shifts shake the frontiers. Wisdom grows.

Who doesn’t want problem solvers? Who doesn’t want to be one?

Axios failed to mention The Guilford Edge. It should have. Guilford College is on target.

Guilford has designed new structures to ensure that students can identify learning pursuits that excite them. As they work on what interests them, the Edge ensures that students will acquire skills – the skills they need to pursue immediate interests, which are also skills that they will need to solve new problems in the future.

Guilford has put in place new kinds of teachers, advisors, guides, and coaches. They supplement traditional academic advisors. These include the innovative Guilford Guides (every student is paired with a specially trained personal “guide” who has an advanced degree in counseling) and teams of on- and off- campus advisors, employers, alumni, who will give structure and grounding to students’ experiences.

The Guilford Edge aligns uniquely with the programs of Guilford’s signature Center for Principled Problem Solving.

Guilford College gearing up for ground-breaking program

Guilford College is rethinking what it takes to transform 21st Century high school graduates into skilled, grounded 21st Century human beings.

Famously, one-hundred-and-seventy years ago Nereus Mendenhall said that the business of Guilford College is to

produce men and women with well-trained minds and good hearts; people who can think for themselves and not be blown about by every wind of doctrine.

Pretty old-fashioned, what? NOT. But some renovation is in order.

The new student experience at Guilford, called “the Guilford Edge” brings 21st Century thinking to the old mission. It’s re-gearing the College to bring to students new personal and developmental resources that match and support Guilford’s traditional academic strengths. In keeping with Guilford’s 175-year tradition, the student experience at Guilford will be tailored to each student, personally and one-by-one.

New facilities, new curriculum, new student engagement-and-support programs, are coming. First is re-imagining the buildings and grounds to hold and advance the new student experience. Already, new facilities are generating new energy.

Between now and Fall of 2019 the rest is coming.

World seems to be orienting itself to the program at Guilford College

Axios Future is reporting that creativity, persuasion, collaboration, adaptability and time management are the skills most in demand in the workplace. Axios cites the LinkedIn Learning Blog which in turn is based on LinkedIn’s 2018 Workplace Learning Report.

LinkedIn in goes on to identify the 25 most needed hard skills, as well.

It’s right remarkable how both sets of skills line up with the Guilford Edge at Guilford College. And see how that lines up with this recent post and the one after that.

Learners will inherit the earth

First graders this year will graduate in 2030.

By 2030 up to 800 million workers around the world will have lost their jobs to automation.

In a presentation at Westtown School recently, New York Times journalist and Westtown graduate Kevin Roose said, “Things are going to keep changing rapidly… People who are able to adjust to [new industries] rather than clinging to the old way of doing things are going to have a big advantage.”

Eric Hoffer famously said,

In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exits.

In 2030, today’s first graders will need competencies such as creativity, collaboration, communication, critical thinking, adaptability, and empathy.

Next fall, Guilford College will bring forth “The Guilford Edge.” It is designed precisely to develop the learners. Learners first, learned later.

Sports and arts at Guilford College

Guilford College has very strong arts and very strong athletics. Right now, both are being re-imagined and newly resourced there.

Dana Giola, the Poet Laureate of California and former chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, once commented

I don’t like sports, but you’ve got to admire the energy, creativity, and innovation that goes into sports. And it’s very similar to arts. It’s a way of focusing human energy to create these symbolic encounters which have enormous emotional resonance to audiences

Guilford’s got’em both.

Giola’s comment affirms Guilford’s thinking. The student experience at Guilford crosses traditional boundaries. It finds connections, focuses energy, teaches the importance of symbolic encounters. It’s creative.

These are elements of a life lived well. Both sports and arts teach those things HANDS ON at Guilford College.

I’m amazed continually at how often people who spent their college years at athletics and arts and literature (and other such endeavors) turn out to have the chops to get things done.

Athletes make great executives; French majors make the BEST lawyers.

Tarboro, Edgecombe: sources of talent & positive models at Guilford College and in wider world

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was at Guilford College yesterday. The Guilford College Bryan Series brought him to town.

Guilford’s great alumnus, M.L. Carr, came back from Boston to join Abdul-Jabbar and talk with him about the legendary rivalry between Abdul-Jabbar’s Los Angeles Lakers and Carr’s Boston Celtics, and also about the many social values and achievements of the two. Great models for Guilford students.

In conversations and in a public presentation Abdul-Jabbar lifted up Tarboro several times.

Abdul-Jabbar’s mother was from Wadesboro. Carr himself is from Wallace. At different points, Abdul-Jabbar remarked with interest on how many players with North Carolina connections were connected with the Los Angeles Lakers while he played there. 

He consistently mentioned Tarboro prominently among those connections. Magic Johnson’s mother came from Tarboro and Johnson still has family there. Apparently, Magic made Tarboro well-known to Abdul-Jabbar and among their Lakers teammates.

Abdul-Jabbar’s achievements and his commitment to social justice are quite amazing and a bit inspiring. Carr is right there with him (although Carr may not have authored quite as many books as Abdul-Jabbar has). The two of them, together with Magic Johnson, bring highly principled, positively oriented, upbeat role models to Guilford students.

How great to hear Abdul-Jabbar lifting up Tarboro in his conversations and presentations at Guilford College and at the Coliseum.

This thing of remarkable people coming out of Tarboro and Edgecombe is nothing new. It’s where they come from.

Renovating in the groves of academe

The Greensboro News and Record has a good article about it: Guilford College is on theGuilford College 1 move.

A game-changing new curriculum is on the way. “The Guilford Edge” – coming next year – will be a major innovation in higher education and for Guilford. It puts the focus on the student, re-imagines the college experience, and connects immediately to the world that students will graduate into. But that’s next year.

The Orangerie

Right now, Guilford is reshaping the campus – the buildings and grounds – to hold the new program. 

Maybe the most dramatic uplifts are the Nancy-and-Dennis-Quaintance-inspired restoration of dormitories and living spaces, the creation of a dynamic new Student Quad, the Orangerie, and upgrades to the athletics facilities. But those flashy projects overlook what feel like unique and most amazing reinventions of the arts facilities at the Hege-Cox complex, with exhilarating expansions of Guilford’s traditionally very strong arts department. There’s a new sculpture studio, a new ceramics studio, new galleries, and new, state-of-the-art classrooms. Arts students can hardly argue (as some do in other places) that sports are prioritized over arts at Guilford.

Guilford hege-cox_addition-sculpture

One of the new studios behind Hege-Cox

Excitement is palpable among the sculptors. The new spaces and new equipment and other facilities are fostering impressive, contemporary student work and the student locker room calls to mind the locker rooms over at Ragan-Brown Fieldhouse, except with artworks in progress in the lockers instead of “seasoned” sports gear.

What’s more impressive is to learn what happens in the new classrooms, where students and professors integrate arts, social sciences, physical sciences, and traditional liberal arts into reimagined learning – and connect the learned skills of sculptors with real-world, contemporary issues and problem-solving. The sculpture professor over there is on fire with the ways that learning sculpture translates into practical, meaningful work across a broad spectrum of industries after college.

MidLaw would never argue that sculpture is not a great preparation for 21st Century law practice.

To the contrary.

Not your traditional groves of academe. Not only art for art’s sake.

Guilford College facing acutest issues of social change in forthright, creative ways

Interesting to see how Guilford College President Jane Fernandes’ most recent post at her blog, Jane’s Friendly View, “What #metoo Compels Us to Do” parallels the core theme of Guilford creative writing professor Mylène Dressler’s new novel, The Last to See Me.

To victims of sexual assault and harassment, Jane says “We see you. We understand you. You are real.” Professor Dressler comes at the same thing in a ghost story.

I’m pretty sure the two did not coordinate what they have done. (That would be a conspiracy, wouldn’t it?)

Since 1837, the Guilford College community is always wrestling with the acutest social issues of the times. Always learning. Always creative. Always facing forward.