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Donors support the School of Education for many different reasons:

Sarah and Bob Jordan

Thank you, Sarah and Bob Jordan!

Few names in North Carolina are as synonymous with “education” as Sarah and Bob Jordan. Together, this Mount Gilead, NC couple has made it possible for thousands of students in NC system to know boundless opportunities through access and excellence in education. In the School of Education, Bob and Sarah’s mark is a permanent one: The Sarah Cole Jordan Class of 1956 UNCG Teacher Education Fellows Endowment Fund.

Bob Jordan, student, Sarah Jordan, standing and smiling together

Through their gifts, Sarah and Bob’s intention is to provide a program support fund for cocurricular educational activities for UNCG students selected as UNCG Teacher Education Fellows. When state funding for the original Fellows program ended, the School of Education created its own Fellows program with the enthusiastic support of the Jordans.

“We want to make gifts that support all students wanting to become teachers,” said Sarah. “It is important to us they have the opportunities to expand their leadership abilities, travel, get to know their state and even the world. These are the things that help make them effective, extraordinary teachers in the classroom and their communities.” Each year, with the help of the Jordan endowment, Fellows have the opportunity to experience team building, develop leadership skills in and out of the classroom, and discover new ideas from guest lecturers, travel abroad, and more.

Sarah speaks from experience when she talks about excellence in teaching and public service. Born in Raeford, North Carolina, Sarah graduated from Woman’s College in 1956, receiving a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Following her graduation, she taught in Charlotte, married Bob in 1956 and resumed her career by teaching eighth grade in her new home of Mount Gilead.

In addition to compiling an enviable record of service to her church and state, Sarah served on the Board of Directors of the UNCG Excellence Foundation and on the University Centennial Planning Committee.

Bob and Sarah Jordan smilingBob shares Sarah’s passion both for education and service. After graduating from NC State, he served two years in the Army and returned home to Sarah, the family lumber business, and local politics, running on a platform of improving education and fiscal responsibility. As North Carolina’s Lieutenant Governor from 1984-1988, he was instrumental in passing legislation to establish the NC Teaching Fellows program. In gratitude for his service to North Carolina, UNCG presented Bob with the prestigious Charles Duncan McIvor Award in 1990.

Our students are the most grateful for the Sarah Cole Jordan Class of 1956 UNCG Teacher Education Fellows Endowment Fund. On behalf of her cohort of Fellows, Nyema Heyward said, “Thank you so much for everything! You have no idea how much you have contributed to my Teaching Fellows career. All of the activities have enriched my college years beyond compare. I’ve become close to my cohort, expanded my traveling horizons, and learned so much about myself. The UNCG Teacher Education Fellows thank you!”

SELF-Design Studio: A Tribute to Curiosity

men and women from the SELF design studio gathered around a table smiling at a SOE event

Luther Self loved to learn. As a child growing up in a working class home in Greensboro, Luther was the kid who took things apart and put them back together, making the finished product better than the original. As an adult, he served his country in the Army, founded a successful company and pursued education with a determined passion that lasted a lifetime. And after his passing in 1997, Luther’s legacy lives on through the philanthropic work of his son, Smith Winborne Self, and their family foundation.

So naming the new makerspace in the School of Education after the Self family was an easy decision. It was the commitment from the Sara Smith Self Foundation that demonstrated the community partnership needed to apply for the Teacher Quality Partnership grant. And that the new space is named the SELF Design Studio, with SELF not only being the acronym for Student and Educator Learning Factory, as well as the name of its benefactor, is more than just coincidence. “Dad loved to figure things out,” said Luther’s son, Smith. “Incorporating ‘Learning Factory’ and ‘Design Studio’ pays tribute to his work, especially since the name of Dad’s business was ‘Designer Studio.’”

Luther truly saw education as a path to success. After attending UNC-Chapel Hill for a year, he joined the Army Air Corp and trained as an engineer, serving in Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Iwo Jima. Returning to college on the GI Bill, Luther graduated from NC State as a Fulbright Scholar and taught two years at the University of Leeds.

Upon coming home to North Carolina, Luther met his future wife, Sara “Sally” Smith and returned to UNC-Chapel Hill to pursue his MBA, a degree that helped him make the “Designer Studio” custom clothing line a success. When a debilitating illness forced his retirement in 1984, Luther turned again to education, this time as a visiting faculty member in textiles and apparel at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, teaching for six years. And in 1997, Luther earned his Ph.D. with a concentration in curriculum and teaching, becoming the oldest person at UNCG at that time to earn a doctoral degree. He passed way just months after walking across the stage at graduation.

Luther and Sally’s only child, Smith Winborne Self, shares his father’s love of learning and technology, and like his dad, much of what he knows he learned by doing it himself. Smith, too, became an active member of the UNCG community, serving on the Board of Visitors from 2001 – 2010. It is in his honor, along with Smith’s daughter, Rebekah Medea Self, that the Sara Smith Self Foundation named the SELF Design Studio.

The Dean’s Dinner

We recognize our donors and scholars through an annual reception, known as The Dean’s Dinner. This year’s event was held November 10, 2015. See photos below.