School of Music Mourns Passing of Professor Emeritus Richard G. Cox

The School of Music was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Richard Garner Cox (1928–2020), Professor Emeritus of Music. He is survived by Mary Alicia Cox, his wife of 61 years, and his children: Anna Cox Trude, David Cox, and John Cox, and five grandchildren.

Richard Garner Cox was born in Rocky Mount, NC on December 12, 1928 and grew up in Richmond, VA and Raleigh, NC. He earned a BA in Music at UNC-Chapel Hill and then earned a Masters and PhD in Music History and Literature at Northwestern University, where he met his soulmate Mary Alicia. He also studied at the Paris Conservatory.

Richard taught music at High Point College from 1953 to 1958 and was professor of music at UNCG from 1960 until his retirement in 2002. He served as choirmaster at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church for a half-century (1963–2013). Between 1970 and 2011, Richard wrote three books related to vocal and choral music, which continue to be used as references.

Richard also founded and directed the Bel Canto Company (1982–1987) and for many years guided choral preparation for the Greensboro Opera Company. He received numerous awards over the years, most recently the Arts Greensboro O. Henry Award (2014), and was inducted into the North Carolina Music Educators Association Hall of Fame the following year.

Never truly “retiring,” Richard remained active, organizing food deliveries for Mobile Meals, enjoying baseball, traveling with Mary Alicia, and of course studying and listening to music, old and new.

Impressive as his career achievements are, Richard’s greatest contributions were in his profound influence upon several generations of students, colleagues, and others. Within 24 hours of his passing, scores of eloquent tributes poured in. One former student wrote, “I am grateful every day to have had a mentor who put the music first – it was never about him—just the music and the singers; who supported equal rights and lived in a way that promoted social justice; and who supported and encouraged all of his students.” Another wrote, “I have had the privilege of knowing some incredible musicians in my lifetime, but I have never known a more consummate musician than Richard Cox. He simply was music and you could not help but be musical in his presence.” Another former student remembered that “in every rehearsal or service” at Holy Trinity, “Richard gave us the gift of his understanding, his devotion, and his love for this music, and the people of God whom it served.”

With Mary Alicia, Richard enthusiastically and lovingly participated in family life, and encouraged his children to be compassionate, thoughtful, and creative—qualities that he exemplified.

In reflecting upon his life recently, Richard wrote:

Finally, don’t grieve for me! I’ve had a really wonderful life. I’ve been blessed with an incredibly wonderful wife, who, in addition to taking care of me, has filled our home with beautiful and charming things, including herself. I’ve had intelligent, productive, and loving children who further blessed me with terrific spouses and delightful grandchildren. I’ve spent my life among many of the world’s greatest composers, and I’ve had gifted and responsive students, many of whom went on to distinguished careers. What a life!

Gifts in his honor can be made to the Richard Cox Vocal Arts Scholarship Fund at UNCG ( or the Emergency Assistance Fund at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church (

Richard Cox Tribute
June 2, 2018
Recital Hall, School of Music

Alumni Selected for GRAMMY® Music Educator Award Finals

The UNCG School of Music is extremely proud to announce that two outstanding alumni have been selected as finalists for the 2021 Music Educator Award™ presented by the Recording Academy® and GRAMMY Museum®. Ten music educators from 10 cities across 8 states were advanced to the final round of the Music Educator Award. In total, more than 1,989 initial nominations were submitted from all 50 states.

Both finalists have undergraduate and graduate degrees in music education from the UNCG School of Music. Both are well-respected teachers at Northwest Guilford High School in Greensboro. They were the only music educators from the state of North Carolina selected for the semifinal round and have now advanced to the finals. Read more about Brian and Donny below.

  • Brian McMath (BM ’96, MM ’10) — Northwest Guilford High School, Greensboro, NC
  • Donny Walter (BM ’94, MM ’12) — Northwest Guilford Middle and High School, Greensboro, NC

The Music Educator Award™ was established to recognize current educators (kindergarten through college, public and private schools) who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools. A joint partnership and presentation of the Recording Academy® and GRAMMY® Museum, the recipient will be recognized during GRAMMY® Week 2021.

Each year, one recipient is selected from 10 finalists and recognized for their remarkable impact on students’ lives. They will receive a $10,000 honorarium and matching grant for their school’s music program. The nine additional finalists will receive a $1,000 honorarium and matching grants. The remaining fifteen semifinalists will receive a $500 honorarium with matching school grants. The Music Educator Award recipient will be announced during GRAMMY Week in January 2021.

Congratulations on this wonderful achievement and good luck!

Brian McMath Brian McMath (BM ’96, MM ’10) is currently in his twenty-fourth year as an educator and seventeenth year as the Director of Bands at Northwest Guilford High School in Greensboro, North Carolina. While at Northwest Guilford, Mr. McMath’s bands have received recognition for their growth, discipline and individual member achievements. Members of the class bands (Concert Band, Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble) are consistently chosen for various All-County, All-District and Honor Bands across the state. At least thirty alumni from Mr. McMath’s programs are now music educators or are pursuing careers in music education.

Under Mr. McMath’s direction, the school’s Concert Band, Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble have consistently earned ratings of Excellent and Superior at Regional and State Festivals. The Wind Ensemble consistently performs grade five and grade six literature at the North Carolina Music Performance Assessment Festival earning Superior Ratings. Additionally, the Marching Viking Band (a volunteer organization) has competed in the Outback Bowl (twice – Grand Champion 2004) in Tampa, Florida and the Fiesta Bowl in Tempe, Arizona. The Marching Viking Band has been invited to perform at the Liberty Bowl, the Orange Bowl, the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl, the Citrus Bowl, the National Parade in Washington, DC, the Holiday Parade in Waikiki, Hawaii and at the London New Year’s Day Parade.

Donny WalterDonald J. Walter (BM ’94, MM ’12) is the Director of Orchestras at Northwest Guilford High School and Northwest Guilford Middle School. Also, he is the Orchestra Section Chair of the NC Music Educators Association. While at the NW Schools, Mr. Walter has doubled the enrollment in the middle school orchestra program and increased enrollment to more than 90 in the high school program.

Mr. Walter is a National Board Certified Teacher and holds Bachelor and Master of Music in Music Education degrees from UNC Greensboro. He has presented teaching clinics at local, state, national, and international music education conferences. He has published an article about deliberate practice and neurobiology in the Music Educators Journal. Throughout his career, Mr. Walter has led groups to more than 43 “Superior” ratings at NC Western Region Music Performance Adjudications and has had many students selected to the county, district, regional, and all-state honor ensembles. Six times he has led groups in performance at the NC Music Educators In-Service Conference (2019, 2017, 2016, 2014, 2010, and 2006).

Mr. Walter is an active clinician who has conducted the high school and middle school NC Western Region Repertory Orchestras, the NC Junior Eastern Region District Two Orchestra, and numerous all-county orchestras throughout North Carolina. Additionally, he is a frequent guest conductor of the UNC Greensboro Sinfonia Orchestra. In 2015 Mr. Walter was named the Guilford County Schools Arts Educator of the Year and the NCMEA Orchestra Section Western Region Orchestra Director of the Year.

Mr. Walter lives in Greensboro with his marriage partner, Dr. Jennifer Walter, and their two children.

School of Art Alumnus is Recipient of Creative Capital Award

Sherrill Roland ’16 MFA Studio Art) is one of 42 recipients of the 2021 Creative Capital Awards. His project “The Jumpsuit Portal”, in the multimedia Social Practice category, is eligible for up to $50,000 in funding. Read more about the award here.

About the Artist:

Roland is an interdisciplinary artist who creates art that challenges ideas around controversial social and political constructs, and generates a safe space to process, question, and share. He was born in Asheville, NC, and received an MFA in Studio Art from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Inspired by his experience in prison for a crime he did not commit, he founded The Jumpsuit Project to raise awareness around issues related to mass incarceration. Roland’s socially-engaged art project has been presented at Open Engagement Chicago, Oakland City Hall, and the Michigan School of Law. He was awarded the Center for Documentary Studies Post-MFA Fellowship in the Documentary Arts at Duke University in Durham, NC, and the Rights of Return USA Fellowship. After completing the Fountainhead Residency in Miami, Florida, Roland returned to North Carolina as an artist-in-residence at the McColl Center of Art + Innovation.




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Fall 2020 BFA Exhibition
November 17th – 24th
at Greensboro Project Space

The School of Art at UNC Greensboro and Greensboro Project Space was proud to host the Fall 2020 Senior BFA Exhibition from November 17th – 24th. The exhibition brought together the creative and critical explorations of graduating seniors, who are working in various disciplines: ceramics and sculpture; new media and design; painting; photography; printmaking and drawing.

This exhibition is a celebration of their creative and academic accomplishments—specifically during the Covid-19 pandemic, the fight for Black Lives, the devastating effects of climate change, economic hardship, and other global, cultural, and environmental issues. This exhibition is a celebration honoring their resilience, commitment, and adaptability.

Transform, explore, and inspire—this is the hope as they continue beyond graduation as practicing artists whose creative labor is necessary, valued, and critical to our humanity.

Associate Professor Jennifer Meanley Helps with ‘Bridging the Gap’

A new mural called “Bridging the Gap” decorates the Morehead Park trailhead along the Downtown Greenway.

Leading the effort is Darlene McClinton, a muralist and chief executive officer of The Artist Bloc.

Introducing her team: Jennifer Meanley, UNCG associate professor; Marsh Neeley, artist; Neidy Perdomo, graphic designer; James Raleigh, artist at Victorious Visions; and Joe Rotondi, executive director of community makerspace The Forge.

Read the entire article here:

Downtown connection Artists give Greensboro bridge a new look