Campus News

Why we are thankful

From family to friendship to football, Carolina faculty, staff and students share their reasons for gratitude this holiday season.

The Well with fall foliage behind it
(Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

As the holiday season approaches, it’s important to reflect on the moments and people that give us joy, strength and community.

The Well asked Carolina faculty, staff and students around campus to share what they are thankful for this year.

“I am most thankful for life, and my husband, family and friends. This Thanksgiving I celebrate the gift of art and its ameliorating and thought-provoking effects on humanity. I am thankful for continuing inspiration from my valued colleagues at the Ackland Art Museum in our beloved university community, town and beyond.”Katie Ziglar, director, Ackland Art Museum

“I’m grateful for all the new people I got to meet and all the people I knew before that I’ve gotten closer to. Making new connections.”Carrie Gan, first-year computer science major from Charlotte

“I am most thankful for a loving family. At work. I am grateful for outstanding collaborators, brilliant UNC trainees and committed UNC staff. This November in particular, I am delighted with Tar Heel football and basketball. Go Heels.”Dr. John Buse, director of Diabetes Center and NC Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute, Verne S. Caviness Distinguished Professor, School of Medicine

“I’m really thankful for my family. This has been a tough year academically with trying to get stuff ready for grad school and matriculating into the next step of my life but they’ve been a good support system. I’m so excited to stay home for a good month with no school work and also excited to travel with the dance team to the ACC Championship and our bowl game.”Toni Darden, senior exercise and sport science major from Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina

“I am extremely thankful for my family, friends and health. I am also very thankful for the opportunity to do the work I do in The Graduate School at UNC, as I get to collaborate with extremely talented, innovative and hardworking colleagues, dynamic students and dedicated UNC staff. Go, Carolina!”Laura Kuizin, director of the Master of Applied Professional Studies program, The Graduate School

“I’m grateful for having a home and being able to go back to a family and community — being able to be with people that I love and surrounded by people who have always been there for me. I’m very fortunate for that and being able to afford vacations and plans; I know not many people can say that, so I’m super thankful. Overall, being happy, being surrounded by people I love and doing things I love to do.”Teju Gangisetty, first-year pre-computer science and statistics major from near Charlotte, North Carolina

“I am thankful that we work at an institution which recognizes that individuals have intrinsic value, yet allows for each of us to enhance our own feelings of worth by serving others.”Mike Barker, vice chancellor for information technology and chief information officer, ITS

“This year I’ve been really thankful for the group of friends I have. We just graduated so a lot of them moved. I’m very thankful for the ones that have stuck around, for being able to keep in contact with them as this new phase on life has gone on.”Nate Allen, Carolina BLU delivery and weekend supervisor, University Libraries

“I’m thankful to have a leadership position on Special Olympics. It’s a community that’s very close to me, that I’ve been a part of for so long. Supporting inclusion is so important to me, so I’m thankful that I get this platform to spread awareness to people on campus about inclusion.”Shruti Madhav, sophomore, applying to human development and family sciences major from Atlanta, Georgia

“I am thankful for my friends and family. Thankful they are all patient, kind and loving with me and strangers. Thankful I have options in life. I am thankful for the Earth, nature and all the wonderful critters in it, especially my two doggies!”Michelle Maclay, director of community and partner relations, NC TraCS Institute

“I’m thankful for family and friends I have left because I lost a brother this year — so thankful for family.”Nell Phillips, student services manager, College of Arts and Sciences’ geography department

“I’m grateful that my family’s all able to come together for the holidays, especially after the last couple of years. I’m grateful that even though my family is in a lot of different states right now, we’re able to come together during this time. I’m really grateful for their support during my first semester.”Jenny Zhang, undecided first-year from Charlotte, North Carolina

“I’m thankful for everyone who engages so thoughtfully with the Asian American Center. It’s been so moving to hear the stories and learn about the work of students, local families, community organizers and visiting scholars. And a special thanks at holiday time to the two amazing staff, Krupal Amin and Marcus Donie! After going a year without staff while trying to open the AAC, I will never take having staff for granted, especially not two such devoted and good-humored staff. They deserve the most restful holiday weekend they can get!”Heidi Kim, director, Asian American Center