August 2017



News Bulletin

August 2017 

In this Issue...August is Telethon Month, Website Update in Progress, Dues Options, Reunion Update, Call for Board Member Nominations, Scholarship updates.

Website Updates In Progress
Members invited to log-on and change your password
After some years of inactivity, the Association's website was refreshed in 2016. However after a more thorough analysis, the Board has decided to invest in some upgrades to security, function and content. The project is proceeding in two phases:

Phase 1 was security focused and was accomplished in July 2017 to include:

  • New industry standard security certificate
  • Logon user name now changed to be the member's e-mail address
  • Password complexity increased.

If you are a current annual member, life member, or honorary member, please log on at your earliest opportunity using your old credentials. The site should prompt you to change your username to email address and require a more complex password. These steps are necessary to protect your member information.

Phase 2 of the project will be focused on upgrading informative content and should be revealed in mid August.

If you have difficulty logging on please e-mail Steve Fish at:

If you have suggestions for improved website content, please e-mail them to Will Stubbs at:

August is Telethon Month

The UNC NROTC Alumni Association continues to press forward doing the good work we endeavor to do. We have awarded scholarships to 3 midshipmen, awarded the Connor Award to a deserving prospective aviator and conducted a successful Alumni Discussion Panel with the Midshipmen. Now we are planning future events for the Fall Reunion and another Alumni Discussion Panel with the midshipmen soon. In order to keep the momentum going, we want to ask for your help. The Board of Directors has declared August as Telethon Month. During August, the Directors will be reaching out to NROTC graduates who have not joined the organization.  We will be asking you to join the organization at one of our membership levels (annual membership, 5 year pre-paid membership or life membership). Another purpose of our call will be to confirm all the contact information we have in our database. We hope you will consider joining the Alumni Association in order to continue our mission of adding value to the current midshipmen experience and reconnect with fellow alums from around the world.

    Class of 1978  Spring Ball
President Schneider2
Highlights from the Board of Directors Meeting
4 March 2017

The Board of Directors met on March 4, 2017 at the Naval Armory in Chapel Hill. 7 members of the Board were present in person and 3 others were present by telephone conference call. 

The Board continues to focus on improving the overall performance of all aspects of the organization. The financial status of the organization is improving and constant oversight is being maintained of market-based accounts to maximize growth of segregated funds while maintaining risk levels appropriately. A full financial report was made addressing all aspects of operations, demonstrating the improved position from previous years. Additionally, the Board is beginning to pursue a full audit of all books and records as one has not been performed since the inception of the organization.

Additionally, the Board reviewed the growing status of the new Koster Scholarship fund as well as discussed potential future funding efforts for all scholarships.

Beth Braxton, Director of Development for the UNC Department of Medicine within the Medical Foundation of North Carolina visited with the Board and made an excellent presentation discussing the potential advantages and benefits for our organization to partner with the UNC Development office. The primary benefits would be in the areas of member/potential member contact as well as fund raising. This topic will be discussed further in future meetings.

The Dawson Library has received a minor face lift with the acquisition of a new honorary plaque for the room. Additional discussion involved ways to enhance the current and ongoing midshipmen experience and educate them more on who David Dawson was and how they can benefit from the library.

There was extensive review of the 2016 Fall Meeting and Alumni Reunion and the date of October 7, 2017 was chosen for this year’s meeting and fall events.

The Events Committee reviewed the “Alumni Panel Discussion” which was held with the midshipmen in February. 27 NROTC Alumni were present to discuss numerous topics in both collective and breakout sessions. This event was deemed highly successful as the midshipmen felt it was extremely worthwhile and requested another event as soon as possible. This is currently being pursued.

Another topic of significant discussion was communications with the membership and with potential members. This area has come to the top as one of, if not the most critical in the performance and growth of our entire organization. The potential methods of communicating have changed significantly over the years and require an overhaul of our systems and methodology. This will be a top priority going forward for both short and long-term aspects of carrying out our vision.

Minutes of the board Meetings are available for members to review on the member's content side of the website.

Elections 2017 and Nominations for Board of Directors

All fourteen seats on the UNC NROTC Alumni Association Board of Directors are up for election at the annual meeting. Eleven of the fourteen incumbents are eligible for re-election, while the other three are term limited.

The Nominations Committee has been appointed by the Board and includes:

  • Eric Schneider
  • Steve Fish
  • Will Stubbs
  • Jay Plager
  • Rob Gionfriddo

The Nominations Committee shall propose a slate of directors for consideration no later than 30 days prior to the annual meeting. This is your chance to volunteer or nominate a candidate for election to the board by providing your input to the Nominations Committee.

The term of the next elected directors is 1 January 2018 through 31 December 2019.

The newly elected directors will elect from among themselves a President, Secretary and Treasurer. in addition, Directors are expected to chair or participate in two or more of the seven standing committees established along the following lines of operation:

  • Governance and By-Laws
  • Budget and Financial Oversight
  • Awards
  • Scholarships
  • Member Communications
  • Member Events
  • Dawson Library

In order to be eligible for election, to nominate or to vote, one must be a regular member of the Association with dues paid for the current year or a life member.

The Board meets 3-4 times a year. The first meeting is usually in early March and is held in Chapel Hill; directors unable to attend in person may participate by phone. The second meeting is usually a conference call in July; often there is a conference call in September in advance of the Annual Meeting, and the final Board meeting of the year is usually held just before the Annual meeting in Chapel Hill


 If you would like the Nominating Committee to consider yourself or a fellow member for a seat on the Board, please send your input to; NOT LATER THAN Friday 25 August 2017.

P.S. The June News Bulletin contained a link to provide input to the Nominations Committee, and ten of you responded. However, the link only captured one of the ten respondent's contact information, so we don't know who responded and how for the other nine. So please try again and e-mail your nomination input to the Secretary's email above. Sorry for the double tap.

Scholarships and Annual Giving

The Annual Giving program was re-established in 2016 in order to shore up the financial basis for our Scholarship Program. The Scholarship program was established in 2001 and expanded in 2011 to grant three $1,000.00 scholarships per year to Third Class Midshipmen who demonstrate outstanding program potential. As you may recall from previous reports, the Scholarship program from 2001-2015 paid out: $21,500  but raised only $9,386 during the same period running a $12,144 deficit which ultimately reduced membership equity (life dues funds ended up taking the hit).
What did we do about this?
  • In 2016 the Association awarded three $1,000.00 scholarships, and raised an additional ~$5,632 over and above that amount for the Scholarship Endowment.
  • The Captain Alfred M. Koster, IV Memorial Scholarship was established with some very generous gifts from benefactors including members of the Koster family.
  • Naming rights for the other two scholarships are available (please contact the President or Treasurer to discuss, if interested)


2017: $18,000.00 in order to make the Koster Scholarship self-sustaining. Progress: $3,549.59(~20%)

2016-2019: $72,000.00 ($60,000 net plus $12,000 in awards) in order to make all three scholarships self-sustaining. Progress: ~$12,000 (~17%)  

If you are interested in participating in UNC NROTC Alumni Association Annual Giving to the scholarship funds or to the General Fund, you can do so by check using the form here OR by paying electronically by clicking here. .

Captain Al Koster served as Commanding Officer of the NROTC Unit and UNC and Professor of Naval Science from 1981-1985 . He was one of the first former staff members to join the Alumni Association when it opened the circle of membership to staff alumni; likewise he was the first staff alumnus to convert to Life membership when that option was first offered in 1995.
On 9 June 2017, Captain Marc Stern, USN relieved Captain Stephen M. Gillespie, USN as Commanding Officer of the NROTC Unit North Carolina Piedmont Region and Professor of Naval Science at University of North Carolina.
Best wishes to Captain Gillespie for smooth sailing ahead, and welcome on board Captain Stern!

Captain Marc Stern, a native of Sunnyvale, California, attended the University of California, Berkeley and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations in 1989.  Upon commissioning, he attended Naval Nuclear Power School in Orlando, Florida, Nuclear Prototype Training in Windsor, Connecticut, and the Submarine Officer Basic Course in Groton, Connecticut.

CAPT Stern reported to USS GURNARD (SSN 642) in January, 1991, served in various Division Officer assignments, and completed two Western Pacific deployments.

CAPT Stern then served from November, 1993 to November, 1995 as the Staff Submarine Officer for the Commander- in-Chief, Iberian-Peninsula Atlantic in Lisbon, Portugal.  He was then assigned as Engineer Officer on USS GATO (SSN 615) from November, 1995 to April, 1996 and then decommissioned USS PUFFER (SSN 652) from April, 1996 to July, 1996 and USS SUNFISH (SSN 649) from July, 1996 to March, 1996.

Following graduation from the Submarine Officer Advanced Course in September, 1997, CAPT Stern reported to USS WYOMING (SSBN 742) (GOLD) for duty as Navigation/Operations Officer, where he completed four strategic deterrent patrols, including one to the Mediterranean.  In March, 2002, he went on to serve as the Operations Officer for Submarine Squadron TWENTY, during which time he completed a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Brenau University. Following Prospective Executive Officer training, his next assignment was as Executive Officer on USS HAMPTON (SSN 767) from May, 2002 to March, 2004.   During that tour, the ship completed a Mediterranean deployment.  CAPT Stern then served as Executive Officer on the COMSUBLANT Tactical Readiness Evaluation Team from March, 2004 to March, 2005.

Following completion of Prospective Commanding Officer training, CAPT Stern served as the Submarine Squadron ELEVEN Deputy for Readiness from September 2005 to March 2007.

CAPT Stern served as Commanding Officer on USS TOPEKA (SSN 754) from April 2007 to April 2010.  While there, the ship completed a deployment to SEVENTH Fleet as well as a deployment to FIFTH and SEVENTH Fleets.  Under his command, TOPEKA earned three consecutive Battle Efficiency ‘E’ awards and a Meritorious Unit Commendation.

CAPT Stern returned to Submarine Squadron 11 to serve as the post-command Deputy Commander from March 2010 to March 2011, and then served on the Joint Staff, J8, from June 2011 to May 2013.  CAPT Stern then served as Commander, Task Force 69 from July 2013 to July 2015.  He then served as the Maritime Operations Director for COMSUBPAC.

CAPT Stern’s awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit (four awards), the Meritorious Service Medal, the Joint Service Commendation Medal (two awards), the Navy Commendation Medal (six awards), the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (five awards) and various unit awards.  He was a 2008 PACFLT finalist for the Admiral Stockdale leadership award.

Dues News:
New 5 year Membership Option Introduced
Get 5 years for the price of four!
Join, renew or upgrade your membership now to lock in the current low rates
Inspired by the suggestion of RADM Bob Crates, SC, USN (Ret.) '63 who has paid his dues in multi-year increments, the Board has approved a new 5 year membership option (buy five years for the price of four!). If you are looking to support the Association without the hassle of annual renewal, the 5 year or one of the life membership options might be right for you.  Click here to join, renew or upgrade your membership.
2018 Dues Structure Announced 
After 18 years without any adjustment to the Association's Dues structure, the Board has approved the following rates effective 1 January 2018
  • Annual Dues: $25.00 per year
  • Five year Annual Dues: $100.00 (get five years for the price of four) 
  • Life Dues: $400.00 one time payment or three annual installments of $150.00 per year for 3 years

To avoid this increase, you may join, renew or upgrade your membership at the current rates through 31 December 2017

  • Annual Dues: $20.00 per year
  • Five year annual dues: $80.00 (five years for the price of four)
  • Life Dues: $350.00 one time payment or three annual installments of $125.00 per year for 3 years.

Why should I join or renew as an annual member or upgrade to Five Year of  Life Member?
  • You're vested with a voice and a vote in the association.
  • Access to private site content on the website, including the find a classmate feature. More features coming this summer
  • It's tax-deductible to the extend permitted by law
  • We need your support

Where does my dues money go? Dues and income derived from the life dues fund go to:

support the operations of the Association, most of this expense is spent on:

  • operation and maintenance of the website
  • maintenance of membership database
  • operation of the tools necessary to communicate with the membership
  • The Distinguished Alumnus Award
  • The Distinguished Service Awards

Dues money DOES NOT pay for:                           
  • Three $1,000 Midshipmen Scholarships presented annually
  • The Connor Award presented annually
  • The Dawson Library
  • Other direct MIDN support
  • Food, beverage and entertainment 

The Connor Award is fully funded by past  charitable gifts;the Dawson Library is well funded at the moment; the Scholarship fund, including the Koster Scholarship is the Association's top fundraising objective.

Entertainment, food, beverage or other social activities are self-funded by the participants and not eligible for tax deduction.

How many annual and life member conversions does the Association need to make budget this year?

Our goal this year is 100 annual members join or renew, and 20 members upgrade to life membership.

Throughout most of the decade from 2001-2010, the association had between 100-150 annual members, so that's what we're trying to get back to.

How are we doing so far?
Regular Membership: 28 of 100 (28%)
Life Member Conversions: 7 of 20 (35%)

Who is eligible to join? Graduates of UNC Chapel Hill who were Commissioned through the NROTC program and staff members (military and civilian) of the NROTC Unit or Naval Science Department at UNC are eligible for Regular and Life Membership in the UNC NROTC Alumni Association. Parents and friends of the program are eligible for Associate Membership.

If you are not currently a member or if you are Regular Annual Member and have not paid your dues yet this year, you can pay by check, fill out a form and send it in.  You can get the form by clicking here. If you'd prefer to pay electronically (Credit card or Pay Pal), click here.
Please help us meet our financial obligations: join, renew or upgrade your membership today.            

Annual Meeting, Reunion and Elections
7 October 2017
The UNC NROTC Alumni Association Annual Meeting, Reunion and Board of Director Elections will be held on Saturday 7 October 2017. This is UNC v. Notre Dame game weekend over the Columbus Day federal holiday weekend. The time of the event will be announced once the game time has been established, but ordinarily 3 hours prior to kickoff. The event is planned to be held at the Naval Armory, 221 South Columbia St., Chapel Hill, NC.

Why Columbus Day Weekend?  The Association tries to schedule the annual meeting on a federal holiday weekend to enable attendance by non-deployed active duty personnel (who often get a "96 hour" shore leave over federal holiday weekends, and for Selected Reservists, who, by policy, do not drill on federal holiday weekend.    
The University of North Carolina is only selling tickets to Season Ticket holders and those are expected to be released late summer. The remaining tickets have been turned over to Notre Dame (a condition of getting Notre Dame to play you, apparently). As a result, game tickets are available now for resale on a variety of 3rd party vendor sites. The below sites (not endorsed by the Association) are currently selling UNC v Notre Dame tickets, and actually has a link embedded on the official UNC site www.goheels .com.

The Annual Meeting The time for the meeting will be determined once the game time is established. 

Annual Meeting Planned Events  

  • Briefing from NROTC Unit and Midshipman Leadership
  • Presentation of three Association Scholarships including the Captain Alfred M. Koster Scholarship
  • Presentation of the 2017 Distinguished Alumnus Award and Distinguished Service Award (to be announced in September)
  • Presentation of the 2016 Distinguished Service Award to YNCM Donald R. Ledford, USN (Ret.)
  • Reports from officers and committee chairs on Association activities
  • Elections for Board of Directors for the 2018-2019 term

Other Activities
  • Barbecue / Pig picking hosted by the Battalion of Midshipmen (time TBD once game time established, usually 2 hours prior to game time).
  • The UNC v. Notre Dame Football Game (no host)
  • Reunion activities, if desired: reunion year classes: 5 year (2012), 10 year (2007), 20 year (1997), 25 year (1992), 30 year (1987), 40 year (1977), 50 year (1967), 60+ year (1957 and senior).
  • Friday and Saturday night hospitality activities (no host) at hotel.

Come see your friends and classmates, enjoy the fellowship!


W e have reserved a block of hotel rooms for your convenience.
A block of rooms set aside at $99.00 room rate at the  DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel Raleigh – Durham on Meridian Parkway off I-40 in Durham, For Instructions on how to book your room(s) click  here                                      
  Tar Heel Navy Alumni
Marine Barracks Washington for Evening Parade  

On Friday evening 4 August 2017, we (Will Stubbs '85,  Rob Gionfriddo '86 and I, Steve Fish '85)  attended the Evening Parade at Marine Barracks Washington DC. This traditional Pass In Review parade, dating back to 1934, hosted at the "Oldest Post in The Corps" by the Marine Corps' premier units including The United States Marine Corps Color Guard, Companies A and B Ceremonial Marchers, "The President's Own" Marine Corps Band, "The Commandant's Own" Marine Corps Drum and Bugle Corps, and our favorite, the Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon. The night's events were led entirely by senior enlisted Marines as a tribute to enlisted leadership. It was an amazing evening that brought back many memories of Drill Team days in college with practice on the drill deck of Navy Field in Chapel Hill and marching in Mardi Gras parades. Honored at this Parade were numerous Marine Corps veterans of World War II and the Battles of Guadalcanal in particular. The Guest of Honor was Colonel Archie "Hap" Simpson, USMC (Ret), a very decorated and distinguished aviator and veteran of 226 combat missions in WWII and Korea. The evening closed with the playing of "Retreat" by the USMC Band as the 1801 replica flag was lowered, then a spotlighted lone bugler forlornly played "Taps" from the roof of the Barracks. It will bring tears to your eyes every time.