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Author Archives: Ethanie Good

Dr. Anthony Graham Named WSSU’s New Provost

After a national search, Dr. Anthony Graham, dean of the College of Education and professor of educator preparation at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (North Carolina A&T), has been named Winston-Salem State University’s (WSSU) new provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs. Graham will begin at WSSU on July 1.

“I am extraordinarily pleased to have Dr. Graham join our team,” said WSSU Chancellor Elwood L. Robinson, who announced the appointment in an email to students, faculty and staff on Thursday, April 19. “The university is gaining an outstanding academic leader who has an appreciation for the important role historically Black colleges and universities play in the higher education landscape. I am confident he will provide the vision and leadership needed to help the university achieve the goals outlined in our Strategic Plan for 2016-21.”

Reporting to the chancellor, the provost is the chief educational and administrative officer for WSSU, leading the university in its academic and student support planning and in the setting of policies and practices that lead to student success outcomes.

Since 2003, Graham has served in the North Carolina A&T Department of Education in various capacities – including as chair of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. Previously, Graham worked as a high school English teacher and as an academic counselor/lecturer in the Center for Student Success at A&T. In these roles, Graham advocated for student success and worked with colleagues to conceptualize, design, and implement initiatives and programs that promoted student growth and development.

Graham’s research has focused primarily on the experiences of Black males in K-12 public schools and ways in which classroom teachers and community leaders can transform their environments to promote cultural, academic, and professional identities for these youth.

His engagement activities have included the Charles Hamilton Houston Leadership Institute for Adolescent Black Boys, a residential summer camp on the campus of A&T for boys in ninth through 12th grade; the annual Urban Education Institute, which focuses on barriers that inhibit students of color in urban schools from achieving academic success; and the “Onward and Upward toward the Light” Scholarship Search Conference, which is designed to orient high school students to the college application, college admission, and scholarship search process.

Graham also has worked closely with Guilford County Schools to address the academic underperformance and suspension rates of Black males as well as working with school administrators and teachers to improve student reading proficiency rates.

“I am excited to join one of the state’s most precious gems, Winston-Salem State University,” Graham said. “I am honored for the opportunity to work alongside amazingly talented administrators, faculty, staff, alumni, and other stakeholders who are committed to student achievement, community engagement, and scholarly excellence. I look forward to serving the institution, the community, and the state as we strive to achieve the goals of the strategic plans for the university and the UNC System.”

A native of Kinston, North Carolina, Graham earned his bachelor’s degree in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and his master’s degree in education and his doctorate in curriculum and instruction from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Graham will fill a vacancy created when Dr. Brenda Allen left WSSU to become president of Lincoln University (Pennsylvania) last June. Dr. Carolynn Berry, who has served in the position on an interim basis for the last 10 months, will remain interim provost until Graham is on board.

About Winston-Salem State University
Winston-Salem State University fosters the creative thinking, analytical problem-solving, and depth of character needed to transform the world. Rooted in liberal education, WSSU’s curriculum prepares students to be thought leaders who have the skills and knowledge needed to develop innovative solutions to complex problems. Founded in 1892, WSSU is a historically Black constituent institution of the University of North Carolina with a rich tradition of contributing to the social, cultural, intellectual, and economic growth of North Carolina, the region and beyond. Guided by the motto, “Enter to Learn, Depart to Serve,” WSSU develops leaders who advance social justice by serving the world with compassion and commitment.

3 Blind Dice Expands Cafe, Plans Ribbon Cutting | Small Business Month

3 Blind Dice is in the heart of Winston-Salem – joining the Porch and Hoots as part of the
vibrant and growing West End Mill Works. It is a gathering place for people to relax, meet new friends, and become part of a community of people who love board gaming and a good cup of joe. It was founded last year by Connor Doten, a graduate of UNCG’s Bryan School of Business.

Connor has recently launched a line of customized coffee brews that complement the store’s gaming theme. “We’ve been working with our small-batch local roaster to develop three unique offerings; a rich, dark roast called Ace of Spades, a decaf option named Dungeons and Decaf, and of course our signature house blend, Homebrew.” Homebrewing refers to the making of your own set of rules when playing a game. 

The atmosphere at the store is fun, comfortable, colorful and happy, featuring up-cycled doors, windows, and game boards as the decor. Soft, comfy seating, free wifi and plenty of baked goods, snacks, and sandwiches make it a place you can linger for hours. Other perks include an incredible selection of board games and accessories for sale, and a vast library of games you can play free of charge, or rent and take home. Store hours are Monday through Saturday noon to 11 p.m. and Sundays noon to 8 p.m.

With the new coffee line now available, Connor felt it was the perfect time to celebrate his growing business with a Ribbon Cutting celebration. The event will take place Wednesday, May 2, 2018 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at 1151 Canal Dr. Suite 103. City officials will commemorate the celebration with a ribbon cutting at 4 p.m., followed by board games, demos, giveaways, gourmet coffees and refreshments.

Connor is thrilled about the ribbon-cutting. “The store has quietly been here for a year. We were waiting until we established ourselves and had our food and beverages in place before our official ribbon-cutting. It is a milestone we are truly excited about and we look forward to sharing it with the community.”

3 Blind Dice is Winston-Salem’s home for games and gatherings. If you would like more information, please call Connor Doten at 704-728-6522, email [email protected] or visit 3 Blind Dice at 1151 Canal Dr #103, Winston-Salem, NC 27101.


Dash to Rebrand as “Rayados” for MiLB’s “Copa de la Diversión” Initiative

In conjunction with Minor League Baseball (MiLB), the Winston-Salem Dash have announced they will be rebranded as the Winston-Salem Rayados for five Sunday home games this season as part of the launch of “Copa de la Diversión”, or “Fun Cup,” a season-long event series specifically designed to embrace the culture and values that resonate most with participating teams’ local Hispanic/Latino communities.

The Dash and 32 other Minor League clubs will bolster their marketing and customer service efforts to create a culturally-relevant gameday experience through music, concessions and promotions. 

“Rayados”, which translates to “the Striped Ones,” is born out of collaboration with the baseball team and the Hispanic League of Winston-Salem. The name recalls the pinstripes worn from previous Winston-Salem teams, and the term “Rayo” also loosely translates to “Bolt,” the Dash’s mascot.

The Rayados will compete in a 160-game event around the country to build awareness and create excitement for the new national series. Also, a 3-foot tall “Copa de la Diversión” trophy will embark on a tour of the participating cities, as part of a “Gira de la Copa” (“Cup Tour”). The winner of the trophy will go to the team that most successfully engages their community through their marketing efforts.

The following dates, which are all 2 p.m. start times, will feature the Rayados uniforms:

May 6 vs. Buies Creek
June 3 vs. Carolina
June 24 vs. Down East
July 8 vs. Down East
August 12 vs. Potomac

“Forsyth County has an ever-growing Hispanic population, and we are excited to celebrate their culture with our Rayados games,“ said Dash president C.J. Johnson. “We look forward to representing Winston-Salem in this fun competition against other Minor League teams across the country.”

Winston-Salem will sport a white jersey with red and blue stripes and “Winston-Salem Rayados” written on the front. In addition, the club will wear red caps with a white “R” outlined in blue. These caps will be available for purchase all season long at the Hanes Team Store located on the concourse behind home plate at BB&T Ballpark. They will also be available online at

Tickets for this season’s Rayados games will start as low as $8 and are available by calling (336) 714-2287 or visiting Every Rayados contest will also be a Lowes Foods Family Sunday, with free popcorn for children 12 and under. Also, the Kids Zone will be free, and two players will be available to sign autographs prior to the game.


Blue Cross NC Announces $1 Million Investment in WSSU’s Division of Nursing

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) will invest $1 million in Winston-Salem State University’s (WSSU) Division of Nursing. The investment is part of Blue Cross NC’s commitment to contribute $50 million toward community health initiatives in 2018, which is partially funded through $40 million in tax savings generated through the recently passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

WSSU will use the investment for scholarships to address access to care and nursing shortages, and to enhance the division’s technology infrastructure.

“As a practicing physician, I’ve seen firsthand the central role that nurses play in creating a higher-quality, more affordable health care system,” said Dr. Patrick Conway, President and CEO of Blue Cross NC. “We are excited to be able to help Winston-Salem State University admit and train new nurses, especially from underserved and rural populations. To bring costs down and increase quality, we have to think more broadly about what it means to invest in health – this is a great example of that principle in action.”

According to a recent study by Georgetown University, North Carolina is projected to have the second-largest shortage of nurses in the nation – a deficit of 12,900 nurses. The shortage is especially challenging in rural North Carolina. The state’s metropolitan areas have 32 more nurses for every 10,000 people than rural counties. Seventy of North Carolina’s 80 rural counties are classified as “medical deserts” due to their lack of primary care. Additionally, nurses play a central role in increasing the value of health care, both in terms of improved outcomes and lower costs. 

“Winston-Salem State University appreciates this significant investment in our Division of Nursing,” said WSSU Chancellor Elwood L. Robinson. “WSSU has been a trailblazer in training nurses, providing critically needed nursing professionals for more than 65 years. Through this gift, we will be able to take financial worries out of the learning equation, positioning our nursing students for success.”

The WSSU Division of Nursing, part of the School of Health Sciences (SOHS), is one of the nation’s premier nursing schools, offering programs at the baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral levels. In 2017, Diverse Issues in Higher Education ranked WSSU no. 1 in North Carolina for graduating African Americans into the fields of nursing and health professions. WSSU also ranked as a top 10 nursing school in the eastern United States and is ranked in the top 10 percent for value. The WSSU Division of Nursing is the third-largest producer of baccalaureate nurses in North Carolina. 

WSSU’s goal for the Blue Cross NC investment is to increase the number of under-represented students graduating from the school’s nursing programs, thereby increasing the number of nurses practicing in primary care and rural areas.

The $1 million will be invested into the following areas:

  • Scholarships and access to care: Data suggests that financial hardships often cause students, especially those who are underserved, to drop out or not complete their program of study. WSSU will use funding to provide scholarships and grants in its pre-major, BSN and graduate programs to help eliminate those hardships, positioning students for success.
  • Educational technology: WSSU will also use the funding to enhance learning technology, including the interdisciplinary virtual hospital, which features state-of-the-art simulators used to train all nursing students.

Dr. John Smith, lead medical director for Blue Cross NC, announced the $1 million investment on Monday, April 17, during a presentation at the S.G. Atkins Enterprise Center, where WSSU’s virtual hospital is located. 

“As a leader in nursing education, we seek meaningful partnerships with the corporate community to help us provide our students with transformative educational experiences,” said Dr. Cecil Holland, associate dean and chief operating officer of the Division of Nursing. “The Division of Nursing has a long and rich history, or should I say legacy, of educating African American nurses for the workforce. This gift will help us sustain that legacy and infuse more African American nurses into the workforce that continues to experience shortages.”  

N.C. Rep. Evelyn Terry addressed the attendees on behalf of the General Assembly. About 100 people attended the event, including N.C. Sen. Joyce Krawiec, members of WSSU’s Board of Trustees, WSSU Foundation Board of Directors, and a number of WSSU’s faculty, staff and nursing students. The event concluded with tours of WSSU’s virtual hospital.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina improves the health and well-being of our customers and communities through innovative healthcare products, insurance, services and information to more than 3.8 million members, including approximately 1 million served on behalf of other Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield plans. Since 1933, we have worked to make North Carolina a better place to live through our support of community organizations, programs, and events that promote good health. Blue Cross NC is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Visit Blue Cross NC online at All other marks are the property of their respective owners.

About Winston-Salem State University
Winston-Salem State University fosters the creative thinking, analytical problem-solving, and depth of character needed to transform the world. Rooted in liberal education, WSSU’s curriculum prepares students to be thought leaders who have the skills and knowledge needed to develop innovative solutions to complex problems. Founded in 1892, WSSU is a historically Black constituent institution of the University of North Carolina with a rich tradition of contributing to the social, cultural, intellectual, and economic growth of North Carolina, the region and beyond. Guided by the motto, “Enter to Learn, Depart to Serve,” WSSU develops leaders who advance social justice by serving the world with compassion and commitment.

Work Family Resource Center Announces New Name

After serving the community for 27 years under the name “Work Family Resource Center”, the organization has announced a new name – “Child Care Resource Center” – along with a new logo. The big reveal took place at the 8th Annual Children’s Champion Award Luncheon on Tuesday, April 10 at Forsyth Country Club.

Katura Jackson, Executive Director, said, “The name Child Care Resource Center better reflects the important work that we do. We connect families to quality child care, provide professional development opportunities to child care providers, and educate the community about the link between quality child care/early learning experiences and school preparedness. Our new logo represents connection – we connect families to child care, we connect child care providers to professional development training, and we are a connector in the community regarding the importance of quality child care and its impact on a child’s future.”

During the luncheon, the organization also announced its new location to the community. Their offices are now located in the Loewy Building at 500 West Fourth Street, and they will be hosting an Open House for the public on June 21 4:30-6:30pm.

Two Children’s Champions were honored at the event – Mr. Joe Crocker, Director of the Local Impact in Forsyth County program at the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust and Ms. Daisy Rodriguez-Besse, Director of Childhood Hunger Programs at the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina.

This event was made possible by the generous support of Salem Smiles Orthodontics, Allegacy Federal Credit Union, First Citizens Bank, Kaplan Early Learning Company and Womble Bond Dickinson, LLP.

Decorating for Spring with Casual Furniture World | Small Business Month

Ahead of National Small Business Week (April 29-May3), we’re learning about some of the small businesses that offer a variety of goods and services around Winston-Salem. Casual Furniture World is sharing some advice on creating your perfect outdoor space this Spring. Come see all they have to offer at Business Before Hours on May 4th. 

What trends are you seeing in outdoor furniture for 2018? 

Outdoor kitchens are more popular than ever; firepits; sectionals, including wicker/woven, aluminum, or composite.  Accessories are more important than ever, with lots of fun & funky pillows. People are really embracing the idea of their outdoor living area being as large as the indoor area. 

What is important to know before buying outdoor furniture? 

Before shopping for outdoor furniture, plan out your space and consider which types of seating you would like. Take measurements of the area ahead of time-it will save a lot of headaches when you get to the store. It is also important to consider how much direct sunlight your furniture will be exposed to since some furniture can stand up to the sun exposure better than others. 

It seems like a lot of local businesses now have outdoor seating; do you sell commercial outdoor furniture as well as residential? 

We do have a commercial division in addition to our retail stores.  Many of our lines can be used in either application, but we offer some that are specifically designed for commercial use.  When considering furniture for a business, it is even more important to invest in quality since it tends to be used (and abused) more than in a residential setting.  We anticipate opening a commercial showroom at our Winston Salem location in May. 

There are lots of stores in the Triad that sell outdoor furniture, as well as online options; why should someone come to Casual Furniture World?

At Casual Furniture World, we provide an experience as well as a product that is different from the big box store.  Our sales staff is extremely knowledgeable, and we have a wide variety of furniture as well as umbrellas, grills, and firepits in stock.  Our customers appreciate quality and value; they know the furniture they purchase will last for many years.  We frequently have customers who bought furniture from a big box store a year or two ago, and now it’s broken or the cushions are worn out.  Our furniture typically has warranties from 5-20 years, and we’ll take care of any warranty issues you may have.  We provide white glove delivery service, so the furniture arrives fully assembled and our drivers will place it to your specifications.  We also offer complimentary design services to help create the look you want.

The Chamber’s Keep it Local initiative promotes community support for local business ventures. Spending locally creates a strong economy and a sense of place which gives our town its unique lifestyle. The Keep it Local campaign will feature a different segment of businesses each month in 2018. April is Small Business Month.

Kaplan Early Learning Company | Salute to Business

In 1951, Leon and Renee Kaplan opened a toy store called Tiny Town in downtown Greensboro, NC. The store later moved to West Fifth Street in Winston-Salem, NC, where they continued to offer unique toys and gifts that promoted play through learning. Leon Kaplan’s interest in educational books and toys led him to form Kaplan School Supply in 1968. The company embodied Leon’s vision of providing developmentally appropriate resources that help foster the growth of the whole child—cognitively, physically, socially, and emotionally.

Kaplan School Supply eventually changed its name to Kaplan Early Learning Company and quickly became recognized as one of the top early childhood dealers in the nation. Today, Kaplan Early Learning Company continues to embody Leon’s vision by providing developmentally appropriate products to school systems, child care centers, and early childhood programs. Products are providers and to the general public through the company’s catalogs and website (

The company’s corporate headquarters is located in Lewisville, NC, and includes two office buildings, a warehouse, and a state-of-the-art distribution center. The site also includes the Kaplan Education Megastore, which is open to the public. Kaplan continues to support the local community through various philanthropic initiatives that support children and families locally and nationally.

First Row from left to right

Jennifer Cobb, Director of Education & Business Volunteer Services – Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce
Matthew Marceron, President – Kaplan Early Learning Company
Dan Joyner, President – Image360 Winston-Salem North
Anna Wilmoth, Vice President, Marketing & Merchandising – Kaplan Early Learning Company

Second Row from left to right

Tom McClure, Sales Manager – Twin City Quarter
Rodessa Mitchell, Vice President, Education & Workforce Development – Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce
Tina Long, Senior Academy and Volunteer Services Manager – Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce
Renee Semones, Senior Vice President, Finance and Administration – Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce

Company Expansion Creates 50 New Jobs

The Clearing House Payments Company, LLC, a financial payments company, will expand in Winston-Salem creating 50 new jobs, Governor Roy Cooper announced. The company will invest $24.6 million in this expansion.

“The financial services industry continues to thrive in North Carolina, and we have some of the top talent in the nation thanks to our strong colleges and universities,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “The Clearing House knows the quality of our workforce first hand, and I welcome the new opportunities this expansion will bring.”

The Clearing House Payments Company L.L.C. owns and operates core payments system infrastructure in the United States and is modernizing that infrastructure by launching a new, real-time payment system. The Clearing House is the only private-sector automated clearing house and wire operator in the United States, clearing and settling nearly $2 trillion in U.S. dollar payments each day. This amount represents half of all commercial automated clearing house and wire volume. 

“The Clearing House has been a member of the Winston-Salem community since we opened our North Carolina facility a decade ago. We are proud of our presence here, see the Piedmont Triad as a superb environment in which to operate and our employees find the area to be a great place to live and work,” said Jim Aramanda, TCH President and CEO. “We are also confident that North Carolina’s tremendous university system, the presence of a robust financial services industry and a pro-growth economic landscape create an environment well-suited for us to recruit the quality candidates that we need to succeed in our mission of payments system innovation and operation.”

The Clearing House currently employs more than 170 people in Forsyth County. These individuals have positions in technology, operations, sales, legal, human resources and other departments. Salaries for new positions will vary with an average salary of $95,560. The current average wage in Forsyth County is $51,131.


A performance-based grant of $150,000 from the One North Carolina Fund will help facilitate The Clearing House’s expansion in North Carolina. The One N.C. Fund provides financial assistance to local governments to help attract economic investment and to create jobs. Companies receive no money upfront and must meet job creation and capital investment targets to qualify for payment. All One NC grants require a matching grant from local governments and any award is contingent upon that condition being met.

“The Clearing House is a valued partner in Winston-Salem, and we are proud of the success they’ve had here,” said N.C. Representative Donny Lambeth. “These new well-paying jobs will provide opportunities for more people to grow their careers and raise their families in Forsyth County.”

In addition to North Carolina Commerce and the Economic Partnership of North Carolina, other key partners in the project include the North Carolina General Assembly, the North Carolina Community College System, the City of Winston-Salem, Forsyth County and the Greater Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce. 

Oakes Animal Hospital | Small Business Month

Doctors Rocky and Jessica Oakes are a husband and wife team who opened Oakes Animal Hospital last year after many years as associates in another practice. They are taking part in Small Business Month as they embark on their own small business journey:  

What made you decide to be a veterinarian?

Dr. Rocky Oakes: All my life I have always felt a special bond with animals and have loved learning about them. However, I have also always felt called to help people.  The great thing about each animal I see is that they also come with a person! I went to medical school to become a physician. During my senior year, I worked in a human medical center. It just wasn’t a good experience for me. After considerable thought, prayer and discussion with friends and family, I went back to my childhood vision of a job working with animals. I took a job at an animal hospital and loved it. It was clear that in this way I could help people by caring for their animals.

Dr. Jessica Oakes: I have always found animals fascinating.  Growing up on a small farm I had the privilege of caring for many animals through the years.  Nothing filled me with more satisfaction and awe than nursing one of my animals back to health after an injury or illness.  I love the thought that I can contribute to the health and quality of a pet’s life, and in return that animal can bring joy and laughter to their family. 

Why start your own business?

For many years we worked together in a rural animal hospital in the mountains of Georgia.  There we made many friendships and met many great pets.  Once our first child was born we felt it was time to move on to the next stage in our lives.  However, after experiencing cooperate big business veterinary medicine personally, I was left feeling a bit jaded.  Not only did I miss the time that I could spend with my clients at a smaller locally owned practice, but I also felt like the “one-size-fits-all” care pushed by corporate did not meet all the specific needs my patients had.  I felt then that it was time to open our own place where we could bring back that personal connection with clients while still focusing on quality care. It is a privilege to join this community, and we hope to provide a valuable service to families here for many years to come.

Why is serving the community so important?

During veterinary school, we were able to participate in a few mission trips- offering low cost/free spay and neuter procedures to the Navajo Nation in Arizona and giving wellness care to the herds of nomadic people groups in Mongolia.  These experiences left us feeling blessed and humbled.  Now that our young family and work commitments keep us closer to home we are still trying to find ways to give back and help our community locally.  Since opening our doors we have been able to work closely with the Forsyth Humane Society.  We offer medical care and surgery at a reduced cost to the Humane Society.  We have been rewarded in seeing many of these special animals find forever homes after receiving needed medical attention.

The Chamber’s Keep it Local initiative promotes community support for local business ventures. Spending locally creates a strong economy and a sense of place which gives our town its unique lifestyle. The Keep it Local campaign will feature a different segment of businesses each month in 2018. April is Small Business Month.





WSFCS Meaningful Moments – Two Schools Receive National Honors

Jefferson Middle Named National Winner in Samsung Solve For Tomorrow Contest

Jefferson Middle School was named one of three national winners in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest for using STEAM to address a natural disaster.  More than 3000 schools from across the country entered the contest earlier in the year, 10 finalists presented their inventions in New York City this week and the winners were revealed live on Good Morning America.  The students at Jefferson developed a water sensor and barrier system that deploys a gate when water reaches unsafe levels on roadways. The idea is to prevent flood-related causalities.  Students worked with local first responders on the idea and were among other impressive submissions that included ways to address the Opioid epidemic, concussion detection and more. The winning schools will receive more than $200,000 in technology from Samsung.

East Forsyth NAF Academy of Finance Receives Highest National Honor

The NAF Academy of Finance at East Forsyth High School is one of only 70 NAF Academies in the country to earn the title of “Distinguished.” Each Year NAF spotlights its affiliate academies across the country looking for remarkable examples of those that ensure the highest levels of educational experience and design. Distinguished academies are considered NAF’s top  The academies work to provide industry-specific curriculum that offers work-based learning with community partners.  East Forsyth students get a chance to work with Truliant, Chic-Fil-A, Jason’s Deli and more in Kernersville. The program focuses on helping students understand finance, managing business finance, and preparing for a future within a financial career.  More can be found here.