Sara & Ben Alexander

Alumni couple gives back to the place where it all began.

Ramsey Library gets a lot of visitors. Some are there to study or maybe to get a cup of coffee. Others, as it turns out, are there to get engaged.

That’s exactly what Ben Alexander ’10 had in mind when he proposed to Sara Alexander ’11 on the steps of the library. The couple met there the first semester of freshman year, sipping coffee from CafĂ© Ramsey in the Glass House. Fond memories like these are just one reason why Sara and Ben help support UNC Asheville’s future.

"To say giving back makes me feel great is an understatement," Ben says. "Any time that I can do something for UNC Asheville, whether it is giving financially or volunteering or even just writing letters thanking people, it makes me feel like I am giving back to an institution that gave a lot to me."

Ben now teaches Latin at Enka High School in Candler, N.C., where he was named 2014 Teacher of the Year. He believes that the unique approach to education taught at UNC Asheville helped prepare him to become a better teacher.

"Earning my degree in classics rather than education, gave me a deeper understanding of the subject matter," Ben says.

Sara is a preschool teacher by day and an artist by night, selling her drawings, paintings and jewelry on her Etsy shop, SaraAart. The liberal arts education she received at UNC Asheville prepared her to go in a number of different career paths.

"A UNC Asheville education makes you better qualified for a larger variety of opportunities, and I think that affected me directly," Sara says. "I might not have had the confidence to explore those opportunities without my liberal arts background. Giving back makes it possible for future students to have the same experience and opportunity."

For Sara and Ben, giving back also increases the value of their UNC Asheville degrees.

"When you give back, you are giving merit to your degree," Ben says. "I feel my degree has become worth more now because of so much that has happened at UNC Asheville and where the university is going. Donations help get UNC Asheville where it needs to be in order to continue doing great things."