Deeply Rooted at UNCW

 

The soccer program, athletic facilities, student center and student living spaces today look nothing like they did when Krista Reynolds ’99 was roaming campus. Today, Reynolds marvels at the changes.

Reynolds family

“The beauty is, UNCW is not this little school anymore," Reynolds said. “It’s not the same place I went to back in the 1990s. It was 6,000-8,000 students on campus. It’s not that anymore. It’s a top tier-school, both in size and academics. It looks nothing like it did, but that’s been good and exciting to see.

“It’s phenomenal the things we do. I just hope, as time continues, we get more and more visibility on the state and national levels.”

Reynolds, a two-year member of the soccer program, double majored in marketing and communication studies and still graduated in four years.

The Tobaccoville, N.C., native found her college fit, prepared her for a successful career and met her future husband all as a Seahawk.

“I was a first-generation college student, but in my family it was never, ‘are you going to college?’ but ‘where are you going to college?’” Reynolds said. “When I went to UNCW, it just fit. It fit because I’m a beach girl through and through. That in and of itself was a big sell for me. But the size and focus of majors that really gravitated toward my ambitions appealed to me. I found a place here. It was a place like no other because it fit what I needed.

“I grew through my four years there. It fit everything I needed for those years. Soccer was there the first two years. Double majoring and having the summer school classes I needed were there. I was part of ACE (Association for Campus Entertainment) and got that event planning and execution experience. And I met my husband. We’ve been together for 26 years this year. He was on the men’s soccer team and I was on the women’s team.”

Today, Reynolds and her husband, Vaughn ’97, ’98M, live in Columbia, S.C., and thrive in the corporate world. Krista, who has been with Wells Fargo for 14 years, recently moved into the role of Target Service Operating Model Delivery Leader, a role in which she drives small business relationship banking operations strategy and ensures Wells Fargo is excelling in this space. Vaughn is the Market Executive for the Columbia market at Merrill Lynch, helping financial advisors and their teams in the delivery of Modern Merrill and comprehensive wealth management to clients.

“I have always wanted to work in roles that have had an impact on people,” Krista said. “I’m now working at the macro level with small businesses. Through the pandemic, I was driving PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) communications and banker readiness for the organization. Now, I’m getting to influence decisions at the top of the house that really drive what we’re doing and how we’re meeting customer needs across the country. You can have an impact no matter where you are in an organization – regardless of the size of your organization.”

The couple and their two children, Chase (9) and Taylor (11), moved from Charlotte, N.C., to Columbia in August, when Krista was starting in her current role and Vaughn was transitioning into his new position in-person, and have not seen as many Seahawk events as in years past. But they fully appreciate the progress the soccer programs have made, highlighted by the women’s team capturing the first Colonial Athletic Association regular season championship in program history this fall.

“I played in the mid-1990s, so to think about how far the sport and program at UNCW have evolved is amazing," Krista said. “When I was being recruited, in year two of the women’s soccer program, I did my recruiting trip with the softball coach. That’s how far it has come. Looking back, we did our preseason on the beach. We were doing ocean swims and diving headers in the sand. Those are the stories I look back at and tell.”

And those workouts at the beach and matches on the pitch helped equip Krista for success after UNCW.

As a student-athlete, you really learn time management skills and balancing. You learn how to manage a very complex schedule. Doing all that has led to the types of jobs I have taken and where I’ve excelled in the workplace."

“It’s also the aspect of team and working together for that common good. That translates into corporate America, or wherever your job is. I’ve leveraged all of those skills. In today’s working world, you can’t do anything by yourself. You need the team.”

Success has been plentiful for Krista and Vaughn. Now their interest is in paying it forward and enabling other Seahawks to have the same fit-finding experience they did.

“For Vaughn and I, our faith drives the idea of, ‘To whom much is given, of them much is expected,’” Krista said. “We know we have been very fortunate to have the opportunity to go to a place like UNCW, play on a scholarship and use that as a catalyst to put us on a successful career path. That success needs to be given back to others.”

This fall, after more than two decades of giving, the two established The Vaughn and Krista Reynolds Athletics Scholarship in Business to assist student-athletes pursuing a degree offered by the Cameron School of Business (CSB).

“Considering our backgrounds, Vaughn and I looked at what really helped us during our time at UNCW, and a huge catalyst for us was having a scholarship,” Krista explained. “We had both academic and sports scholarships, so we wanted to create that opportunity for somebody else – to come out of school with less debt and less pressure as they start on their adult careers.”

In addition to their scholarship, Vaughn speaks every year as part of the CSB Business Week and was a member of the Alumni Association Board (2015-18) and Foundation Board (2017-19). Krista is a member of the Board of Visitors. The two are part of the 2021 UNCW Society and Clocktower Society.

“I love being on the Board of Visitors,” Krista said of the group of volunteers who strive to strengthen UNCW’s ties to prospective donors, high-ability students and government leaders. “It allows me to be an advocate for the university and a voice in the community. It helps me have a connection to the university that allows me to promote it.”

As Krista and Vaughn look back at UNCW’s remarkable growth over the two decades since graduation, they look forward to taking a growing role in ensuring a bright tomorrow for the university and future generations of Seahawks. The buildings may change, but their love for the place remains deeply rooted.

Creating student, and student-athlete, experiences like no other is a key priority of Like No Other: The Campaign for UNCW. To learn more or make a gift, visit uncw.edu/give.

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