Hey Niner Nation, we have a feel-good story for you about an extraordinary alumnus and her love affair with UNC Charlotte. Kim Couthen is not only a single mom who has always strived to afford her son, Kelby the luxuries she was given, but also an alumnus who cannot stop giving back to the University she calls home. From alumni boards, scholarships, multiple tuitions, and an infectious personality there is no question as to why we are spotlighting Kim Couthen.
Kim graduated in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in English. She described hertime at UNCC as the quintessential college experience. First and foremost, she said she had fun. The majority of her time spent at Charlotte was hanging with her friends and continuing to make more. Outside of having fun with friends Kim found herself involved and a part of several student organizations. As a member of the Black Student Union, she found her calling amongst the organization to hold a position as Secretary. Kim became an Alpha Sweetheart of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity during her time at UNCC, which she said brought her so much joy, great relationships, and even more fun. While having so much fun and being involved Kim was still able to pull great grades as a student! Though it seems like Kim had a full schedule she says she still wishes she would have been even more involved and didn’t forget to mention the expansive and ever-growing resources UNC Charlotte has to offer.
Since graduation Kim has not failed in continuing to build the woodpile and leave a lasting legacy with the University. Kim Couthen has been able to provide the gift of higher education to not only her son, Kelby, but also to her Nieces and Nephews. So far, Kim is 2 for 3 on getting the next generation to UNC Charlotte. Her son, Kelby, graduated from UNCC in 2020 and seemed to take his mom’s advice about getting involved and making the most of yourcollege career. During Kelby’s time at Charlotte, he was an RA and was able to have a semester abroad in Spain. Now that Kelby has graduated, he is moving on to achieve his MBA with a concentration in HR Management and follow in his moms footsteps. As you can see Kim is passing the torch and empowering the next generation of Niners to leave their own legacy. Kim’s legacy is undoubtably great, no pun intended. Kim is also an active member of the UNC Charlotte Legacy Alumni Committee which is aimed to strengthen and connect UNCC families to the University for life. Since joining the committee her adoration for UNCC has amplified through committee member camaraderie, the beautiful tradition of the Legacy Draping Ceremony and the ability to share her love for the University with her son Kelby. Kim doesn't stop there. She is also apart of the Black Alumni Chapter (BAC) where she sits as a board member. Being involved and giving back is apart of Couthen's character and it is evident in her servant leadership as a board member of the BAC.
By now you might be thinking there is no way Kim Couthen could do more for the University, but you are wrong. The bow on top of it all is the Brown Caldwell Couthen - Winston Salem Endowed Scholarship that she and two other friends and alumni have created. This scholarship was set up to share the opportunities and experiences she had with her hometown. In 2018 on a girl’s night out, Kim, Frenchie Wilson Brown and Rhonda Caldwell were brainstorming what legacy they wanted to leave behind and how they would do it. That is when the scholarship was born. During this past 2021 #NinerNationGives the scholarship received its $25,000 mark to become endowed. Starting this fall 2021 the Brown Caldwell Couthen - Winston Salem Endowed Scholarship will be able to provide 2 students with a scholarship to the greatest University in the Southeast, UNC Charlotte.
As you can see, Kim Couthen is the epitome of an outstanding Alumni. Her love and passion for the University is infectious as she continues to find new ways to leave a lasting legacy behind. Thank you Kim for setting the Gold Standard and giving back to UNC Charlotte.
Do good things, go Niners!
If you would like to know more about the networks and committees she is involved in check out the links below:
Legacy Alumni Network: https://49eralumni.uncc.edu/s/1721/m19/interior.aspx?sid=1721&gid=2&pgid=491
Black Alumni Chapter: https://49eralumni.uncc.edu/s/1721/m19/interior.aspx?sid=1721&gid=2&pgid=1456