As an undergraduate student at UNCG, Dr. Cheek actively served as the vice-president of the Alpha Xi chapter of Mu Phi Epsilon in addition to being the music editor for the Carolinian. She was also a member of the Outing Club and a university marshal. Dr. Cheek was also the first African American student to complete her student teaching at the Curry School.
Upon graduating with her B.M. in Music Education in 1967, she entered UNCG’s Master’s program for music education. She continued to be a trailblazer during this time becoming the first African American resident advisor and the first African American faculty member in the School of Music. Dr. Cheek served as the first advisor for the Neo-Black Society, an organization in which her sister, Betty Cheek, was a founding member.
On the advice of her graduate advisor, she applied and was selected by the National Endowment for the Arts to study the Zoltan Kodaly approach to teaching music to kids at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest, Hungary. Dr. Cheek went on to receive her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. In 1989, she received UNCG’s Alumni Distinguished Service Award.
Entry by Lucy Mason, summer 2015 intern