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Robert Denny wears his cap and gown at the bell tower.

“When I came to UNC, I wanted to challenge myself by doing something difficult and becoming a part of something bigger than myself,” said Robert Denny, recent graduate and newly commissioned second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force.

A flip of a coin led Denny to enlist in AFROTC over UNC’s other ROTC programs, but the “people and the community” in Blue Heaven, UNC’s Air Force detachment, quickly became a core part of his Carolina experience.

“I’ve had many great mentors at Carolina,” said Denny, who came to Chapel Hill from his hometown of Ambler, Pennsylvania.

Along with the support of his cadre, he names fellow cadets in AFROTC as sources of encouragement through aerospace studies coursework, physical training, leadership lab and more.

“We always push each other to do better in everything we do.”

Denny studied economics at UNC and enjoyed the versatility of the coursework and field. A sports fan, he says “Economics of Sports” was his all-time favorite class. Denny was also a member and leader of the UNC Honor System for three years, and thanks his friends in the program for making “our University a better place for everyone.”

Denny is looking forward to time with family this summer before training to be a combat systems officer in the U.S. Air Force.

When he thinks of his time at Carolina, he’ll remember late nights at Davis Library, participating in the 9/11 Memorial Run at Kenan Stadium, paintball with friends in AFROTC and rushing Franklin Street after beating Duke in the Final Four.

“I am leaving the University as a completely different person than when I arrived, and I’ll miss all the professors and classmates who contributed to my journey.”

By Jess Abel ’19

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