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The Daily Tar Heel

J-School faculty have a graphic love

Terence is a professor in the UNC School of Media and Journalism, where he teaches courses about graphic design and motion graphics. Greta has built a career by creating successful diversity programs at institutions like UNC.

Susan King, dean of the journalism school, said Terence is an innovator of graphic design.

“When I came here, Terence Oliver was one of our rather new professors in an incredibly important area, in visual communications,” said King, “Which is a digital frontier. He is one of the leaders in an area called motion graphics.”

The couple married in 1986 at Christian Fellowship Center in Cleveland. Greta said she was first drawn to her husband’s polite demeanor and strong faith.

“He was a strong Christian, a nice guy and definitely easy on the eyes,” Greta said.

The two of them have been married for 30 years, with their first date occurring at a surprising venue.

“Where did we go? Pizza Hut? We went to Pizza Hut actually,” Greta said.

The couple lived in Athens, Ohio until Terence was offered a teaching job in Chapel Hill. The family, which now included four children — Darrel, Phylicia, Antonio and Brittany — moved to Chapel Hill and discovered the charms of North Carolina.

“It is a lot more peaceful. The people are more pleasant,” Terence said. “The Southern hospitality is definitely present.”

King was part of the tenure process for Terence during his first years as a teacher, and said that when Terence became a full member of the faculty, it was a proud moment for the University.

“I learned to have even more respect for him as I learned the deeper details of his pretty amazing career,” said Susan. “He was part of a Pulitzer Prize-winning team in Ohio.”

King undersold Terence — he was not part of only one prize-winning team. He was a graphic design contributor for two separate Pulitzers, won in back-to-back years, first for the Miami Herald in 1993 and again for the Akron Beacon Journal 1994.

The Olivers’ commitment to helping others is apparent in their academic and religious lives. Terence and Greta co-lead the Chuck Stone Program, a four-day summer event for attracting diverse high school seniors to journalism.

“The couple that ran it were retiring, and it was recommended to me that they would make a good couple to follow them in their leadership of the Chuck Stone Program,” King said. “That is how I got to know Greta better, and she has been doing that now. This will be their third summer as leaders in that program.”

The couple are elders in the World Overcomers Christian Church and Terence has gone to Kenya with the church to build a sustainable farm.

Terence said his wife is dedicated to helping less privileged people in society.

“She is passionate as well and just really focused as far as wanting to make a difference and also for underrepresented groups — and also anyone who is marginalized,” he said.

Lois Boynton, an associate professor of journalism who is friends with both of the Olivers, said the two are a power couple.

“They are wonderful together and they are very comfortable, which I think is very cool.”

“They can tease one another, and one time when he was going to be late and we needed him to do an assignment, she said, ‘I’ll make him do it.’”

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