We are proud to announce the 2010 Alumni Award Recipients. The Alumni Awards Banquet was held Friday, February 26, 2010 in the University Center Annex.
Outstanding Alumnus Award
Kellie H. Blue is a native of Pembroke, NC and the Director of Finance for the County of Robeson. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting. She was the first recipient of the Ophelia and Earl Thomas Academic Scholarship at UNC Pembroke. She is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill’s Institute of Government School for Finance Officers, and is a member of the Governmental Finance Officers Association, and the North Carolina Association of County Finance Officers.
Ms. Blue serves on numerous boards and committees, including the UNC Pembroke Foundation Board, the Southeastern Regional Mental Health Board and the Federal Credit Union Advisory Board.
She is the daughter of the late Charles L. Hunt and Estelle D. Hunt of Pembroke. Kellie and her husband, Jonathan ‘91, have one son, Jonathan Christopher Blue.
Distinguished Service Award
James A. Thomas is Chairman of the Board, President and CEO of Thomas Properties Group, Inc. in Los Angeles, and Chair of the Advisory Board for the Thomas Family Center for Entrepreneurship at UNCP. Born in Pembroke, NC, Mr. Thomas received his bachelor’s degree in economics with honors from Baldwin-Wallace College. He graduated from Cleveland State Law School, and has received honorary doctorates from Baldwin-Wallace College and UNC Pembroke.
A gift from Mr. Thomas and his wife, Sally, made through the Thomas Family Foundation, funded The Thomas Family Endowed Professorship in Entrepreneurship in UNCP’s School of Business. Mr. Thomas has supported several UNCP projects, including an Endowed scholarship and the naming of the Thomas Assembly Room in UNCP’s Native American Resource Center. Both gifts honored his parents, Ophelia and Earl Thomas.
Young Alumnus of the Year
Gina M. Gibson is the first recipient of the UNCP Alumni Association’s Young Alumnus of the Year Award. She was born and raised in Fayetteville, N.C., and graduated from UNCP in 2003 with a Bachelor’s degree in Studio Art with an emphasis in digital art and traditional printmaking. She received her master’s degree in Fine Arts from UNC Greensboro in 2006 in Digital Photography, Video, and Installation.
Ms. Gibson spent two years as a lecturer in the Art Department at UNCP, and is now an Assistant Professor of Digital Media at Black Hills State University in Spearfish, S.D. where she teaches Desktop Publishing and Graphic Design. Gina and her husband Dustin Hinson met in UNCP’s Art Department as students, and they have been together for more than seven years.
Athletic Hall of Fame Inductee
Willie J. Dye, a native of Chester, SC, was the first person from Chester High School to place in the South Carolina State Championships, taking second place. A two-time all-American (NAIA, NCAA) for the Braves in 1980, he posted 126 wins during his four-year career with the Braves – a number that still ranks second of all-time. A three-time (1979-81) all-conference selection, Mr. Dye was a member of four Conference Carolinas and NAIA District 26 squads. A four-time all-district selection as well, he registered 35 or more wins during both his sophomore (37) and senior (35) seasons for an extremely dominant UNCP program.
Willie resides in Rock Hill, S.C. where he is the owner of My Time Transportation Company. He graduated from UNC Pembroke in 1982 with a Bachelor of Science Degree. Mr. Dye is the son of John Willie Dye and the late Dorothy Dye. He and his wife, Marilyn, have four children, Sabrina Chambers, Katrina Gore, Doreshea, and Willie Jr.
Athletic Hall of Fame Inductee
Cindy A. Thorndyke was a dominant pitcher for UNCP during its last four years as a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, including the last two seasons of the slow-pitch era for the Braves. Ms. Thorndyke received her Bachelor of Science in Physical Education in 1992 from UNCP. A four-time all-conference and all-district selection, she was twice selected as the Conference Carolinas Player of the Year, while also being decorated with all-conference tournament laurels in all four seasons with the Braves. She still holds the school’s single season record for RBI (44, 1991), but also ranks among the top five in career victories (32), season winning percentage (.762, 1991) and career earned run average (0.28).
Cindy resides in Lumberton, NC where she works as a teacher for the Public Schools of Robeson County. She is married to Sandy Thorndyke who is the baseball coach at Fairmont High School and they have three children Christa, Seth, and Colby.