Founders’ Day at UNC Pembroke was celebrated at three afternoon events on March 7.
Honored -Athletic logo creator Gloria Tara Lowery was honored during the March 7 Founders’ Day celebration in GPAC. She is pictured here with Chancellor Emeritus Joseph B. Oxendine, who commissioned her work.
On the first day of UNCP’s next 125 years, some things old and some things new were extolled. Founders’ Day was one of the final events in the university’s 125th anniversary celebration.
In the Givens Performing Arts Center, UNCP’s history and future were detailed. Later, the university unveiled a Heritage Oak on the Quad. And on lawn of the James B. Chavis University Center, the ribbon was cut for a two-mile walking trail, named Hawk Walk for the university’s mascot, the red-tailed hawk.
Chancellor Kyle R. Carter said the university’s founders and their mission are still important to the university and the community.
“The transformation of this institution from and school with one building and 15 students into a comprehensive regional university, has made us into a very different school,” Chancellor Carter said. “It is because of the founders and the leaders of our past that we have become the outstanding institution we are today.”
The hawk mascot, who was recently given the name BraveHawk, had a starring role in the Founders’ Day event as athletic logo creator, Gloria Tara Lowery, was honored. A 1966 graduate and long-time art teacher and artist, Lowery was given a plaque and framed athletic letter by Chancellor Emeritus Joseph B. Oxendine.
“At the time, Gloria Tara Lowery was the most prominent artist in our community,” Dr. Oxendine said. “I wanted an image of the Brave and the hawk together that was dignified and projected a proper image of American Indians in the modern world.
“The outstanding image Gloria created is even more popular now,” he said. “You see it today on everything.”
Heritage Oak dedication - The 125th Anniversary Committee celebrated during Founders’ Day by planting an oak tree on the Quad. From left: Beatrice Maynor (Lumbee Tribe), Sarah Carter, Lawrence Locklear (University Communications & Marketing), Mary Helen Walker (Disability Support Services), Patricia Fields (GPAC), Dorothy Blue (Alumnae), Annette Straub (Enrollment Management) and Wendy Lowery (Advancement). The oak was donated by Green Biz Nursery of Fayetteville.
While university historian Lawrence Locklear discussed the university’s past, Dr. Kenneth Kitts, provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, discussed the future of American Indian scholarship at UNCP.
“What better way to honor our heritage” he said, than the creation of an expanded School of Southeast American Indian Studies.
Dr. Kitts said the program would “draw from existing strengths of the university,” such as the Department of American Indian Studies and Native American Resource Center.
“We must maintain the historical and contemporary connections to the American Indian community,” he said. “With this program, our historical connection to the American Indian community will be forever unbroken.”
The program, which was announced during the 125th anniversary kick-off, is currently seeking a director and will be located in Old Main, the university’s oldest and most historic building.
“This great university with a great story, and what better platform to tell it than through the Southeast American Indian Studies program,” Dr. Kitts said.
The Heritage Oak was planted next to Old Main on the Quad under the direction of the 125th Anniversary Committee. The 15-foot willow oak was donated by Green Biz Nursery and Landscaping of Fayetteville. The stone marker placed at its base was donated by the 125th Anniversary Committee.
Wendy Lowery, vice chancellor of Advancement, said the oak is the start of something new.
“As this oak grows and changes, the university will grow and change,” Lowery said. “We’ll grow together for the next 125 years.”
The Hawk Walk trail was sponsored by Trinity Urgent Care and Family Practice Center of Pembroke and owner Denene Smith. It was planned by the university’s HEALTH Committee, a workplace wellness initiative.
Hawk Walk ribbon cutting – Denene Smith, owner of Trinity Urgent Care and Family Practice, cuts the ribbon as Chancellor and Sarah Carter look on. Smith is a sponsor of the 2-mile walking trail on campus
Chancellor Carter, his wife, Sarah, and dog, Dooley, are in the habit of walking daily on campus. Sarah Carter helped plan the two-mile trail.
“I’ve been hearing about this project at home for some time,” Dr. Carter said. “It is designed for faculty, staff, students and the community to see our historic campus and get healthy. What better way to celebrate our heritage than to show off our campus this way.”
The 125th anniversary celebration will end at spring commencement on May 4.