Gene Brayboy, a retired UNC Pembroke administrator and a career Public Health Service officer, died on November 4, 2008.
Brayboy retired from UNCP in 2003 as the director of the Office of Sponsored Research and Programs. He is survived by his wife, Sheila, director of UNCP’s Health Careers Opportunity Program; children, Terry, Gene II, Lorener and Christian; siblings, Hilda Brayboy-Jones, Lois and Jerry; eight grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and two stepchildren.
Brayboy put his considerable energy into winning grants for 11 years. In 2003, Brayboy’s office helped the UNCP take in $9.3 million in grants. Grant receipts and grant applications have steadily increased since Brayboys’s arrival in 1992 when the University took in just $485,000.
“We made dramatic gains under Gene’s leadership,” said Chancellor Emeritus Joseph B. Oxendine. “I had a great relationship with him, and I was saddened to hear of his passing.
“Gene was a great supporter of the University and the community,” Dr. Oxendine said. “I got to know him when I was at Temple, and I knew he could help us.”
Brayboy worked for many years to have UNCP designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a “minority serving” institution for its historic and future role educating Native Americans. He also worked to improve the health of the surrounding region.
A member of the National Association of Medical Minority Educators, he was recently elected to its Board of Directors in 2003.
Brayboy grew up on a farm in the Philadelphus community near Pembroke.
“At that time, it was either be a farmer or a school teacher,” he said. “I knew nothing of the outside world.”
The ambitious young Brayboy chose another path. Following an undergraduate degree from Shaw University and a Master’s in Public Health degree from UNC Chapel Hill, he got his opportunity to see the world.
Brayboy joined the Navy’s U.S. Public Health Service.
In a notice to the campus, Aubrey Swett, chair of UNCP’s Staff Council and director of the Center for Leadership and Service summed up:
The University campus community, along with innumerable regional and community organizations, were impacted by the care, concern and creative passion demonstrated by Gene Brayboy as he dedicated himself to lifelong service and devotion that diligently addressed economic and health disparities, poverty and a passionate work to provide greater education opportunities to disadvantaged people. We all can be affectionately grateful to Gene.”