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Old Main marks 30 years after destructive fire
By Wade Allen
Old Main is the oldest building and first permanent brick structure built on campus. It has proven itself to be a symbol of pride and strength within the Native American community.
Nearly 50 people attended the celebration, including Chancellor Charles R. Jenkins, Provost Charles Harrington, Native American Resource Center Director Dr. Stan Knick, Dean of the School of Business Cammie Hunt Oxendine, Lumbee Tribal Chairman and Chief Jimmy Goins, Cataloging Administrative Support Assistant Susan Cummings from the Mary Livermore Library, Associate Vice Chancellor for International Programs Dr. James E. Callaghan and International Programs Director Sara Brackin.
“I think it’s very important,” Brackin said. “It’s something that I value about our University.”
When Old Main was restored in 1979, the Native American Resource Center opened under the direction of Juanita Lowry. She was present at the celebration and seemed to be very proud of what the center had evolved into.
Lowry was recognized and received a round of applause by everyone in attendance. She took her time walking through the various exhibits which showcase Lumbee tribal history, past and present. As she walked by paintings and historical artifacts, she’d often smile.
According to Dr. Knick, some details surrounding the center were not recorded.
“I don’t really know what the exact date is [that the center opened],” Dr. Knick said. “We do know the year.”
Dr. Knick went on to explain that since the exact date was unknown, the center chose a date at random to celebrate the anniversary.
“This is the first one [date] we’ve had available,” Dr. Knick said.
Upon the restoration of Old Main, a new resource center was established to provide information and research opportunities for those interested in learning more about the local Native American community and to give local artists a venue to exhibit their artworks.
Known for its towering white columns which withstood the 1973 fire, Old Main is the most famous building on campus and arguably one of the most acclaimed buildings in Robeson County.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Old Main has graced the covers of countless magazines and books, hundreds of promotional brochures and television specials and has been selected by artists to portray in artwork.