Homecoming 2007 on February 2 – 3 at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke shattered attendance records.
UNCP Homecoming Royalty - Enrico Antonio Warren of Fayetteville, N.C., was crowned King and Estella Fatima Johnson of Elizabethtown, N.C., Queen of Homecoming.
Three standing room only events took place at the Givens Performing Arts Center (GPAC), including two sold-out performances in one night. On Saturday evening, a step show was followed by a Comedian Showcase with movie star and stand-up comic Mike Epps.
On Friday, soulful crooner Percy Sledge performed for an appreciative audience.
“It was very exciting to set an all-time record for weekend attendance,” said GPAC Director Patricia Fields. “Two sell-out audiences in one night is unprecedented.”
The Friday concert almost did not happen. Sledge was signed to a contract just three days before the concert following the last moment cancellation of Jim and Dan Seals.
“Percy Sledge is one of the favorite all time performers to appear on the GPAC stage,” said Marketing Director Tasha Oxendine. “People waited for an hour and a half after the show to get his autograph.”
Class of '57 Reunion - From left: Ken Maynor, A. Bruce Jones, Herman Hunt, Clara Lowry, Purnell Swett, Dorothy O. Quick, Sarah Jane Oxendine, Lycurous Lowry, Earlene Locklear, Essie Jones and Ludahlia Wilkins.
UNCP athletic teams were nearly perfect Saturday. At the Jones Athletic Center, the Lady Braves basketball team won their sixth straight conference game against Georgia Southwestern, 52 – 45. In the second half of a doubleheader, the men held on to win 51-48.
On Sammy Cox Field, the baseball team won its double header Saturday with Mars Hill, 9-8, in extra innings, and 7-4. On LRA Field, the Lady Braves softball team split a pair with Pfeiffer College.
At halftime of the men’s game, Enrico Antonio Warren of Fayetteville, N.C., was crowned King and Estella Fatima Johnson of Elizabethtown, N.C., Queen of Homecoming.
The Class of 1957 turned out for their 50th reunion and contributed $2,325 to the University’s growing Golden Anniversary Endowed Scholarship.
The 38th annual Alumni Awards Banquet was held on Saturday, and some of UNCP’s greatest friends were honored and one was mourned.
Homecoming Dedication - 1st Lt. Josh Deese '03, who died in Iraq, was honored at the Awards Banquet. Pictured are: Josh's father and mother, Ronnie and Rogina and fraternity brother Ryan Bullard '01.
The night was dedicated to the memory of 1st Lt. Joshua Deese ’03 who died in Iraq on October 15, 2006. Family and friends offered tributes.
“He was the kind of leader who led his men from the front,” said fraternity brother Ryan Bullard. “He was a great leader, a great fraternity brother and a great friend.”
His mother Rogina Deese said: “Josh had a rich experience on this campus, and he had a wonderful life.”
Gene Hall ’71 of Lumberton, N.C., was honored with the Distinguished Service Award for 26 years of continuous support of the University. He is a certified life insurance underwriter and financial advisor for Lincoln Financial Group.
A member of UNCP Foundation’s Board of Directors, Hall is a lifetime member of the Chancellor’s Club and has contributed to diverse campus causes from the Friends of Sampson-Livermore Library to the Braves Club.
Distinguished Service Award – Gene Hall ’71 of Lumberton, N.C.
A first generation college student and the son of a tenant farmer in eastern North Carolina, Hall acquired an appreciation for the value of higher education.
“The reason I have given back to my University over the years is that I have seen the benefits of higher education,” he said. “My children and my family have also benefited from the University.”
Bobbie Jacobs-Ghaffar ’93 and Abdul Ghaffar ’91 of Pembroke, N.C., became the first husband and wife team to win the Outstanding Alumni Award. They met at UNCP where Bobbie played softball and Abdul played basketball.
Abdul Ghaffar was employed for 13 years at UNCP, mostly in the Office of Student Activities. He started a series of successful new programs, including Parents Weekend, the Leadership and Service Opportunities Program and the Distinguished Speaker Series.
Bobbie Jacobs-Ghaffar founded Native Angels Homecare and Hospice in 2000 with three employees and has 350 on the payroll today. Ground was broken recently for a $7.5 million headquarters for the company.
Outstanding Alumni Award – Bobbie Jacobs-Ghaffar ’93 and Abdul Ghaffar ’90 with Dr. Diane Jones, vice chancellor for Student Affairs.
In 2006, the Braves Club Hospitality Room in the Jones Athletic Center was dedicated to Bobbie and Abdul.
“Bobbie and I are very honored to receive this award,” Abdul said. “This award means so much because UNCP has been such a huge part of our lives. The first day I got here I met my future wife.
“Academically, UNC Pembroke was perfect for me because the faculty cared so much about our progress,” he added. “Giving back to UNCP was an easy choice for us to make. We want to see the University continue in the direction it is going in. We understand the need for financial support.”
Michael “Skip” Fedak ’70, a four-year standout soccer star from Laurinburg, N.C., was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame. A team captain for three seasons, he set a school record for assists and was named the team’s most valuable player in his senior season. Fedak went on to coach at the high school and college levels.
Athletic Hall of Fame – Michael Fedak Jr.’00 poses with the newest member of UNCP’s Athletic Hall of Fame, Michael Fedak Sr. ’70. Both are from Laurinburg, N.C.
For Fedak, UNCP is a family affair. He met his wife, Jeanne, at UNCP. His son, Michael Jr. ‘00, followed in his footsteps and was a four-year member of the soccer team. Daughter, Jolee ’04, was a member of the Cheerleading Squad. His father and daughter-in-law also attended the University.
“I was very fortunate to play at Pembroke,” Fedak said. “It is a wonderful place for a student-athlete.”
A NEW TRADITION
Chancellor Allen C. Meadors, who welcomed alumni to several weekend events, announced that the next Homecoming is set for October 5 - 6, 2007, and will feature UNCP’s new football team.
The Braves will play Brevard College as a new Homecoming event. The Awards Banquet will continue as an integral part of Alumni Weekend.
“I’ll see you all in October,” Chancellor Meadors said. “I promise warmer weather for the next Homecoming Parade.”
“A University is only as good as its alumni,” he concluded. “Thank you for making this a wonderful University.”