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Donors meet their scholarship recipients at annual banquet


Nearly 300 donors and scholarship recipients attended the Scholarship Recognition Dinner at UNC Pembroke on November 17.

The annual event is very popular, Chancellor Kyle R. Carter noted in his remarks to the crowd that left the University Center Annex bursting at the seams.

“It lifts my spirits to see the great turnout for this event,” Chancellor Carter said. “I have challenged our staff to make this event so large we will need a bigger venue for it.”

UNCP is awarding 274 scholarships from private donors in 2011-12, totaling nearly $200,000. The awards include both endowed scholarships, which are specially funded and given every year, and scholarships that are awarded year-by-year.

The dinner is an opportunity for donors to meet the beneficiaries of their gifts and for students to learn why people give.

Kara Todd, an art major, received the Caton Family Endowed Scholarship and met Bob and Faye Caton. “I believe people give so we can have a better future,” Todd said. “I think it’s good to give recognition when recognition is due.”

Faye Caton was pleased to meet the student who wrote her a letter thanking her for the scholarship. “She is a lovely young lady,” Caton said. “I told her that writing letters and notes like that is a valuable habit that will carry her through life.”

Billy Jo Dial, an elementary education major, received the Jepty Patrick Strickland Scholarship. “I believe people give to help others like us,” Dial said. “And it helps a lot; I have three children.”

History major Nicole Holladay met the Oxendine family, Ray, Louis and Magnolia Oxendine Lowry. “They are very friendly,” Holladay said. “I believe they give because they are good people, and this is a way to give back.”

Lowry has enjoyed meeting scholarship recipients every year of the event. “I love it,” she said. “It’s refreshing to meet young folks who are willing to communicate with their elders and who love this school.”

Dr. Robin Cummings, chair of the university’s Board of Trustees, offered his thoughts on why people give: “People give because they believe in the mission of the institution and its ability to change lives,” Dr. Cummings said. “That is why this university was founded in 1887. I wish the founders could see their university today.”

UNCP will celebrate its 125th anniversary in 2012. While the school’s history will be much talked about next year, sitting in the audience at the scholarship dinner was a member of a legacy family.

“W.L. Moore is my great, great, great grandfather,” said Lauren Moore. W.L. Moore is known as the university’s “founder, erector, teacher.” Lauren is the recipient of the Louis and Millie Oxendine Endowed Scholarship. “I believe he’d be proud of what he started,” she said.

Mike Schaeffer, who retired in 2010 after coaching the university’s men’s soccer program for 30 years, had a unique perspective on the Alumni Endowed Soccer Scholarship, which he represented.

“My father-in-law, Tommy Lewis, established the scholarship in the 1980s,” Schaeffer said. “The Office of Advancement called me to ask how I wanted to spend it. Then, we didn’t understand the value of an endowment, but I chose an endowment. I could have spent all the money on a few good players, but that endowment helped my program, my players and the university every single year after that. It really made a difference.”

Public relations major Elizabeth Locklear was the student speaker for the Scholarship Recognition Dinner. She had done her homework and learned a great deal about her scholarship’s namesake, the late Gene Warren, who was the university’s public information officer and sports information director for many years.

“I was very excited when I learned I had won a scholarship, and I thought about the importance of the scholarship to me personally,” Locklear said. “I thought about the prestige of receiving an award named for such a distinguished person.

“A scholarship looks good on your resume, and college students can always use more money,” she continued. “I also thought about it as a wonderful legacy. I have heard about Gene Warren’s outstanding work at the university and that he was admired and appreciated.”

Locklear said she would honor the legacy of her scholarship by continuing to “work seriously as a student.”

Dr. Elizabeth Maisonpierre, a music professor, gave remarks on behalf of donors. “It’s great to be with so many people who care so much about UNC Pembroke,” she said. “It’s the holiday season and a time of gift giving. When you give the gift of a scholarship, you don’t have to worry about buying the wrong size; it doesn’t require batteries; it won’t break or wear out; and you can have more than one.

“Our giving program at UNCP is a model of ‘paying it forward,’” Dr. Maisonpierre said. “The student who receives a scholarship is not required to pay it back; they are required to pay it forward.”

Wendy Lowery, vice chancellor for the Office of Advancement, which sponsored the dinner, summed up the event: “This evening clearly shows that UNCP is more than bricks and mortar – it’s people,” she said. “Giving the gift of a scholarship helps ordinary people do extraordinary things. The people in this room have impacted thousands of lives through their generosity.”

For more information about giving to UNCP, please contact the Office of Advancement at 910.521.6252 or email