When Dr. Harold David Maxwell first joined the Biology faculty at UNC Pembroke, he was just 22 years old, and the year was 1967. He likely had no idea, at the time, that his ties to the University would span 50 years. The native of Cooksville, Tennessee, had studied fisheries back home, earning both a B.S. and M.S. degree from Tennessee Polytechnic Institute before taking the faculty position at what was then Pembroke State College. Not long into his position, the college would undergo a name change (Pembroke State University), and he would leave temporarily to earn a Ph.D. in reproductive physiology at North Carolina State University.
Dr. Maxwell is dedicated to his profession, and with nearly a photographic memory and sharp wit to match, he is well versed in the subjects he teaches. Anatomy & Physiology, Animal Physiology, General Biology, and Vertebrate Zoology, have been among his more frequent course offerings. In 1996, the University formally became the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. One year later, Dr. Maxwell was recognized for his excellence in the classroom by way of an Outstanding Teaching Award (1997-1998 academic year). For more than a decade, he ran the Minorities Access to Research Careers (MARC) program, during which time he led multiple student trips to science conferences. He chaired the Department of Biology for 14 years, stepping down in 1997, when Dr. Bonnie Kelley assumed the position. Dr. Maxwell entered phased retirement in 2003, but he resumed teaching at the University after a mandatory reprieve.
The Biology Department and colleagues from across campus treated Dr. Maxwell to a surprise party on May 1st to commemorate his remarkable 50-year journey with the University. Few individuals have contributed more to the Department and to "Changing Lives Through Education" than has this southern gentleman.
These days, Dr. Maxwell is invested heavily in teaching Anatomy & Physiology in the Health Sciences Building, where he holds office hours five days a week. The students he has taught during the last half century likely number in the thousands.