When Dr. Harold Teague reflects on his years of teaching at UNC Pembroke, there are many highlights.
Dr. Teague won the UNC Board of Governors top award for teaching in 1997. He earned the rank of full professor, the university’s highest. And, he was awarded “emeritus” status, the highest tribute for a retired faculty member.
However, Dr. Teague insists that the best thing about teaching chemistry at UNC Pembroke for 40 years was the privilege of teaching so many great students – many of whom returned to Pembroke as doctors, dentists, pharmacists and other health care professionals.
Dr. Teague was on campus October 21 to fill in as lab instructor and to establish an endowed scholarship honoring his late daughter, Anne Marie. He has pledged $20,000 to create the Anne Marie Teague Memorial Endowed Scholarship to benefit an upper level chemistry major who is preparing for a career in health care.
The list of doctors who are UNCP alumni is long. By the time Dr. Teague won the UNC teaching award, he had taught approximately 50 future doctors.
One of those doctors, Rhonda Sanderson Lowry M.D. discussed her UNCP education: “I was better prepared for medical school than a lot of graduates from Duke, Chapel Hill and (NC) State.” A 1990 UNCP graduate, Dr. Lowry was a chemistry major, who graduated from the Brody School of Medicine of East Carolina University.
The university and particularly the science departments take great pride in training future health care professionals. It was a momentous and intentional effort that raised the level of health care for an entire community. As Dr. Teague noted: “When I arrived at the university, there was one doctor and one pharmacist that were local.”
Dr. Teague gives credit to the university’s focus on teaching and to the great students he taught in his classrooms and labs. “There are great teachers here; when students leave here, they know the material,” he said. “I’ve had some good students too.”
Growing up in Massey Hill, one of Fayetteville’s mill villages, it took a few turns of fate to connect the dots between the time the Teague family home burned to the ground, and Dr. Teague’s arrival at Pembroke State University with a Ph.D. from NC State University.
A special teacher got him through the 5th grade and another special teacher helped him get into a graduate chemistry program. None of it was easy, he said: “Everywhere I’ve been and everything I’ve done, I was pushed.”
Dr. Teague has returned the favor many times over for UNCP students, pushing and encouraging them. Students like optometrist Jonathan Jackson remember a great teacher.
“I just wanted to thank you for being such a good teacher,” Jackson wrote in a 2007 email. “You are tops when I think back to instructors at UNC-Chapel Hill and optometry school.”
Dr. Teague savors the success of his students. “I tell my students that if I was born or anything, it was to teach at Pembroke,” he said. “When our students go somewhere else, they realize what we have here. We were able to spend time teaching.”
A man who gave 40 years to his profession, his school and his students is making another gift with the Anne Marie Teague Memorial Endowed Scholarship. The scholarship is perpetual and will continue Dr. Teague’s legacy of helping students achieve their dreams.
“When Anne Marie was little, she used to come with me to school,” Dr. Teague said. “I wanted to do a scholarship to honor Anne Marie,” he said. “And I wanted to do it for the school.”
Gifts to support the Anne Marie Teague Endowed Scholarship can be sent to the Advancement Office at UNCP – P.O. Box 1510, Pembroke, N.C. For more information, contact the Advancement Office at 910.521.6252.