Dr. Paul Nelson Locklear elected UNCP Alumni Board president

Dr. Paul Nelson Locklear
Dr. Paul Nelson Locklear

Dr. Paul Nelson Locklear immersed himself in campus life at UNC Pembroke as a student in the mid-1990s.

He was highly engaged in co-curricular experiences, from student organizations, intramural sports and fraternity life to community service. Once dubbed the admissions office poster child, his likeness was widely used in promotional and marketing materials.

“I was an ambassador for UNCP,” he said.

Nearly three decades after earning his degree, Locklear continues to carry the torch into his new role as president of the Alumni Association Board of Directors. Joining Locklear on the board are new members Rodney Jackson and Kristy Woods.

Jackson of Pembroke, N.C., is the coordinator for the Indian Education program for Cumberland County schools. Woods of Louisburg, N.C., is an educator with Franklin County schools.

Locklear joined the alumni board in 2018. A native of the Wakulla community, he is also a veteran educator and a former principal with the Public Schools of Robeson County. He discovered a passion for education while a student at UNCP. A founding member of Theta Xi Fraternity, he led campus tours and served as the first chair of the UNCP Activities Council.

“I was totally engaged,” he said. “Even though I was from the community, I lived on campus to get the full experience of campus life. I was involved in intramural sports and the university choir and worked in the pool hall.”

Locklear plans to bring that energy as president while collaborating with the board and the Office of Alumni Affairs to strategize ways to improve alumni engagement.

“Since COVID, there’s been a falling off with our alumni,” he said. “One of the things we’ve discussed is reaching out to our alumni within a 100-mile radius to encourage them to get more engaged. We want to offer more events geared specifically to alumni, in addition to the football games and homecoming events.”

Locklear is also looking into ways to increase the alumni budget–without adding additional costs to the university–to engage and connect alumni to UNCP. His goal is to continuously create opportunities and events to encourage alumni to stay involved.  

“I’m looking forward to working with Chancellor (Robin Gary) Cummings, Steve Varley, vice chancellor for Advancement, and Dr. Rebekah Revels Lowry, director of Alumni Affairs and sharing the vision they have for university. I’m also looking forward to partnering with Student Life, the community and businesses outside the university for homecoming and other events,” he said.   

“Great stories begin at UNCP, and we need to get out in the community and tell our stories about how this university opened up doors and avenues and allowed us to navigate our way through the business world, education and other ventures. I challenge our alumni to come out and see the changes, engage themselves, offer to be a speaker in one of our programs, attend a GPAC event and support our athletic programs.”