Gift to honor 1949 graduate Jim Dial


 James Dial

Chancellor Allen C. Meadors with Mrs. James Dial

A 1949 graduate and a member of the Board of Trustees when he passed away in 1997, James H. "Jim" Dial loved The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

Like many college graduates of his generation, Dial returned from the war to get a degree and find a career in teaching. Dial and the post-war generation reinvigorated the university and their community.

Dial's widow has memorialized his life with a gift of $50,000 to the university to dedicate a courtyard in his name at the proposed new east entrance to the university. The courtyard will be located in the large traffic island in front of Lumbee Hall.

Katherine B. Dial said she needed a guided tour of campus because it has changed so much since she graduated in 1946.

"I'm glad they left the front of Old Main the same," Mrs. Dial said. "That's the only building I remember. I had to have help to get around campus."

Mrs. Dial said the gift is a symbol of her husband's love for his university.

"I'm glad we could do this," she said. "If my husband were here to see it, he would be proud."

Dial was a lifetime Chancellor's Club member and one of the first to join the club, which is the university's largest giving club, comprised of key university supporters.

Chancellor Allen C. Meadors thanked the family for their support.

"We have big plans for the garden as a focal point of the university," Chancellor Meadors said. "It will be one of the first things people see when they drive onto campus at the new entrance."

"This is a great gift honoring a great friend of the university," the chancellor said. "I would like to thank Mrs. Dial for this contribution."

During her visit to UNCP, Mrs. Dial leafed through a 1946 Indianhead Yearbook and paused for some fond memories. She was the May Queen in 1946, when May Day was an important campus event.

"We had some great times," she said. "I had very few classmates, but we had good programs and plays."

Mrs. Dial is listed in the 1946 yearbook as a member of the Drama Club, Who's Who, the Baptist Student Union and Orchestra. It was a different time, she says.

"I stayed on campus for a while, then I stayed in town with family and friends," she said. "I met my husband before the war, and I saw him on campus and at his church in Prospect where I taught school after graduation."

Jim and Katherine Dial were both retired teachers, with more than 50 years of service to education between them. They have four children: James H. Dial Jr. of Charlotte; Dennis Dial, a military pilot stationed in Germany; Gina Dial and Colette D. Locklear, both of Maxton.