The Class of 1956 returned on February 4 for Homecoming 2006 bearing gifts.
Numbering only 25 graduates 50 years ago, the golden reunion class contributed mightily to create the scholarship totaling $4,125 at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
Class of ’56 presents scholarship-- From left: Lillian Faye Locklear, Quessie Dial, Loleta Blanks, Naomi Chavis, Othniel Thompson and Christine Corn
At a reception before the Alumni Awards Banquet, Dewey and Christine Corn from High Point, N.C., discussed old times with Ed and Mary Alice’58 Teets. While Dewey taught agriculture at UNCP, Christine ’56 raised a family and earned a degree in education.
“I came down here to teach philosophy, but Dr. (Ralph) Wellons (president of then-Pembroke State College) saw my name and said I had to teach agriculture,” Dewey Corn joked.
“Mary Alice was our babysitter,” said Christine Corn, who is retired after 30 years in the public schools.
“We all lived on Faculty Row back then,” said Mary Alice Teets. “It was like a family.”
The theme of Homecoming was “Gold and Black, Take Me Back,” and many memories were revived. Twenty-four class members contributed to the scholarship, which totaled $4,125 and continues to grow.
Chancellor Allen C. Meadors thanked the class and, in particular, Naomi and Lillian Faye Locklear, who are class representatives.
“This scholarship is a wonderful and lasting tribute to this class,” Chancellor Meadors said. “I hope you still have a warm place in your heart for UNCP. Always know that this is your home.”
A complete list of donors is included at the end of this article.*
Three outstanding graduates of the University were honored at the awards banquet.
Outstanding alumni – From left: Melvin Reid, Athletic Hall of Fame, Col. William Meier, Outstanding Alumni Award, and Henry Lewis, Distinguished Service Award winner
For Henry Lewis ‘73, winner of the Distinguished Service Award, UNCP is a family affair that includes his wife Gayle ’75 (master’s degree, ’88), brother Durham ‘87, son Hank ‘01 and his wife Trish ‘98, son Alex ’02 and his wife Hilca’00, ‘04.
Introducing Henry Lewis, his son Hank said, “When my father believes strongly about something, it’s hard to get him to stop talking about it. He believes very strongly in UNCP.”
Henry Lewis is a former trustee, a member of both the Chancellor’s and Braves clubs, and he currently serves as chair of the UNCP Foundation board of directors.
“Tonight is an unforgettable moment in my life,” Lewis said. “It’s been a pleasure to be involved with UNCP. This University is growing and improving every day.”
For Outstanding Alumni Award winner Col. William Meier ’75, the U.S. Marine Corps is a family affair. Col. Meier, who retires this year after 30 years in the Corps, has a son serving in Iraq and his father was a career Marine.
In his introduction, Major General Robert Dickerson called Col. Meier “a great American,” whose career as an engineer carried him around the world in service of his country.
Col. Meier recalled his commissioning in 1975 at UNCP.
“This is a great honor for me,” he said. “I didn’t get any honors when I graduated, but my father commissioned me and Larry Martin, who is still a friend today.”
“I could not have done all this without my wife Donna,” Col. Meier said. “We moved 14 times in 31 years. I owe it all to her.”
UNCP Athletic Director Dan Kenney was a new assistant basketball coach in 1977 when he spotted Melvin Reid ‘81 as an outstanding talent. Reid, who ranks sixth on UNCP’s all-time scoring list, was also remembered for his leadership.
“Basketball is a game about influencing your teammates toward a common goal,” Kenney said. “Nobody did it better than Melvin Reid, our 63rd member of the UNCP Athletic Hall of Fame.”
Reid, who was accompanied by a large family contingent, said he came to UNCP scared, and he was still a little scared.
“I’m elated,” Reid said. “I have never lost my passion for Pembroke.”
The Alumni Association added three new members to the Board of Directors, according to President Jeffery Alejandro ’95 of Greenville, N.C., Cynthia Herndon ‘01 of Parkton, N.C., Trey Allen ’96 of Raleigh, N.C., and Sylvia Pate ’99 of Rowland, N.C., joined the board on February 4.
Past President Hal Sargent ’96 of Wendell, N.C., was honored for his service to the Alumni Association.
Homecoming King Marvin Jacobs and Queen Angela Harding
The Braves could have used Reid on the court Saturday. Both men and women lost Peach Belt Conference games to strong teams from North Georgia State University.
On the ball fields, the Braves fared better. The baseball team taking a pair from Bloomfield College and the softball team sweeping a doubleheader from St. Andrews.
At halftime of the men’s contest, Marvin Jacobs, a junior from Raeford, N.C., was crowned 2006 Homecoming King and Angela Harding, a sophomore from Clinton, N.C., was named Homecoming Queen.
Also at halftime, the alumni brothers of Phi Beta Sigma presented a donation of $1,000 to the Memorial Scholarship Fund of the late Willie Mayes Jr., a UNCP wrestler who died in a tragic automobile accident in 1988.
Highlights of Homecoming 2006 included concerts by The Spinners and a standing room only show by comedian Arnez J.
For additional questions about homecoming or giving to UNCP, please contact the Office of Alumni Relations at 910.521.6533 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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*Contributors to the scholarship included: Sarah Bell in memory of James Walter Sampson ‘56, Loleta Blanks ‘56, Eric Locklear in honor of Lillian Faye Thomas Locklear ‘56, Lillian Faye Locklear, Lillian Faye Locklear in memory of George W. Emanuel ‘56, Quessie Dial ‘56, Othniel Thompson ‘56, Christine Corn ‘56, Naomi Chavis ‘56, Helen Chavis ‘56, Herbert Lloyd ‘56, Bertha Locklear ‘56, Sallie ’56 and William Oxendine, Victor Lowry in memory of Amrinda Lowry ‘56, Isa Valandra ‘56, Linda Oxendine ‘56, Loleta Blanks ‘56, Lachelle Ransom in honor of Loleta Blanks, Sally and Donald Jacobs in honor of Loleta Blanks, Orval Tommy Blanks in honor of Loleta Blanks, Abner and Stephanie Lowry in honor of Loleta Blanks, Darryl and Tomalita Howington in honor of Loleta Blanks, Shannon Lowery in honor of Naomi Chavis and Linda and Kristy Sampson in memory of James Walter Samson ‘56.