Dr. James B. Chavis passed away during the morning hours of Friday, February 26, 2010, at his home in Fayetteville, N.C.
Born on February 3, 1936, he was a 1963 graduate of The University of North Carolina at Pembroke and worked 34 years at the University.
Starting as director of the Student Center, Dr. Chavis retired in 1999 as vice chancellor for Student Affairs. He served as vice chancellor for 21 years.
James B. Chavis University Center, which opened on May 8, 1987, is named for him. He guided planning of the building, with its signature skylights, mezzanine and vaulted ceilings.
Chancellor Charles Jenkins was a long time colleague.
“The entire UNC Pembroke family shares in the huge loss and passing of Dr. Chavis, but we also share in the celebration of his life and his many, many years of distinguished service to the University,” Chancellor Jenkins said. In his service as vice chancellor of Student Affairs, he played a very important role as a voice for students.
“We will always appreciate his many positive contributions to the University,” he said.
Dr. Diane Jones, vice chancellor for Student Affairs, worked with Dr. Chavis.
“Dr. Chavis was a role model and mentor for all who knew and worked with him,” she said. “He was very approachable by students and staff.
“He had that special talent of making everyone feel special,” Dr. Jones said. “He loved UNCP and promoted the institution wherever he went. “He was a true advocate for students and was always ready to go the extra mile or take the extra time to help resolve an issue or problem for a student,” she continued. “He will be missed as a friend, mentor and a professional in education.”
Before joining the University, Dr. Chavis was a public school teacher. During his tenure at UNCP, he took a year off in 1977 to serve the State of North Carolina as ombudsman, reporting directly to the governor.
He was a leader in his church, Mt. Airy Baptist Church, Pembroke Kiwanis Club, town, community and business affairs.
A Pembroke, N.C., native, Dr. Chavis graduated from Hargrave Military Academy. He received a Bachelor of Science from UNCP (then Pembroke State College), a master’s degree in educational administration from East Carolina University and doctorate in higher education from Duke University.
He is survived by his wife, Judy; one sister, Joanne Wray; one son, James B. Chavis Jr.; a daughter, Bridget Parker; and five grandchildren.