Homecoming weekend (Feb. 15-16) at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke truly was the stuff memories are made of.
Concerts by popular singer Percy Sledge and comedian Bruce Bruce were sold out at the 1,700-seat Givens Performing Arts Center.
UNCP swept its basketball doubleheader against Lander University. The women won 91-65, and the men earned a hard-fought win 65-58.
The university gained two new scholarships, one from the Robeson County Alumni Chapter and another to honor new Athletic Hall of Fame member Dr. William H. Dean. Dr. Dean served the university in a variety of capacities from basketball coach to vice chancellor for Academic Affairs.
And, perhaps, most symbolic of a university on the rise, the new water feature was dedicated. The one-acre pond, located in the Arts Quadrangle, features an amphitheater, bridge and fountain.
It was a hit with returning alumni.
- "The university has created one more focal point for making memories on this campus," said Dr. Dwight Pearson '77, president of the Alumni Association.
- "Students will find creative ways to use this place for many years to come," said Dane Onorio '02, president of the Student Government Association.
- "The campus looks really good, and the water feature is awesome," said Chad Martin '98.
- "It's wonderful. It adds a lot to campus, and I wish they had it when I was here," said Peggy Bullock '85.
- "Today, you see what happens when an exciting idea is merged with great planning," said Dr. Diane Jones '72, vice chancellor for Student Affairs. "With enrollment up to record levels the last two years, we are all proud of the progress we have made here. Two weeks ago when the weather warmed up, students were reading books, sunbathing and holding hands," Dr. Jones said. "We have already had two requests for weddings (at the new water feature)."
Also speaking at the water feature dedication was Dr. Cheryl Locklear, chair of the UNCP Board of Trustees. Honored were architects Hayes, Howell and Associates of Southern Pines, Pleasant contractors of Fayetteville, University Engineer Bess Tyner and interim Director of Physical Plant Larry Freeman, who collaborated on the project.
Dr. Dean was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame at the annual Alumni Awards Banquet along with five-time all-American triple jumper Charles Swindell Jr. '82.
Dr. Dean was a science and physical education professor who also served as basketball, track and cross-country coach, athletic director, chair of the Physical Education Department, director of Graduate Studies and vice chancellor. He was instrumental in the starting the first graduate programs at UNCP and launching several new athletic teams.
"I have had a great growing experience here in Pembroke," Dr. Dean said. "I've always felt sorry for any student who did not come here. Both my sons and wife came here."
The William Howard Dean Endowed Scholarship will help others benefit from UNCP. It is earmarked for a basketball player.
Dr. Dean was introduced by Dr. Ray Pennington, retired UNCP athletic director and baseball coach.
Charles Swindell Jr. was twice ranked in the top 50 of the world in the triple jump, and he holds all UNCP records. He was named 12 times to the all-Army track and field team.
"One of the best decisions I ever made was to come to Pembroke," Sgt. Swindell said. "I met a lot of good people. It was like a second home to me."
Sgt. Swindell was introduced by his former coach and fellow Hall of Famer Dr. Ed Crain.
Also honored at the Alumni Awards Banquet were two Pembroke area businessmen: Curt Locklear '49 with the Distinguished Service Award, and Harvey Godwin, Jr., '91 with the Outstanding Alumnus Award.
A veteran of World War II, Mr. Locklear owns Pembroke Hardware and other business ventures in town.
"Thanks for the memories," Mr. Locklear said. "I feel so fortunate just to be here."
Mr. Locklear was introduced by Earlene Lowry.
Harvey Godwin is owner of Two Hawk Employment Services and is well known for his portrayal of local hero Henry Berry Lowrie in the outdoor drama "Strike at the Wind!" He chairs the Julian T. Piece Memorial Scholarship board.
Mr. Godwin's grandmother, mother, wife and son are UNCP graduates.
"We grew up here at the university as kids," Mr. Godwin said. "This university has inspired us, from watching baseball games to providing mentors for us."
Mr. Godwin was introduced by his niece Erica Dellinger.
During the class reunions Saturday afternoon, a check for $3,000 was presented to the university by Robeson County Alumni Chapter President Sandra McCormick '95. The chapter plans to create an endowed scholarship as it raises additional funds.
Also on hand from the Robeson Chapter were Ida Baker '85, president, Lois Oxendine '95, Alumni Relations Director Teresa Cummings '97, Floyd Locklear '87, vice president, Shirley Rodgers '93, Larry Rodgers '77, Dorothy Blue '55 and Earlene Locklear '57.
Alumni traveled from as far away as Cocoa Beach, Fla., and Detroit, Mich., to attend reunions. There were alumni basketball and soccer games, a barbecue luncheon and a dance following the Awards Banquet.
The women's basketball team crushed Lander as senior, all-American Ginnell Curtis led the way with 23 points. That total left her six points shy of 2,000 for her career. She is in second place on UNCP's all-time scoring list.
Both teams are having their best seasons ever in the rugged Peach Belt Conference, and with two conference games left both are in second place.
The women are 18-7 with 11 wins in the conference, and the men evened their season at 12-12 with eight conference wins.
At halftime of the men's game, Ronald Johnson was named Homecoming King and Quiana Robinson Homecoming Queen. Representing Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, Mr. Johnson is a junior from Fayetteville, and representing Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, Ms. Robinson is a sophomore from Rochester, N.Y.
PICTURES OF HOMECOMING
|Percy Sledge Performing at GPAC||Homecoming 2002 Queen Quiana Robinson with King Ronald Johnson|
|Harvey Godwin '91 with Curt Lockelar '49||Charles Swindell Jr. '82 with Howard Dean|
|Braves defeat Lander||Alumni Basketball Game|
|Alumni Registration Social||Dedication of Water Feature and Amphitheater|
UNCP Robeson Alumni Chapter Contributes Scholarship