Memorial scholarship honors David L. Dean Jr.


The friends and family of a former UNC Pembroke student have established a scholarship in his memory.


David L. Dean Jr. Memorial Scholarship - From left: Sharon O. Dean, mother; Joe McKinstry, a friend; and Sherrie Lynn D. Stephenson, sister.

The David L. Dean Jr. Memorial Scholarship was endowed in early 2006. Dean, a St. Pauls, N.C., native, was an outstanding student and a young man with many gifts, said his mother, Sharon Dean.

“David was talented in poetry, art, singing, and playing the guitar,” Dean said.

An Eagle Scout at age 14, Dean also earned the Boy Scout’s God and Country Award. An outstanding student at St. Pauls High School, he also worked in his church and was named an “Outstanding Young American.”

After studying at UNCP and UNC Greensboro, Dean attended broadcasting school and worked as an on-air personality for several local radio stations. Eight months after relocating to Seattle, Wash., he was diagnosed with a deadly form of cancer. He was 33.

David L. Dean Jr. died 11 years ago, but he is not forgotten, said Joe McKinstry of Seattle, Wash. Dean and McKinstry met in Seattle’s music scene and became friends.

“We both played and wrote music,” McKinstry said. “He was an intense, funny and very intelligent person with a beautiful vision of the world.”

Since Dean’s death, McKinstry maintains close ties with the Dean family, and they discussed ways to honor him. A perpetual scholarship to benefit students in Robeson County was an uplifting idea, McKinstry said.

“I thought it was a perfect idea, and I’m  honored to be a part of it,” he said. “I can see a pressing need to help kids from Robeson County.”

McKinstry graduated from a regional state university and works for a large biotech company today. He is familiar with the mission of universities like UNCP in providing affordable education.

 “State universities serve an important role in providing opportunities for people,” he said. “It matters a lot to us that this scholarship goes to somebody from this county.”

Sharon Dean echoed that sentiment. “I hope it helps some other young person to make it,” she said.

Chancellor Allen C. Meadors said scholarships are sorely needed.

“Many of our students could not go to college without help,” Chancellor Meadors said. “And many of our students are the first members of their family ever to attend college. Education transforms their lives and the lives of their families forever.”

The recipients of the scholarship shall be residents of Robeson County majoring in English. Recipients must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA and be full-time undergraduate students. The recipients must be of demonstrated financial need and the award is renewable.

For more information about the David L. Dean Jr. Memorial Scholarship or other giving programs at UNCP, please contact the Office for Advancement at 910.521.6252 or email