Important Updates about COVID-19

Read more about UNCP's response to COVID-19.

Perseverance! UNC Pembroke establishes the ‘Cherry Laurel’ Scholarship


Since its founding UNC Pembroke has been an institution characterized by a spirit of perseverance. Many of its students too have overcome long odds to succeed.

Now a new scholarship, the Cherry Laurel Endowed Scholarship, will recognize students who have experienced setbacks and yet continued to pursue their college degree, in spite of those challenges.

“UNCP has long been a place where students can succeed,” explained Dr. Canada, acting dean of UNCP’s College of Arts and Sciences. “Caring, talented faculty and staff work closely with students both inside and outside the classroom, sharing knowledge, developing skills, and providing guidance students can use to reach their potential asreaders, writers, and thinkers. 

“To achieve this potential and graduate, however, these students often also need something else: perseverance,” he continued. “When faculty were asked recently for one word of advice to give to incoming freshmen, that word—perseverance—came up again and again, far more than any other.” 

So why the cherry laurel tree?

“This distinctive evergreen inhabits one of the most dynamic environments in the Southeast, that of the barrier islands,” explained Dr. Lisa Kelly, a professor of biology at UNCP. “On these ribbon-like formations thrust into the sea, the Carolina cherry laurel has persisted for millennia, despite the periodic gale forces of storms, shearing salt spray, and forever shifting sands.”

“The Cherry Laurel Scholarship recognizes students who have overcome one or more significant personal obstacles during their first two years at UNCP,” Dr. Canada said. “The recipients of the Cherry Laurel Scholarship, like the tree itself, withstand all kinds of setbacks and persevere.”

The scholarship comes with other benefits. Recipients will receive the scholarship at the annual awards ceremony sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences. They also will have the opportunity to advise the UNCP administration on matters related to studentsuccess and mentor other UNCP students faced with obstacles. 

The Cherry Laurel is an endowed scholarship. Once the endowment is funded, the scholarship will exist forever. To help build the endowment, Dr. Canada asks that others consider supporting the Cherry Laurel Endowed Scholarship to recognize those students who do not let adversity keep them from achieving their goals.

To contribute to the Cherry Laurel Endowed Scholarship or obtain more information, contact The University of North Carolina at Pembroke’s Office of Advancement at 910.521.6252 or