Raleigh donors establish endowed professorship at UNCP


A Raleigh, N.C., couple have founded an endowed professorship in the Nursing Department at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.


From left: Donors Robert L. and Anne S. Zucker, Dr. Barbara Synowiez, chair of the Nursing Department and Trustee Dr. Breeden Blackwell

Robert L. and Anne S. Zucker established the $250,000 endowment as part of a charitable trust.  It will perpetually fund a nursing faculty position.

The Zuckers, owners of Outdoor Equipment Distributors, Inc., established similar gifts for nursing programs at UNC-Chapel Hill and East Carolina University. They also fund a scholarship program at NC State University.

“We selected nursing because it is a profession that helps people and that goes with our business philosophy,” Robert Zucker said. “People don’t often think of nursing schools, but nurses help a lot of people.”

The family has ties to UNC-Chapel Hill and East Carolina, but none with UNCP before the gift. The Zuckers are friends of UNCP Board of Trustees Chair Breeden Blackwell, a 1968 graduate.

“We have been friends for the past 8-10 years, and I suggested he take a look at my little University,” Dr. Blackwell said. “Unknown to me, Bob came to UNCP and had lunch with Chancellor (Allen C.) Meadors.

“There is no question this gift will benefit the University, its students and patients in our region,” Dr. Blackwell said. “I guess you never know what will happen when you start bragging about your University.”

Zucker said his visit to UNCP opened his eyes.

“I was amazed when I came to the University with all the new buildings and its modern campus,” he said. “I’ve always had a great love for small universities because you can get to know so many people.”

The gift agreement was announced on October 6 at UNCP’s Southeastern Regional Medical Center (SRMC) nursing campus in Lumberton, N.C. Nearly 50 enthusiastic nursing students welcomed the news from the audience.

“Anne and I are amazed and surprised by the reception we have received today,” Zucker said. “Eastern North Carolina will certainly be happy to have all of you good nurses.

“We’re going to need all of you, and we hope you are all going to be very successful,” he continued. “Thank you. Anne and I won’t forget this day.”

Nursing Department Chair Barbara Synowiez said the gift is an important one for the young nursing program.

“An endowed professorship represents one of the greatest gifts a university can receive,” Dr. Synowiez said. “It will ensure the quality and reputation of this department and advance our mission in the region.”

UNCP graduated the first students from its four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program in May 2007. A RN-to-BSN program has been in place since 1992 with campuses at UNCP, Sandhills Community College Campus, Southeastern Community College Campus and Ft. Bragg.

On hand for the announcement were SRMC CEO Joanne Anderson and Vice Presidents, David Sumner, Teresa Barnes and Morris Bullock. UNCP Trustees Dick Taylor and Dr. Raymond Pennington were also on hand.

Upon receipt of the gift, UNCP is eligible to apply for a dollar-for-dollar match as part of the North Carolina General Assembly’s Distinguished Professors Endowment Trust Fund.

For more information about nursing educational opportunities at UNCP, please refer to the Department of Nursing Web site www.uncp.edu/nursing/ or call 910.521.6522.

For more information about the Robert L. and Anne S. Zucker Endowed Professorship in Nursing or planned or other giving at UNCP, please call the Office for Advancement at 910.521.6252 or email advancement@uncp.edu.