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Scholarship established honoring Dr. James B. Chavis


A scholarship has been established at UNC Pembroke as a lasting tribute to a longtime administrator and friend of the university and its students.

Judy S. Chavis, wife of the late James B. Chavis, finalized agreements for the scholarship in June. Dr. Chavis was vice chancellor of Student Affairs, and the University Center bears his name. In the heart of campus, the building was completed under his direction in 1987 and is now a center of activity where the campus community gathers for educational, social and cultural programs.  

The Dr. James B. Chavis Scholarship is funded by a $50,000 perpetual endowment and will go to an undergraduate pre-med, biology or chemistry major with a 3.0 GPA or higher and demonstrated financial need.

“The scholarship is a bridge for a student who has the will and ability to succeed but needs some help to get there,” Chavis said. “The university gave so very much to my husband, and he gave back during his life. He wanted to give back financially too, so this is from the heart.”

Dr. Chavis was a 1963 UNCP graduate. He earned a master’s degree from East Carolina University and a doctorate from Duke University. He joined the university in 1965 as director of the student center and retired in 1999.

Known as a congenial administrator who always had time to help individual students, Dr. Chavis was much admired in the university community, said Teresa Oxendine, assistant vice chancellor for Advancement.

“Dr. Chavis was a wonderful person,” Oxendine said. “He made students feel special.  I know he made me feel special when I was a student here. That was just one of his great qualities.”

Endowed scholarships are an especially powerful gift to the university because they never run out. As opposed to a one-time gift, endowed scholarships are funded by investment revenues of a large donation; the principal gift is never spent. As a result, the Dr. James B. Chavis Scholarship will always be available to help students finance their education, Chancellor Kyle R. Carter said. “We have so many talented students who need financial assistance at this university,” Dr. Carter said. “This scholarship is a lasting memorial to a great man in our distinguished history. We thank you for this gift to our students.”

Judy Chavis said her husband wanted the scholarship to go to a strong student. “We want really good applicants for this award,” she said. “He would want it given to students who are serious about their education. He was very serious about education.”

For information about the Dr. James B. Chavis Scholarship or about giving to the university, please contact the Office of Advancement at 910.521.6252 or email