School of Business hosts Awards Banquet


In a roomful of UNC Pembroke’s top business students, Bob Winfree seized the moment.

“I am looking for a rising junior for an internship next year,” Winfree said. “I want the brightest and best.”

A successful local entrepreneur, Winfree was keynote speaker for the April 26 School of Business Awards and Scholarship Banquet.

Winfree, owner of the Staffing Alliance, a Pembroke-based employment company with seven offices in the Carolinas, is a prime example of the School of Business’ outreach into the area business community.

The Pembroke native demonstrated his recruiting skills when his 2004-05 intern Genieve LeBeau was named one of two top undergraduates in the School of Business. Winfree offered career advice to a roomful of future business leaders.

“The opportunity to be a business owner scared me to death,” he said. “The day I had to meet my first payroll was not my best day.”

Longge Gao 

Outstanding Graduate Student Longge Gao

Winfree said he made the commitment to owning his own business and never looked back.

“Never be afraid to make a decision,” he said. “Right or wrong, delay just delays the inevitable.”

Longge Gao was named top graduate student in the MBA program. A Chinese national with limited English language skills when she joined the program two years ago, Gao thanked the UNCP community for its supporting.

“I had some difficulties with English,” Gao said. “From professors to classmates, they empowered me to communicate and make class presentations. I really appreciate my professors help and spiritual guidance.”

 Genieve LeBeau

Outstanding Undergraduate Business students Genieve LeBeau (left) and Christy Blue

Laurinburg, N.C., native Christy Blue and LeBeau, another international student, were named top undergraduate students in the School of Business.

Blue was president of UNCP’s award-winning SIFE Club (Students in Free Enterprise), which won regional competition and will compete in the nationals in May.

From Canada, LeBeau was also named winner of UNCP’s top volunteer award for her participation in a variety of activities on campus and community service off campus.

Dr. Mohammad Ashraf, an economic professor, was named the first recipient of the Peter B. Vaill Facultyship Award for outstanding research, teaching and service to the University. School of Business Dean Eric Dent, who created the award, said Dr. Ashraf demonstrated “a love of research and a flair for writing.”

Five third-year students were named recipients of $1,000 BB&T scholarships: Leslie Taylor of Fairmont, N.C., Ron Emanuel of Maxton, N.C., Justin Hadley of Snow Camp, N.C., Sarah Parker of Laurinburg, N.C. and McKenzie Hicks of Raeford, N.C.

Mohammad Ashraf 

Vaill Faculty Award - Dr. Mohammad Ashraf was the recipient of the first award for business faculty. School of Business.

Tiffany Alford of St. Pauls, N.C., and Lee Nejberger of Lawndale, N.C., won the Independent Insurance Agents of North Carolina scholarship. Alford was also named winner of the Kenneth and Susan Clow Scholarship, valued at $500. Dr. Ken Clow is a past dean of the School of Business.

The Jackie Parker Adams Endowed Scholarship was won by Siiri Sibbett of Marburg, Germany. The late Jackie Adams of Lumberton was a 1980 graduate and University valedictorian.

Christopher Abbott of Kittrell, N.C., received the Naomi and Cecil Conley Endowment.

SIFE’s “Believe It, Achieve It” Scholarship went to McKenzie Hicks of Raeford and Jimmy Peterson of Rose Hill, N.C.

For more information about the Awards and Scholarship Banquet, please contact the School of Business at 910.521.6214 or email


BBT scholarship 

BB&T Scholarships - Leslie Taylor of Fairmont, N.C., Ron Emanuel of Maxton, N.C., Justin Hadley of Snow Camp, N.C., Sarah Parker of Laurinburg, N.C. and McKenzie Hicks of Raeford, N.C.

insurance scholarship 


Independent Life Insurance Agens of N.C. Scholarship – Lee Nejberger and Tiffany Alford. Alford also received the Kenneth and Susan Clow Scholarship.


Jackie Adams 

Jackie Parker Adams Scholarship – Recipient Siiri Sibbett (middle) with Dean Eric Dent (left) and Dr. Craig Shoulders


 SIFE scholarship

SIFE Scholarship – Recipients McKenzie Hicks and Jimmy Peterson with Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) President Christy Blue (right)