UNC Pembroke celebrates careers of 28 staff, faculty retirees

UNC Pembroke recognized a group of staff and faculty retirees during the annual Retiree Celebration dinner on June 6, 2024

As the longest-serving female faculty member in the Chemistry and Physics Department at UNC Pembroke, Felicia Scott was affectionately known to her students as ‘Mama.’


Scott nurtured and impacted the lives of countless students during her 26-year teaching career. She formed lasting bonds with her students in and out of the classroom.


“I would take time out with the students to find out what’s was going on with them,” said Scott, a UNCP graduate. “I actually adopted a few of them over the years. One student lived with me for half a year after they returned home from pharmacy school. I’m going to miss my students.”


Scott was among 28 retirees recognized during an evening ceremony and dinner at the University Center Annex this week.  The group of 2023-2024 retirees served a collective 549 years at UNC Pembroke. The annual event was held on June 6 and hosted by the Office of Human Resources. During his remarks, Chancellor Robin Gary Cummings asked the retirees to remember the lives they impacted during their time at UNCP.


"You've each played an important role in providing a life-changing education for thousands," Cummings said. "You all have had such rich careers at UNC Pembroke. You have truly impacted our region, our state and beyond. It's because of the people, including all of you, who have built this university into what it is today."


Dr. Gary Mauk began his career in the Center for Sponsored Research in 2007 before joining the counseling department faculty the following year. 

“Our department has been through many changes over the years, moving from the School of Education to the College of Health Sciences. Now, it’s back under the School of Ed. That presented many challenges, but I’ve had wonderful times working alongside many great faculty,” Mauk said. 

“I will miss the collegiality and the ability to explore new ideas and test new things,” he said. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to give students new perspectives on some aspects of their lives and gave them a set of tools they can use to help others in the communities,” Mauk said. 


John Haskins was an assistant coach at Gardner-Webb College when he received a call in the summer of 1989 from former UNCP men’s basketball coach Dan Kenney. Haskins became Kenney’s assistant and later took over as head coach. Haskins coached tennis and golf before taking the reins of the women’s basketball program in 2004.  


Wendell Staton shared the bench with Haskins as an assistant coach before becoming athletic director at Georgia College. Staton made the four-and-a-half-hour drive on Tuesday to speak at Haskins’ retirement dinner.


“I’ve been blessed with a wonderful professional life and a beautiful family and the two biggest reasons for that are UNC Pembroke and John Haskins,” said Staton, who choked back tears as he spoke about his friend.


“He’s a phenomenal coach and a phenomenal teacher, but there’s no better friend––no better person who I know,” he said.


Staton said he would argue that Haskins impacted the lives of hundreds of student-athletes during his 35-year career at UNCP. Those life-long relationships are why Haskins returned to the sideline year after year.


“It goes both ways. They’ve touched my life, too,” Haskins said. “That’s the relationship part of coaching. That is what has kept me young. That’s why I got into coaching. It wasn’t to win or make money. It was to be a role model and help young people; hopefully, I’ve been able to do that.”

Here's the complete list of retirees, including years of state service:

Dr. Mary Ash, Department of Biology, 38 years;

Dr. Cherry Beasley, interim Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, 33 years;

Dr. Dorea Bonneau, School of Education, 17 years;

Sean Breeden, Facilities Operations & Maintenance, 24 years;

Darlene Chavis, Facilities Operations & Maintenance, 26 years;

Sandra Chavis, Facilities Operations & Maintenance, six years;

Carlene Cummings, Office of the Registrar, 30 years;

Dr. Sherry Edwards, Department of Social Work, 25 years;

Dr. Irina Falls, School of Education, 20 years;

Taylor Fields, Facilities Operations & Maintenance, 20 years;

Abdul Ghaffar, Campus Engagement & Leadership, 19 years;

John Haskins, Head Coach, Women’s Basketball, 36 years;

Dr. Beth Holder, School of Education, 16 years;

Mickey Hunt, Police & Public Safety, 19 years;

Jean Jacobs, Facilities Operations & Maintenance, 25 years;

Lisa Jacobs, Facilities Operations & Maintenance, 24 years;

Bobby Dean Locklear, Facilities, Planning, Design & Construction, 20 years;

Charlene Locklear, College of Health Sciences, 34 years;

Derrick Locklear, Police & Public Safety, 30 years;

Diane Locklear, Facilities Operations & Maintenance, 28 years;

Herman Locklear, Facilities Operations & Maintenance, nine years;

Dr. Gary Mauk, Department of Counseling, 25 years;

Dr. Gerald Neal, School of Education, 20 years;

Mary Parker, Facilities Operations & Maintenance, nine years;

Felicia Scott, Department of Chemistry & Physics, 38 years;

Judy Stevens, Facilities Operations & Maintenance, six years;

Dr. Roland Stout, Department of Chemistry & Physics, 22 years; and

James Everett Strickland, Facilities Operations & Maintenance, 22 years