It was a year of celebration and progress for UNC Pembroke. Here is a look at the top stories of 2012:
125th Anniversary Celebration
Cheerleaders roll out cake during celebration
With motorcycles roaring and a giant birthday cake, UNCP kicked off a 14-month celebration of its 125 years on March 14. The university’s history is both unique and inspiring.
The celebration refrain, “Honoring our Heritage, Soaring Toward the Future,” demonstrated UNCP’s continuing commitment to the founders’ vision of providing educational opportunities that uplift entire communities. Events were staged throughout the year that honored the university’s history and celebrated its bright future.
American Indian Studies to Expand
On the day after the kickoff,Chancellor Kyle R. Carter announced the formation of a Southeast American Indian Studies (SEAIS) program. As a university founded by American Indians, the move honors the heritage of the institution while promoting academic excellence for the future.
During a press conference on the steps of Old Main, Chancellor Carter said the program would transform the university into a center for the study of American Indians in the Southeastern U.S.
With a museum, resource center and a faculty already dedicated to research and teaching, UNCP is ideally located to accomplish its mission. A drive to fund an endowed professorship is underway.
Health Sciences Building Dedicated
On August 14, the university cut the ribbon for the $29 million Health Sciences Building. Home to the departments of Nursing and Social Work, it was UNCP’s biggest construction project and is its greenest building.
At 87,000 square feet, the Health Sciences Building will allow the 4-year nursing licensure program to double in size to 200 students and add a master’s degree program.
It is the university’s most advanced learning environment with $3.5 million in technology inside. It also features two new campus dining options, Papa John’s Pizza and Einstein Brothers Bagels.
The university’s focus on nursing education continued to pay off as 2012 nursing graduates recorded a 100 percent passing rate on the national nursing licensure examination (NCLEX-RN) for the second consecutive year.
Chancellor Carter called the four-year licensure program one of the premier nursing programs in the state. As the programs grow, UNCP’s influence on the region’s health is growing. A partnership with the Lumbee Tribe, Robeson Healthcare Corp., the Health Department and others will work to get more cancer screenings in Robeson and Scotland counties.
Kenney Goes Out on Top
Long-time athletic director Dan Kenney stepped down in October to become Chancellor Carter’s chief of staff.
In 15 years, he successfully launched football, women’s soccer and women’s golf and marshaled the success of Braves teams on and off the field. Before becoming athletic director, Kenney was a successful basketball coach at UNCP.
The Braves regularly compete for Peach Belt Conference championships, and its teams earned nine invitations to NCAA tournaments since 2010. In the classroom, UNCP won the President’s Cup in two of the last three years for the highest cumulative GPA in the conference.
Bahr Wins National Award
Dr. Ben Bahr, the university’s William C. Friday Distinguished Professor of Molecular Biology, received the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) Biology Division’s 2012 Mentor Award for his work in serving as a role model and mentor for students.
With a U.S. patent in hand, Bahr continues to lead a team of undergraduates and post-doctoral fellows in the fight to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.
Mike Williams wins national championship
Mike Williams, a junior 165-pound wrestler, captured a national title on March 10 competing in the NCAA Division II National Championships in Pueblo, Colo.
It was a first for UNCP wrestling and the first individual national championship in 30 years. Williams was perfect in the tournament, winning in the finals with a 5-2 decision. He has returned for his senior campaign.
Veteran Assistance Program Grows
UNCP won its 5th consecutive designation as a Military Friendly School from GI Jobs magazine in 2012.
A survey of students at UNCP last fall showed nearly 1,000 active duty, veterans, reserves, national guard members and family members enrolled. An agreement with Fayetteville Technical College signed last summer will provide complete online programs and seamless transition from 2-year to 4-year programs for active duty service men and women.
At the recommendation of UNCP’s committee on service to the military, retired Col. Mike Clawson was hired in December to lead the Veteran’s Education and Transition Office.
There was much more to celebrate in 2012. Dr. Richard Consentino was named vice chancellor for finance and administration; Dr. Zoe Locklear was named dean of the School of Education; and Dr. Ramin Maysami was named dean of the School of Business.
Professors Shelby Stephenson, Moti Inbari, Scott Billingsley and Catherine Parisian had books published. Professor and Pembroke Magazine editor Jennifer Key won two awards including the Tampa Review Prize for Poetry.