One of the most visible sites on UNC Pembroke’s campus was dedicated July 2, 2005, during Lumbee Homecoming.
The east entrance to campus in front of the Lumbee Hall administration building was dedicated as the James H. and Katherine B. Dial Gardens. The late James “Jim” Dial was a 1948 graduate and former trustee of the University, and Katherine is a 1946 graduate.
With family and friends looking on, the noon ceremony took place at the newly landscaped courtyard and included an unveiling of a stone monument with bronze plaque bearing likenesses of the Dials. The courtyard area features new planting, a bench and molded concrete walkways.
This gift for the gardens is one of three major gifts from the family. In addition to this gift, the Dials are lifetime members of the Chancellor’s Club, and an endowed scholarship in the School of Education bears their name.
Mrs. Dial attended UNCP during World War II while Mr. Dial was off fighting. She was the University’s first May Queen.
“We had some great times,” she said. “I had very few classmates, but we had good programs and plays.”
The Dials worked a combined 60 years in the public schools. Mr. Dial was president of the UNCP Alumni Association in 1967 and was a University trustee at the time of his death in 1997.
Before the unveiling, Chancellor Allen C. Meadors thanked Mrs. Dial for her dedication to the University.
From left: Evelyn Hood, Katherine Dial, Colette Dial Locklear, Chancellor Meadors and Gina Dial
“This garden is a testament to the Dial’s support of the University and for their love of the outdoors,” Chancellor Meadors said. “The garden will be a focal point of the University and one of the first things people see when they drive onto campus at the new entrance.”
Dr. Diane Jones, vice chancellor for Student Affairs, had a special reason to attend the unveiling.
“Mrs. Dial was my first grade teacher,” Dr. Jones said. “She was a very kind and generous person and that kindness helped shape the lives of a lot of children.”
Friends in attendance like Della Locklear, a 1975 UNCP graduate, admired the new garden and its location.
“This is a perpetual gift for all to see for all seasons,” Locklear said. “They are special people.”
Locklear’s husband the Rev. Bill James Locklear is the family’s former pastor at Prospect United Methodist Church. He talked about the couple.
“Jim Dial was the star, but it was Katherine who kept him shining,” Rev. Locklear said.
The Dial’s have four children: James H. (Jimmy) Dial Jr. of Huntersville, N.C.; Dennis Dial, a helicopter pilot stationed in Las Vegas, Nevada; and Gina Dial and Colette D. Locklear, both of Maxton, N.C.