Some talented new faces will surround UNC Pembroke's Chancellor Allen C. Meadors in the New Year.
A full-time university attorney and a new special assistant have been added to the Office of the Chancellor.
Elizabethtown native Donna Gooden Payne has been hired as the general legal counsel for the university.
Angela P. Weston, a 1995 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., will serve as special assistant to the chancellor. She replaces Beth Carmical, who has been appointed director of International Student Life and the new Multicultural Center.
A Morehead Scholar and graduate of The University of Texas School of Law, Ms. Payne has been in private practice since 1996 with Hester, Grady, Hester & Payne in Elizabethtown. As a student, she performed an internship with the Supreme Court of Texas and later practiced with a law firm in Austin, Texas.
Chancellor Allen C. Meadors said a full-time attorney on staff is a welcome addition.
"Given the volume and complexity of the legal affairs at a growing university, we are very pleased to have Donna Payne join our staff," Chancellor Meadors said. "She is an outstanding individual who has strong ties to our region and who brings a solid background in education law to UNC Pembroke."
Ms. Weston, a Maine native, left the military in 2000 at the rank of captain. She served in the Army as a military intelligence officer and held the positions of training officer, information manager and executive officer among other duties.
Ms. Weston will be responsible for the managerial and administrative functions of the Office of the Chancellor. Additionally, she will direct the office staff, serve as assistant secretary to the Board of Trustees and serve on various internal and external committees.
Chancellor Meadors said Ms. Weston's training and organizational skills would be an asset to the university.
"Angela has already made a positive impact on the operations of the office," Dr. Meadors said. "We expect a great deal from this talented individual."
With Hester, Grady, Hester & Payne, Ms. Payne participated in general practice of law and served as general counsel to the Bladen County Board of Education and to Bladen Community College, handling legal matters concerning contracts, employment, construction, real estate and civil litigation.
Ms. Payne explained that her enthusiasm about representing UNC Pembroke stems, in part, from her appreciation of the opportunities the university offers to students in the region.
"Just as one example," she said, "my mother received her undergraduate degree in education from UNCP, which lead to her career as a school guidance counselor. She received an excellent education at the university, and I know her life was genuinely improved because of the experience."
"My work as general counsel will be challenging, but also extremely interesting," Ms. Payne said. "I am very pleased to have the opportunity to work with Chancellor Meadors and the outstanding group of administrators, faculty and staff he has assembled at the university. It's gratifying to be part of an institution that is and will continue to be an important engine for positive change in Southeastern North Carolina."
Ms. Payne is a 1987 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She was a John Motley Morehead Scholar and graduated Phi Beta Kappa with highest honors. She is a member of the Morehead Scholar Regional Selection Committee.
Following graduation, she studied international economics at Maquarie University in Sydney, Australia, as a Rotary International Scholar.
She is the daughter of the late Stewart and Joyce Gooden of Elizabethtown and a graduate of East Bladen High School. Ms. Payne is married to Mark Payne, a private investigator.
A fellow of the Institute of Political Leadership at UNC Wilmington, Ms. Payne is president of the Elizabethtown-White Lake Chamber of Commerce and was named Member of the Year for 2000-2001.
She is also a member of the Elizabethtown Rotary Club and an Executive Committee member of the Cape Fear Region, Boy Scouts or America.
Ms. Weston graduated in the top 25 percent of her class at West Point with a Bachelor of Science degree in management. While serving her country, she led a 20-man detachment from Ft. Bragg to Bosnia in support of Operation Joint Endeavor.
Ms. Weston also earned her Master's of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix in 2000.
Ms. Weston said she is excited by her new responsibilities at a growing university.
"I am happy to be a part of the UNCP team and look forward to contributing to the growth of the university," she said. " There are several programs and projects we are currently working on that will benefit the student body and the community."
Ms. Weston is married to Captain Jeff Weston, a Special Forces officer currently attending language school at Ft. Bragg. They have one daughter, Sierra.