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UNCP honors its alumni at annual awards celebration


Dr. Jeff Collins ‘75, Dorothy Blue ‘55 and Ashley Berdeau ’08 were awarded UNC Pembroke’s most prestigious alumni honors during the 45th annual Alumni Awards and Hall of Fame Ceremony on October 31.

Two men and two women were inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame. Two soccer players, Sascha Goerres ’05 and Melanie Cobb ’07, softball player Nicole McCorkle Headdings ’06 and basketball player Joe Robisch were honored.

In welcoming guests, Chancellor Kyle R. Carter called it a “special evening to honor some very special people.”

“I continue to be impressed with the accomplishments of this entire university community,” Chancellor Carter said. “Their personal achievements and outstanding accomplishments have helped the entire university achieve a higher level of success. In this room are more reasons to take pride in UNCP.”

“Athletically, the university is shining,” he said. “Academically, UNCP students are performing better than ever. It’s a great time to be a Brave.”

On this night, honors went to individuals who exemplify the best of UNCP. Dr. Collins was part of the first wave of UNCP graduates to become healthcare professionals and return home to practice. Goerres and Robisch continue to be engaged in professional sports. Blue exemplifies the meaning of being an involved alumnae.


A native of the Prospect community, Dr. Jeff Collins was a chemistry major who graduated from Howard University’s College of Dentistry. He returned to Robeson County as a public health dentist and then opened a private practice in 1980 that now has six dentists, three of them his children: Benjamin ‘08, Jessica ‘02 and Tyler.

“Dr. Collins is a committed to serving this region,” said Wendy Lowery, vice chancellor for the Office of Advancement. “He is also committed to this university. Dr. Collins remained loyal to his roots.”

The Hydrotherapy Room in the Athletic Training Center is named for Collins-Lowry Dentistry. Dr. Collins is a lifetime member of the Chancellor’s Club, UNCP’s elite society of contributors. His wife, Sybil, was a member of UNCP’s Board of Trustees for eight years.

Dr. Jessica Collins Sampson accepted the award on her father’s behalf. Reading from his prepared acceptance speech, she read: “UNCP gave me a solid foundation for dental school,” Dr. Collins wrote. “It is a privilege to give back to the people who assisted me. It’s humbling to be honored by a university that I sincerely love.”


Dorothy Blue regularly attends university events at the Givens Performing Arts Center and football games, and she contributes to both. A 1955 graduate, she was a career teacher. Her late husband, Adolph, supervised building and grounds at the university, and her son, Randall, is a supervisor in Facilities Maintenance.

Blue’s connections to the university that run very, very deep. Her grandfather, Anderson Locklear, is the namesake of Locklear Hall. Recently, she served on the university’s 125th Anniversary Celebration Committee.

With her family, she established the Dorothy L. and Adolph Blue Endowed Scholarship. She was instrumental in initiating three other scholarships at UNCP: the Pembroke Business and Professional Women’s Club, the Class of 1955 fund and the Robeson County Retired School Personnel Scholarship.

“Dorothy Blue has developed a legacy as a faithful daughter of the university and is bound by ties of love,” Lowery said. “She is truly a loyal alumnae.”

Many of Blue’s large group of loyal friends came to celebrate with her, including family, high school and college classmates, fellow teachers and students. After introducing her friends, she said: “Tonight, I am very thankful, and I thank you all.”


Ashley Berdeau was described by one of her students as “one of the hardest working teachers at Fairmont High School. It didn’t matter to her if you the best artist, but how hard you worked. I was lucky to sit in her classroom.”

Established in 2010, the Young Alumnus Award is relatively new to the awards ceremony, Lowery said. “I believe it is important to recognized our young professionals, and I’m pleased that we have this award.”

“Ashley, who is from St. Pauls, was an outstanding student at UNCP,” Lowery continued. “She was a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma Sorority and worked part time as she earned her K-12 teaching certification. She brought a lot to this university, and she is one of the people who make this a special place.”

Berdeau said UNCP is special to her for many reasons. “This is where I met my husband,” she said. “I would like to thank everyone at the university for helping me be successful.”


Athletic Director Dick Christy introduced the four newest member of the Hall of Fame. He said the Hall of Fame is a thriving institution and it received a record number of nominations this year. “These inductees are truly the cream of the crop,” Christy said.


A 2008 National Soccer Coaches Association All-American third team selection. Cobb made history as the squad advanced to the NCAA tournament for the first time and  the best record in the history of the program at 19-3-1 in her senior season. 

Cobb holds 12 UNCP records, including the single-game mark for goals (4) and single-season records for goals (19), assists (10) and points (48). She holds the career record for goals (44), points (105), and game-winning goals (13).


Goerres, a 2004 NSCAA first team All-American and Academic All-American, anchored the 2003 and 2004 squads that made consecutive NCAA tournament appearances including a trip to the NCAA Final Four.

The Braves were 33-4-2 (.872) during Goerres’s tenure, including a 16-3-0 record in 2004 that resulted in Peach Belt Conference regular season and tournament championships.

Goerres currently holds the UNCP single-season assist record with 19 and the career assists record with 28. A two-time All-Region selection, two-time all-PBC selection, NSCAA Academic All-Region and 2004 PBC All-Tournament team selection, he is tied for second in the league for single-season assists and ranks ninth in career assists.

He turned professional and was drafted by the Richmond Kickers of the USL, where he continues to play very successfully.


A two-time all-conference selection, McCorkle Headdings led the Peach Belt in strikeouts in 2005 with 364 and holds the PBC single-season record in strikeouts with 159.

The team was 31-20 (.607) in her final season. In her junior campaign, McCorkle Headdings had a 17-10 record as batters averaged a mere.157 against her. She currently holds the UNCP single game record for strikeouts with 22.


An NAIA honorable mention All-American in the 1989-90 and 1990-91 seasons, Robisch helped the Braves to a 74-41 (.643) record from 1987-91. As a big, mobile shooting guard, the Fayetteville, N.C., native earned two NAIA All-District selections, back-to-back All-Carolinas Conference honors and led the 1989-90 squad to a Carolinas Conference Championship under the guidance of then-head coach and former Athletic Director Dan Kenney.

In his senior campaign, he helped the Braves register a program-best 27-5 (.844) record. Robisch currently ranks second all-time in UNCP history with 1,773 career points. He played professional basketball for 17 years in Germany and continues to coach there.

For more information about the Alumni Awards and Hall of Fame at UNCP, please contact the Office of Advancement at 910.521.6252 or email