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UNCP honors its graduating veterans and active duty soldiers


“Brave in service; brave in heart,” said Aubrey Swett, director of UNC Pembroke’s Veteran Education and Transition Program, during the Student Service Recognition program on May 3.

On May 5, 23 veterans graduated from UNCP. Chancellor Kyle R. Carter gave them honor cords and university challenge coins. “We are proud of you and proud that we have been of service to the men and women of the U.S. military,” he said. “We take great pride in being a military-friendly school, and we hope to provide even better service to veterans and active duty soldiers in the future.”

Shaun Barefoot, a Pembroke native and president of UNCP’s Student Veterans of America chapter, asked the group’s members to help one another as they transition to home and civilian life. “We’ve done well; pay it forward.” Several in the audience were nodding in approval.

James Clark, a Hoke County native who is retired from the Navy, and three fellow graduates, earned Master of Social Work degrees. “I concentrated on mental health services, and I currently work for Palmer Prevention, a high-risk youth counseling program,” he said. “My goal is to work with veterans and soldiers with the Department of Defense.”

At UNCP and in the military, there is a focus on higher education. UNCP recently signed an agreement with Fayetteville Technical College that simplifies the process for military students who want to transfer into one of UNCP’s four-year degree programs. All of the degree programs in the agreement are delivered entirely online to accommodate members of the military who may have to relocate before their degree is complete.

Paul Brown did not need to be sold on higher education. He got home May 1 from his fourth deployment to Iraq-Afghanistan with the Army. The chief warrant officer graduated on May 5 with a degree in criminal justice.

“The first thing I did when I got home was call my advisor, Tiffany Dalmida,” he said. “I couldn’t have made it without her. My plan is to get a master’s degree and, when I retire, a law degree.”

Dalmida works in UNCP’s Fort Bragg office and assists soldiers as they enter college.

Chancellor Carter awarded honor cords to William Archevald, Paul Brown, Sheila Dunlap, David Grindle Jr., Jonathon Falk, Jenae Hebb, Christopher Miller, Luis Morales, Adam Metzler, Travis Mulford, Deborah Nelson, Alicia Marie Reid, Kevin Sabi, Bernice Stratton and Johnny Whitaker, all of whom have served in the U.S. Army. 

The chancellor also recognized with honor cords James Clark, Jimmy Godwin, Martin Nielsen and Beverly Vereen for their service in the Navy; Renae Eades, who has served in the National Guard; Rae Cox who has served in the Air Force; and Shaun Barefoot who is a Marine.

To learn more about UNCP’s Veterans Education and Transition Program, contact the program at 910.775.4438 or email