In its ninth year, the Scholarship Recognition Dinner at UNC Pembroke has become one of the most popular events of the year. Held on November 15, it set a new attendance record with more than 325.
“This is the annual event where donors meet the recipients of their scholarships,” said Wendy Lowery, vice chancellor of the Office of Advancement. “This is the return on investment, and these students are great investments, as we learn tonight. We’re so proud of these students.”
Having personally benefitted from a scholarship that made the difference in his undergraduate education, Chancellor Kyle R. Carter is big fan of this event.
“This fall, I’ve been saying that faculty and staff are ‘one team for student success,’” Chancellor Carter said. “I’m going to revise that to say faculty, staff and donors are ‘one team for student success.’”
“My wife Sarah and I have the opportunity to meeting with our students every day,” Dr. Carter continued. “It’s the part of the job brings us the greatest joy. I hope this event reinforces for our donors the joy their gift brings to our students.”
Do the students enjoy meeting their benefactors? Kristen Anderson, who organized the event, had an answer.
“The students really look forward to meeting the people who established their scholarship,” said Anderson, who is Director of Advancement services. “The support of donors provides more than financial assistance. It is a source of inspiration for our students. They are encouraged to know that someone whom they hadn’t yet met cares about their education. I hope the students see themselves in these benefactors at some future date.”
The event is staged in the University Center Annex and was the largest that Sodexo Food Services has ever catered at UNCP, said Sodexo catering director Janet Williams. “We may have to move the event to a larger location next year,” she said. “It’s a great success story.”
Michael Holmes, a 1972 graduate and a new member of UNCP’s Board of Trustees, attended his first Scholarship Recognition Dinner.
“I had no idea this event was so large,” said Holmes, who is a retired rear admiral. “There is a lot of energy in this room.”
Holmes and Dr. Dwight Pearson ‘77, also a trustee, remembered exactly how much tuition cost and their part-time jobs. “Tuition was $666,” Dr. Pearson said. “I worked my way through college at Red Springs Mills.”
The students also talked about working and school in an after dinner video presentation that was created by broadcasting major Carmella Martin.
“To be honest, the scholarship has really helped me out,” said LaShaude James, an accounting major. “Instead of working, I am engaged with the School of Business and volunteer on campus.”
“Because of the scholarships, I haven’t had to work,” said Ashlee Doughty, a business major in the entrepreneurship track. “I’ve got an internship, and I’ve been able to get the most out of my college experience.”
“As a senior and an education major, I’ll be doing my student teaching next semester, so I won’t be able to work,” said Victoria Newkirk.
Doughty received the Jackie P. Adams Endowed Scholarship and the Independent Insurance Agents of N.C. Endowed Scholarship; James received the Naomi and Cecil Conley Endowed Scholarship in Business; and Newkirk, the Dr. Thomas and Sheryl Ross Endowed Scholarship in Geography
There are 350 scholarships at UNCP, Chancellor Carter noted. Thanking the donors, he said “you’ve made a lasting impact on the lives of students forever.”
Student Government Association President Emily Ashley delivered the response for the students: “Speaking for students, we can’t say thanks enough or mean it enough. Right in front of us are the students who will be changing the world. To those of us who receive much, much is asked.”