North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley signed a bill July 5, 2005 declaring The University of North Carolina at Pembroke as North Carolina’s historic American Indian serving institution.
House Bill 371’s primary sponsor Rep. Ron Sutton of Pembroke said this week the bill is important to the future of the University. It is a “positive,” he said.
“It gives the University recognition as an institution that has historically served American Indians,” Rep. Sutton said. “I believe this will help in recruiting regionally and nationally.”
“UNCP will be included in the screening process for equity among the state’s universities,” Rep. Sutton said. “We were included in this process, but there was never a stated reason.”
The UNC Board of Governors monitors North Carolina’s historically minority universities for equity in funding capital improvements and facilities.
Chancellor Allen C. Meadors thanked Rep. Sutton for his work on behalf of the University and the community.
“UNC Pembroke greatly values Representative Sutton’s and many others initiative and support,” Chancellor Meadors said. “This bill is yet another tribute to the founders and history of UNC Pembroke. The University is always pleased when we can find positive ways to recognize this proud heritage.”
UNCP’s American Indian enrollment was 1,019 during the 2005 spring semester, an all-time record.
Rep. Sutton was pleased with the ease with which the bill passed both the House and Senate.
“I had support from both parties, so I am very pleased,” he said. “It was basically unanimous.”
The bill was co-sponsored by local Reps. Garland Pierce and Doug Yongue, both of Scotland County, as well as a diverse group of other representatives, including Rep. Mickey Michaux of Durham, N.C., a long-time African American leader in the House.
The bill was filed February 23, was passed by the House on April 20 and the Senate on June 23. The bill landed on Gov. Easley’s desk during Lumbee Homecoming.
“This is a grand opportunity for Lumbees from all over the nation to hear the good news about our University,” Rep. Sutton said.