In a special meeting, the Executive Committee of the UNC Pembroke Board of Trustees voted unanimously Thursday morning to name the University Honors College (UHC) for the late Esther Graham Maynor.
Maynor, who lived in Mount Airy, N.C., and died October 4, 2005, contributed approximately $1.2 million to UNCP from her estate, Chancellor Allen C. Meadors told the committee.
“She left no directions for us in her Will (concerning how she would be honored), but we believe this is an appropriate thing to do,” he said. “This is by far the largest gift we have seen.”
Trustee Dick Taylor agreed, calling it, “very appropriate.” Chancellor Meadors said the University would hold a formal ceremony to honor Maynor in the fall.
The money will be placed into a perpetual endowment fund, entitled the Esther G. Maynor Scholarship. It will benefit students at the University Honors College.
Established in 2000 by Chancellor Meadors, the University Honors College seeks to attract outstanding students to UNCP and the scholarship will help the program, said UHC Dean Jesse Peters.
“This is wonderful news for the college,” Dr. Peters said. “This gift will change the lives of many of our students and provide opportunities for them that were out of reach.”
The endowment will help a growing college, Dr. Peters said.
“We’re projecting an enrollment of 94 students, which would be our largest ever,” he said. “We had 72 honors students last year.”
Born and raised in Robeson County, Maynor was the daughter of Duncan and Dovie Lowry Graham. She married Therod “Horse” Maynor.
During World War II, Therod Maynor became friends with Floyd Pike. They became business partners in Pike Electric of Mount Airy, one of the largest electrical contractors in the southeast.
In 1946, Floyd Pike invited Therod to become a key part of Pike Electric of Mount Airy. Today, Pike Electric is the largest electrical contractor in the southeast.
Therod Maynor died in 1967, and Esther lived her remaining years in Mount Airy. Maynor’s Will instructed University trustees to use her money for scholarships with consideration for students with financial need.