UNCP receives $25K for Julian T. Pierce Memorial Scholarship

Julian Pierce Memorial Initiative Committee members Devin Trego (far left) Kelvin Jacobs, Chancellor Robin Gary Cummings, Harvey Godwin Jr., Dr. Rebekah Lowry, Lisa Hunt and Eleni Garbrandt

The Julian T. Pierce Memorial Initiative Committee made a $25,000 contribution to UNC Pembroke during a check presentation ceremony at the former site of the N.C. Legal Aid Office in Pembroke on November 20.

Proceeds were raised at the annual Julian Pierce Memorial Art Dinner this summer and will benefit the scholarship named in his honor. Pierce, a UNCP alumnus, was an attorney and civil rights activist in Robeson County. In 1978, he became the founding director of Lumbee River Legal Services, where he helped low-income people gain access to health and legal services. He was instrumental in merging Robeson County's school system and helped build the Robeson County Health Care Corporation.

Pierce was a tireless advocate for education, equality and justice and more than three decades after his death, his legacy lives on through this scholarship. Funds support students like Magally Ortiz-Rojas, who has dreams of becoming an immigration attorney, to assist individuals navigating the path to naturalization. Other scholarship recipients at UNCP are Tristian Collins, Jose Vergara Garcia, Elizabeth Chavis and Gabriella Green.

In 1988, Pierce was murdered while running for election to the Superior Court. He was 42. He would have been the first American Indian to hold the Superior Court judge position in North Carolina. Pierce won the election posthumously by more than 2,000 votes.

Proceeds were also dispersed to Robeson Community College and North Carolina Central School of Law, where Pierce earned his law degree.

To learn more about the Pierce scholarship at UNCP, contact the Office of Advancement at 910.521.6252 or advancement@uncp.edu.