The future multi-million dollar home of the School of Business at UNC Pembroke is part of the university’s vision to serve as an economic engine for southeast North Carolina.
UNCP trustee Don Metzger and his wife, Linda, share that vision.
One they say will play a major role in the economic transformation of our county and the region.
The Metzgers are contributing $150,000 to the School of Business. As part of the gift agreement, an administrative suite in the future building will be named in the Lumberton couple’s honor.
“Linda and I have both been blessed and over the years we have tried to share the gifts that we have received with others,” said Don Metzger, a retired business owner and former Lumberton city councilman.
“We have a passion for higher education and we wanted to do something for the new business school because I believe it will have a dramatic impact on the future of the institution and the community as a whole.
“We consider it to be a privilege to be a part of the vision being shaped by this administration, the chancellor, as well as the Board of Trustees,” he said.
The university plans to construct a $36 million state-of-the-art facility. Located on Prospect Road near the main entrance of campus, the building will include a career center, auditorium, a video conference room, computer lab, trading room, and a multi-media resource room.
“This incredibly generous gift is the latest demonstration of Don and Linda’s unwavering commitment to UNC Pembroke,” said UNCP Chancellor Robin Gary Cummings.
“We would be hard pressed to find stronger champions of the university’s mission. Their investment demonstrates a passion to help others, to see our region grow, and to assist in the education of untold business students for generations to come.”
UNCP received $23 million from the Connect NC Bond, which was approved by voters in 2016. Since then, the university has received major contributions from organizations and other supporters. Including the Metzgers’ gift, the campaign total is currently just under $31 million.
Glavé & Holmes Architecture and SFL+a Architects have been selected as the designers of the building and MetCon Construction has been selected as the construction manager at risk. Initial design meetings have been held over the last couple of months and the process is nearing completion of the advanced planning phase.
The Metzgers have been strong advocates of UNCP for many years. Trustee Metzger has served on the Board of Trustees since 2013 and is presently the vice chair.
The couple are loyal supporters of UNCP athletics and the Given Performing Arts Center. Two of their granddaughters – Lauren and Molly – are UNCP alumni.
Linda, a successful long-time real estate broker and former Robeson Community College trustee, said she has watched the university grow since moving to Lumberton in 1971.
“I’ve had the opportunity to work with and know a lot of the people there, as well as graduates of the university,” she said. “I’ve seen how UNCP has enhanced their lives.
“This county has been good to us and we would like to give back and make a difference in the lives of others.”
Barry O’Brien, dean of the School of Business, praised the Metzgers for their continuous support.
“Having previously endowed a scholarship for business students, they continue to demonstrate their commitment to the success of our students in the School of Business through this contribution,” he said.
“For over 30 years, the Metzgers have positively impacted life in our region in numerous ways. As always, I am humbled by their philanthropy and friendship.”
A native of Kansas City, Mo., Don Metzger worked as an engineer for several Ohio companies before starting his own consulting engineering company.
In 1974 he started an industrial construction company, Progressive Building Methods, Inc. He sold both companies and moved to Lumberton in 1980, and along with a partner, bought F.R. Bray Construction Company, which has since been renamed Construction Systems, Inc. He sold the business in 2000.
The Metzgers have dedicated many years of service to the local community and their church. Don Metzger has been involved with several civic organizations for more than 30 years, including the Lumberton Area Chamber of Commerce, Committee of 100, Board of Trustees and Foundation Board of Robeson Community College, Communities in Schools and Partnership for Children.
He is also former chair of the state Board of Directors for United Methodist Retirement Homes. Linda Metzger has served on the Boy Scouts of American Cape Fear Council executive board for 25 years. She currently serves on Foundation Board of Robeson Community College.
Chancellor Cummings added, “This is the kind of personal involvement in our community and financial support demonstrated by Don and Linda that will allow our university to achieve its full potential to impact Robeson County and southeastern North Carolina.”
The new facility will attract a larger student body and has the potential to transform the campus, Don Metzger said.
“By having the increased technological facilities, including the trading floor and the expanded ability to provide up-to-date amenities that allow students to take advantage of today’s technology, the new business school will not only enhance the reputation of the university but it will help the university grow.
“My wife and I are extremely pleased to have the opportunity to be involved in making this a reality.
“We truly believe in the mission and the purpose of the university and we want to continue to do whatever we can to support it.”