Creates Distinguished Chair in Art
university recently completed agreements to establish the Martha Humphrey
Beach Chair of Art. The new position in the Art Department is expected
to be filled with an outstanding teacher and artist, University officials
said. It is the third distinguished professorship for UNCP. Pembroke
becomes the first of the 16 UNC campuses to receive matching funds for
a distinguished professorship under a special initiative from the C.D.
The $500,000 endowment
was launched by a contribution
from Fairmont resident and 1962 UNCP graduate, Mrs. Martha Beach. The
N.C. General Assembly contributed $167,000 through its Board of Governors
Distinguished Professors Endowment Trust Fund, and the Spangler Foundation
contributed $100,000. For Mrs. Beach, a noted philanthropist in North
Carolina, the UNCP Art Chair is her second contribution to a distinguished
professorship at a UNC campus. She endowed UNC-Chapel Hill with the
Berg-Beach Professorship in Community Social Work.
As a 40-year-old
housewife and mother of two school-aged children, Mrs. Beach enrolled
at Pembroke State College. After graduating with a teacher's certificate,
she earned a Master in Social Work degree from Chapel Hill in 1972.
Born in Proctorville in 1917, Mrs. Beach nurtured a lifetime habit of
helping people that led to a career in social work and counseling.
retired this fall, closing her Fayetteville office. "I have always
loved people and loved helping them," she said in a recent interview.
"I wanted to help them, not to do for them. My conception of social
work is that of a behavior modifier who enables people to help themselves."
education, Mrs. Beach reasons, helps people help themselves and others.
"The University has done so much for me and this county,"
Mrs. Beach said. "I don't think people appreciate it enough.I would
like to pass that idea on to other people so that they can do this too,"
she said. "My mother always said, After you're dead and gone,
all you've got is what you've given away.'"
Jr. is president emeritus of UNC and a Charlotte businessman. The Spangler
Foundation, through other initiatives, provided financial assistance
for one of UNCP's other chairs, The William C. Friday Distinguished
Professorship in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. With the funding
of the Martha Humphrey Beach Chair in Art, UNCP becomes the first of
the 16 UNC campuses to qualify for matching funds under a new Spangler
Foundation five-year program, which aims to create a total of 80 distinguished
professorships. "It makes me feel real good that Pembroke is the
first to meet the requirements for a matching grant," Mr. Spangler
said. "Pembroke was one of the first campuses I visited when I
became president of the UNC system. It always had a special place in
The quality of
higher education in North Carolina depends on a high quality faculty,
Mr. Spangler said in outlining the purpose of the Foundation's program.
and I realize how important it is to have distinguished professors on
our faculty," he said. "We want to do what we can to help,
so we are funding chairs on all 16 UNC campuses. A university can only
be a good as its faculty, and it is up to us, as individuals and as
a state, to maintain and enhance our faculty."
The Martha Humphrey
Beach Chair in Art will be filled by a newly recruited faculty member
for a five-year term with an option for a second five-year term. Then,
the professorship must be awarded to another newly recruited faculty
Joseph B. Oxendine praised Mrs. Beach for her gift and Mr. Spangler
for his support of UNC Pembroke. "I am thrilled by this very generous
gift from Mrs. Beach in support of our Art Department," Chancellor
Oxendine said. "Although art was not her major area of study or
her life's work, she has in many ways shown her great love for art on
this campus. The endowed chair will enable us to reach the next level
of excellence in that department."
Emeritus Spangler continues to contribute to this institution,"
he said. "I always felt that he had a special affection for UNC
Pembroke. In fact, we expect to cash in on his offer to support several
additional endowed chairs."
With the new chair
in art, UNCP will seek a professor to teach either art education, art
history or work in the studio, said Paul Van Zandt, chair of the Art
Department. With four full-time professors and two-part time instructors,
the new position will add substantially to the department's programs,
he said. "This chair will enhance our mission as well as the mission
of the institution as a whole," Mr. Van Zandt said. "We hope
to add a talented professor with abilities we don't already have in
the department. This should be someone who can do community outreach
in our region. Mrs. Beach's generosity has far-reaching potential for
us to improve our teaching ability and program development," he
Beach biography: A lifetime of helping others
"I was 40
with two children in school and sweeping dust off the front porch of
our house," Mrs. Martha Beach remembers of the morning she decided
to go to college.
was not well, I had a cracked tooth and had to hold the newspaper at
arms length to read it. I was whistling a tune that was stuck in my
head called Is That All There Is?'," she said. "A young
girl in the neighborhood came by and said she was going to school at
Pembroke. She said all you had to do was send your grades." "Well,
they couldn't find my grades at Orrum," Mrs. Beach said. "I
told them to keep shakin' that dust because I'm going to college."
That Mrs. Beach
is a progressive thinker may be an understatement. In 1958, few women
worked outside the home, in fact, it was frowned upon, she said.
"The merchants in downtown Fairmont bet on whether I would finish,"
she said. "I don't know if anyone won that bet. But I know I won."
She was able to
pay tuition from grocery money and car pool with neighbors who supported
one another through good times and bad. Mrs. Beach proved a capable
student at the college, but the thing she is most proud of was her election
as Miss Congeniality by her classmates. She graduated from Pembroke
State College in 1962 with a teacher's certificate and a thirst for
learning that would prove unquenchable.
Beach grew up in Proctorville in a well-to do farming and business family.
She remembers when the small south Robeson crossroads community had
a bank and stores. Family fortunes fluctuated during hard times as banks
closed and crop prices plummeted. A young Martha Humphrey never gave
college a thought as a Orrum High School student. She married and settled
into family life.
from college, Mrs. Beach, now the breadwinner of the family because
of her husband's failing health, got her first job teaching in Sampson
County. When an opening came up as a caseworker at the Robeson County
welfare office, she came home. As a counselor, Mrs. Beach found her
lifelong calling. "I believe social workers are born not educated,"
she said. "My conception of a social workers is a behavior modifier
who enables people to be successful .. not a check writer. I always
loved people and helping them, which should never be confused with doing
for them," she said.
She also found
helpful supervisors who encouraged her decision to enroll in the UNC
School of Social Work. As a graduate student in Chapel Hill, Mrs. Beach's
life took several turns as her husband died and her own health declined
for a period. But adversity was nothing new to the graduate who began
a career in child therapy at Cape Fear Valley Mental Health Center in
Fayetteville. Later, she would take a job at Womack Army Medical Center
that included a short stint in the emergency room as a crisis counselor.
Always there was
that "hunger for knowledge," as she describes it. Mrs. Beach
continued her education in conferences and workshops with some of the
most respected and innovative psychologists in the nation including
Masters and Johnson, Elizabeth Kubler Ross, William Glasser and M. Scott
Peck. She recently told a writer for UNC-Chapel Hill's alumni magazine
that she continues to use self-hypnosis and recommended it to patients
who suffer from common anxieties.
It is not surprising
that a woman who started her professional career late in life should
have a long and full career. Mrs. Beach closed her private practice
this fall, some 40 years after that fateful morning sweeping the porch.
Also, it should be no surprise that a woman who spent her professional
career helping people is one of North Carolina's celebrated philanthropists.
A distinguished professorship of community social work at UNC-Chapel
Hill bears her name. In a recent article for the Z. Smith Reynolds magazine
entitled, "The Impulse to Give," Mrs. Beach listed among her
favorite charities the Baptist Children's Home, Barium Spring Home for
Children, the Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity and her alma mater,
A former UNCP Alumni
Association president and Distinguished Alumnus, Mrs. Beach has never
forgotten her university. "I am so grateful for the help Pembroke
gave me," she said. "The University has done so much for the
county. I don't believe people appreciated it enough. When they were
considering changing the name of the University, they wrote this nice
letter asking how I felt about it," Mrs. Beach said. "I said
it doesn't matter what they call it, I'll love it just the same."
And love it she
has done in a rare and dignified manner by funding the Martha Humphrey
Beach Chair in Art. As a perpetual endowment and a fitting reminder
of Mrs. Beach's lifetime of helping others, the new chair will help
the community for a long time.
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