retires from UNCP's grants office
it was time to retire, Gene Brayboy wanted to go out on top.
The director of
the Center for Sponsored Research and Programs
at UNC Pembroke did just that when he left his post on October 15.
in my heart that it will take a man or woman with a lot of energy to
keep this office moving in the right direction," said Brayboy.
"It is time for me to step aside."
Brayboy, 67, has
put his considerable energy into winning grants for 11 years. And the
numbers validate his successful career.
For the fiscal year
ending June 30, 2003, Brayboy's office helped UNCP take in $9.3 million
in grants. Grant receipts and grant applications have steadily increased
since Brayboy's arrival in 1992. That year, the University took in just
"This is a
faculty-driven enterprise, and I've had a good staff and a lot of support
from the top," Brayboy said. "Our office provides the faculty
with as much technical assistance and support as we can. We don't just
write grants. We look at markets to see where we can best put our limited
resources to good use."
In the current budget-cutting
environment, grants are increasingly important in higher education,
"If we want
to continue supporting growth, we've got to go out and get it ourselves,"
he said. "There is renewed interest for faculty to be engaged in
research and grant activities. The competition for grants is also increasing."
one of the projects he is working on will give UNCP a powerful competitive
edge in winning grants. He has worked for five years to have UNCP designated
by the U.S. Department of Education as a "minority serving"
institution for its historic and ongoing role educating Native Americans.
he said. "A bill has been introduced by Congressman Mike McIntyre,
and we're hopeful," he said. "If this happens, we could triple
our funding for sponsored research in a short time."
Brayboy is especially
satisfied with his office's role in the start-up of UNCP's Regional
Center for Economic, Community and Professional Development. The center
recently broke ground on a new 7,000 square foot headquarters at COMTECH,
an nearby technology and education incubator.
As a regional university,
Brayboy said UNCP and its grants office must support its communities.
"We are a community-based
organization, and in that role we brought in $2.3 million in outreach
grants last year for economic development, youth and health related
programs," he said. "I'd say that is remarkable for a higher
education institution like ours."
Remarkable is a
good description for Brayboy's life and career. He grew up on a farm
in the Philadelphus community near Pembroke.
"At that time,
it was either farm or teach," he said. "I knew nothing of
the outside world."
The ambitious young
Brayboy chose another path. After earning an undergraduate degree from
Shaw University and a Master's in Public Health from UNC Chapel Hill,
he got an opportunity to see the world.
Brayboy joined the
Navy's U.S. Public Health Service. Late in his military career when
he was stationed in Washington, D.C., he caught the eye of another Pembroke
native, Dr. Joseph B. Oxendine, then chancellor at UNCP.
Oxendine was familiar with my grant work, so he hand-picked me for this
role," he said. "I have had great support from both Chancellor
Oxendine and Chancellor (Allen C.) Meadors."
Brayboy vows to
stay busy in retirement with consulting work and other projects.
A member of the
National Association of Medical Minority Educators, he was recently
elected to its Board of Directors. There is an important local healthcare
issue he would like to address.
of the Lumbee Tribe testified before a Senate Committee on the issue
of recognition, they had no information available about the health disparities
of the tribe because there is no database available," Brayboy said.
"I would like to create data on the health of the Lumbees and other
tribes east of the Mississippi."
That ambitious retirement
project is typical of Brayboy. His colleagues say his leadership will
be difficult to replace.
"We will miss
him," said Lynda Parlett. "We would not be where we are without
him, and he has handed us a blueprint for the future of this office."
That blueprint should
keep UNCP grant receipts, research and programs on top - right where
Brayboy put them.
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