UNCP honors Jim
Thorpe at scholarship banquet
By Sheri Sides
(left) with Dr. Robert Reising
UNC Pembroke paid
tribute to Native American athlete Jim Thorpe with a banquet and scholarship
fundraiser March 28.
Thorpe was an accomplished
athlete in baseball, track, and football and named the greatest athlete
in the world by King Gustav of Sweden. In 1912, he became the only Olympian
ever to win both the pentathlon and decathlon.
Thorpe was stripped
of his medals by the International Olympic Committee after it was learned
that he had played semi-pro baseball in North Carolina. The medals were
reinstated after his death, which was exactly 50 years ago on March
"I would like
to commend the state of North Carolina for making today Jim Thorpe Honor
day," said UNCP English professor and Thorpe scholar, Dr. Robert
Reising said. "Thorpe's unsurpassed sports achievements have been
a source of inspiration to young people."
Allan C. Meadors was on hand to honor the legend.
"It is wonderful
to come together and honor a person who transcends time," Chancellor
Meadors said. "We are proud to have a scholarship in his name on
The banquet and
silent auction, which was organized by Dr. Reising, raised over $5,000
for a Jim Thorpe Endowed Scholarship at UNCP for a student interested
in American Indian Studies.
Guest of honor at
the banquet and silent auction was Jack Thorpe, Jim's son. He recalled
the natural determination his dad possessed.
"I can remember
dad trying to teaching me how to run, and I kept saying 'I can't,' and
my dad snatched me up and said, 'There is no such thing as can't and
I never want to hear you use that word again,'" Thorpe said.
Being the son of
Jim Thorpe has made Jack who he is today.
"I don't think
I've ever been able to accomplish anything without my father and the
examples he set," Thorpe said.
Thorpe is from the
Sac and Fox Indian tribe and gave his support to the Lumbee tribe and
other Native Americans to continue progressing.
"We as Indian
people can now control our own destiny through education and making
our own governments," Thorpe said. "The key is leadership,
being able to put your people's needs ahead of your personal needs."
The Thorpe Scholarship
endowment is nearing $20,000 after the dinner and The Robesonian newspaper
of Lumberton hosted a benefit golf tournament in early March.
Sheri Sides is
a junior Mass Communications major.
to University Newswire