two new Mazda Scholars
By Scott Bigelow
new Mazda Scholars - From left: Annemarie Pender of the Mazda
Foundation, Ryan Regan, Mazda Scholar from Lumberton, Ryan Chavis,
Mazda Scholar from Pembroke and Barbara Nocera of the Mazda Foundation
The class of 2008
Mazda Scholars were introduced at a "Celebration of Achievement"
on April 23 at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
High School seniors,
Ryan Chavis of Purnell Swett High School and Ryan Regan of Lumberton
High School, will receive a total of $50,000 from the Mazda Foundation
to fund their education at UNCP.
Two graduating Mazda
Scholars were also honored at the event that was attended by representatives
from the Mazda Foundation and Williamson Mazda of Lumberton. Deanna
Bullard, who finished at the top of her class in the School of Business,
and Jessica Caulder represent the first class of Mazda Scholars.
The Mazda Foundation
funds the scholarship program for business majors at UNCP as part of
its efforts to aid minorities in its local communities, said Barbara
Nocera, director of Government and Public Affairs for Mazda's North
American Operations and program director for the Mazda Foundation.
believes that a company has a responsibility to give something back
to the communities in which it does business," Nocera said. "A
focus on youth and educational opportunities for minorities are common
threads that run through many of the programs funded by the foundation."
"A lot of credit
must go to Rick Williamson of the local Mazda dealership who steered
us to UNCP, and, like the good salesman that he is, sold us on this
project," she said.
and CEO of Williamson Mazda, said he heard about the foundation's work
in 2000 when he was president of the National Dealer Council. He has
been an automobile dealer in Lumberton for 32 years and 25 years as
a Mazda dealer.
"I got an opportunity
to talk with the foundation about their minority scholarship program,"
Williamson said. "I was tickled to death to get something like
this for my community. At that time, I believe it was the largest grant
from the Mazda Foundation."
is on the UNCP Foundation board of directors, said he was pleased to
see how well the first two Mazda Scholars performed in college.
"To their credit,
those girls did a great job," he said. "I like the idea that
we could help change lives for the better. It was a great night."
C. Meadors praised the graduating Mazda Scholars and thanked Mazda for
its continuing investment in UNCP and its students.
two Mazda Scholars will be walking across the stage in just a few days,"
Chancellor Meadors said. "They have done a wonderful job here."
"Rick and his
wife Beth Williamson are two of the finest people I know," he said.
"I appreciate their contributions, not only for what they do for
the University, but for the entire region."
A Maxton native,
Bullard will attend UNC-Chapel Hill's Master's of Public Health program
next fall. She thanked the Mazda Foundation for making her dreams come
"I have three sisters and all of us went to college, so Mazda relieved
a financial burden for my parents," Bullard said. "I would
like to thank UNCP too. The University has been my life for four years."
A Fairmont native,
Caulder wants to start a small business after graduation. She thanked
Mazda and said UNCP was an ideal place for her.
"The professors and staff of UNCP will do anything they can to
help students achieve their goals," Caulder said. "I would
also like to thank Mazda for investing in me."
The Office of Admissions
selected the new Mazda Scholars, said Jackie Clark, vice chancellor
for Enrollment Management.
two very fine candidates to carry on the tradition of our Mazda Scholars,"
Clark said. "Both of them worked during high school, both of them
are involved in their school and community and both are good students."
For more information
about the Mazda Scholars program or about scholarship programs at UNCP,
please call the Office for Advancement at
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