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Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Donors, students meet at scholarship banquet

At the Scholarship Recognition Dinner on November 9, some of the University’s greatest philanthropists met for the first time with the beneficiaries of their generosity.

Students Vitha Nemeroff (left) and Shaquana Boggan

Students Vitha Nemeroff (left) and Shaquana Boggan

While she waited for the benefactors of her scholarship to arrive, Vitha Nemeroff, an education major from Elizabethtown, N.C., and recipient of the Charles and Betty Bridger Endowed Scholarship, shared her thoughts.

“First, I will say ‘thank you,’” Nemeroff said. “You want your donors to know that you are doing well with their generosity. I was doing pretty good before, but this has made me get even better grades.”

As she waited, Shaquana Boggan, a biology major from Monroe, N.C., and recipient of the Cliff and Becky Bullard Scholarship, contemplated the nature of philanthropy.

“What kind of person gives money for a scholarship?” Boggan said. “A real kind person who wants to help people who need it. I needed it.”

Candice Gooch, from Creedmore, N.C., and recipient of the John Green Memorial Scholarship, said her scholarship made the difference in her scholarly quest to earn a doctorate in English.

Candice Gooch, schloarship recipient

Candice Gooch, schloarship recipient

“I don’t know who Paul Green was, but I hope to find out,” Gooch said. “It’s been rough financially for me, and I’ve worked at some pretty tough jobs to make ends meet.”

“Because of this scholarship, I’ve been able to concentrate on my studies,” she said. “I greatly appreciate it; I’ve earned it too. I have a 3.8 GPA.”

More than 175 attended the banquet in the James B. Chavis University Center. For donors, it was gratifying to meet with students who have benefited from their gifts.

Tim Brayboy, a 1964 UNCP graduate who represented the Tecumseh and Eva Brayboy Memorial Scholarship, said he hears from his family’s scholarship recipient at least once a year.

“Sandy Jacobs, a baseball player, has had the scholarship all three years,” said Brayboy, who along with brothers Ray ’68 and Tecumseh ’58 all played baseball at UNCP. “He’s a great kid. He sends us a letter every year, and I know his people; he’s from good people.”

Wanda Sayer, a business banker for BB&T in Lumberton, N.C., met with a pair of recipients of the bank’s Finance and Banking Endowed Scholarship.

“I think it is a good idea to meet with them,” Sayer said. “We’ve been talking about finance and other things we do in banking.”

Martha Beach, philanthropist

Martha Beach, philanthropist

Martha Humphrey Beach, without a doubt, the dean of philanthropy at UNCP, was a keynote speaker at the banquet. A 1962 graduate, Beach funded an endowed faculty chair in the Art Department and the Martin H. Beach Endowed Scholarship.

The Fairmont, N.C., native encouraged others to “give till it feels good.”

As a student at UNCP, Beach’s family lived on her husband’s $53 a month disability check. She learned the value of a scholarship.

Later, when her new home burned, she learned the value of generosity from neighbors who came to her aid. As a social worker, she learned the value of hope.

“The children I worked with at the welfare department did not have the hope or the dream to go anywhere or do anything,” she said. “They were poor, but they taught me the importance of dreams and ambitions.”

“I want to be a part of giving hope,” she said.

Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Dr. Roger Brown welcomed the guests.

“What better time than a beautiful fall evening to honor our outstanding students and our friends who have made this possible,” Dr. Brown said. “Our purpose tonight is to honor scholarship and to recognize each donor for the important part they play in the life of this institution.”

Thirty donors representing 75 scholarships attended the first Scholarship Recognition Dinner, said Vice Chancellor for Advancement Sandra Waterkotte.

“Until tonight, your college education has been underwritten by the generosity of strangers,” Waterkotte said to the students. “After tonight, they are no longer strangers.”

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