First Jim Thorpe Scholarship awarded at UNCP
By Scott Bigelow
From left: Dr. Robert Reising, Roleene Rhodes, Chris Miller,
Peter Varney, Mae Parker, Betsy Herron, Robert Herron and Martha
Historians believe that Native American sports legend Jim Thorpe hit
his first professional home run playing for a baseball team from Rocky
It was fitting that a group from Rocky Mount hit a home run for the
Jim Thorpe Endowed Scholarship at The University of North Carolina at
Twin County Community Pride, a non-profit group from Rocky Mount, made
a contribution that allowed the scholarship to make its first award.
Twin County Community Pride is a community service group that is currently
planning a historical museum and hall of fame, which will hold its first
induction ceremony this fall, said President Chris Miller.
"We are pleased to have a connection with UNCP, and we look forward
to learning more about the American Indian Studies program," Miller
American Indian Studies Professor Dr. Robert Reising is a Thorpe scholar
and originator of the scholarship honoring the sports hero. Dr. Reising
was a recent guest in Rocky Mount where he delivered several lectures
"This is a very special day for me," Dr. Reising said. "I
am delighted to stand before you today to say the Thorpe scholarship
has become a reality."
"Twin County Community Pride took the scholarship over the top,"
he said. "In 1909, Jim Thorpe played his first professional baseball
game for a Rocky Mount team, so it is appropriate that a Rocky Mount
community organization make the contribution that put it over the top."
With the gift, the Thorpe Scholarship became an endowed or perpetual
fund from which to make student awards.
UNCP student and American Indian Studies major
Betsy Herron of Wadesboro, N.C., was announced as the first recipient
of the scholarship. Herron and her husband Robert are co-pastors for
three Methodist churches near Wadesboro.
"This scholarship means so much to me," Herron said. "UNCP
is a great place to study, and American Indian Studies is an exceptional
"This scholarship will make it possible for more people to learn
the wisdom of Native America," Herron said.
Herron, who ministers to the Bethel, New Hope and Long Pine churches,
said she has been fascinated by Native religion for many years, and
she expects to graduate in 2005.
For more information about the Jim Thorpe Endowed Scholarship or other
giving programs at UNCP, please contact the Office of Advancement
at 910.521.6252 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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