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Tuesday, February 8, 2005

UNCP celebrates Homecoming 2005

Athletic Hall of Fame inductee and 1963 UNC Pembroke graduate Ron Miller summed up the spirit of Homecoming 2005.

“I’ve heard you are having a little controversy over the Brave nickname, but in my mind, I will always be a Brave,” said Miller, a Brooklyn, N.Y., native who is one of North Carolina’s winningest high school basketball coaches. “I’m so grateful that you people opened up your doors and your hearts to me.”

Chris Adams from Newark, N. J., and Sanford, N.C., native Ivory Bouknight

Chris Adams from Newark, N. J., and Sanford, N.C., native Ivory Bouknight

Miller and fellow Hall of Fame inductee Frank Caradonna of New Jersey came to UNCP in the late 1950s and early 1960s in an effort to diversify the historically Native American campus. Miller, who had attended two military colleges and spent six weeks living in his car before enrolling at then-Pembroke State College, said “they gave us an education and turned out a lot of great coaches here.”

As a senior, Miller said he had a job interview but no gas money to get there.

“Where else but Pembroke could you go to the president of the school (Dr. English E. Jones) and borrow $5,” he said. “When I think about it, it blows my mind. I’m so proud of this place.”

Athletic Hall of Fame inductee Ron Miller (left) and former teammate Tim Brayboy who introduced him

Athletic Hall of Fame inductee Ron Miller (left) and former teammate Tim Brayboy who introduced him

After a stint playing professional baseball, Caradonna ‘61 also went on to become a coach and did not forget his alma mater. He sent several baseball recruits to the UNCP including his son.

Homecoming 2005 will be remembered for many things, but the Class of 1955 was a real class act. Members and family of the 50-year reunion class returned in overwhelming numbers, and they came bearing gifts.

“We had 22 members of the Class of ’55,” said class representative Dorothy Blue. “But only nine are living.”

Blue spearheaded a class gift that endowed a scholarship in the School of Education. The classed raised over $11,000, and checks were still coming in Saturday night.

“In the end, we got 22 checks,” Blue said. “This institution meant so much to us because the impact of a college education was so great back then.”

“This is a testament to our University,” she said. “This is a dream come true.”

Distinguished Service Award winner Milton Teague Jr. (left), Outstanding Service Award Winner Marcia Coble and Outstanding Alumnus Thomas J. Williams

Distinguished Service Award winner Milton Teague Jr. (left), Outstanding Service Award Winner Marcia Coble and Outstanding Alumnus Thomas J. Williams

The Braves split a basketball doubleheader Saturday with The University of North Florida. The women won 57-51 behind 31 points from Danielle Richardson and Lindsay Bartholf, and the men fell 85-68 to a strong North Florida squad that will be playing in the NCAA’s Division I next year.

At halftime of the men’s contest, Chris Adams, a junior from Newark, N. J., was named Homecoming King and Sanford, N.C., native Ivory Bouknight was crowned Homecoming Queen. Runners-up were Treco Jackson of Gastonia, N.C., Kelly Velez of New Jersey.

The Alumni Association named Thomas J. Williams ’75 its Outstanding Alumnus, Milton Teague Jr. ’86 its Distinguished Service Award winner and Marcia Coble ’82 recipient of the Outstanding Service Award.

A Massachusetts native, Williams is superintendent of Granville (N.C.) County Schools. He put in tobacco for $14 a day and sold TVs at S.E. Nichols Discount City in Lumberton to work his way through school.

“Everything at PSU was everything you could want in a school,” the veteran educator said. “The School of Education faculty had high expectations for me, and they were always there to support me.”

Dorothy Blue of the Class of 1955, presents a check for an endowed scholarship to Chancellor Meadors.

Dorothy Blue of the Class of 1955, presents a check for an endowed scholarship to Chancellor Meadors.

A Lumberton native and graduate of Wake Forest University, Teague was starting a second career in family counseling when he enrolled in a master’s program at UNCP. Since that time, his business soared from two employees to 325 today.

“Family Alternatives would not be where it is today without my training at UNCP and the many UNCP graduates who work with me,” Teague said. “I have been pulled forward by this historic University, and its graduates have pushed me to my dream.”

UNCP also propelled Coble to her dream of becoming a social worker. Since graduation, the Laurinburg resident has devoted herself to her profession and community service.

“I love this school,” Coble said. “It made my dream come true.”

“I was a mother with small children, but my dream was to be a social worker,” she said. “I thank the faculty here for inspiring me to never give up on my dream.”

Speaking at the 36th annual Alumni Awards Banquet Chancellor Allen C. Meadors welcomed guests with an announcement of yet another all-time enrollment record of 5,132.

“This is the first time in my five years that we have ever set an enrollment record in the spring semester,” Chancellor Meadors said. Chancellor Meadors welcomed retuning alumni from every decade dating back to the 1940s.

“I hope each of you feel like you time here was the greatest time of your life,” he said.

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