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Tuesday, April 5, 2005

Gift helps UNCP honor Founders Day

A new historical exhibit in Lumbee Hall was unveiled on Founders Day March 7 at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

Hunt and Hall

Donors Gene Hall, right, and Grady Hunt unveil a historical exhibit in the lobby of Lumbee Hall. Their gifts funded the project.

A glass case was unveiled that contains a replica of the state bill authorizing the establishment of the University along with photos and artifacts. It is housed in the lobby of the University’s administration building.

The exhibit honors the founding of UNCP on March 7, 1887 and the founding fathers – W. L. Moore, Preston Locklear, James Oxendine, James Dial, Sr., J. J. Oxendine, Isaac Brayboy and Olin Oxendine.

This gift and exhibit “support the original vision of the founders,” said Lumbee Indian historian Dr. Linda Oxendine, who chairs UNCP’s American Indian Studies program. “I am the great granddaughter of W.L. Moore, so it’s very personal to me.”

Dr. Oxendine said the University promoted literacy, economic development and affirmed the identity of the Lumbee.

“The University’s establishment led to an economic transformation that created a middle class among the Lumbee,” Dr. Oxendine said. “It got us out of the fields.”

But the University did more than by training teachers who trained successive generations.

“During the Celebration of the University’s centennial in 1987, Prospect (community) historian Carrie Dial, a descendant of W.L. Moore, and I estimated that his descendants had 900 years of teaching experience among them,” Dr. Oxendine said.

The historical exhibit was a gift from the Lumbee Hall Fund and charter donors Locklear, Jacobs, Hunt and Brooks law firm, Milton Gene Hall, Arlie Jacobs, Venus Jacobs and Mary Moore Moorehead. All have deep family ties to UNCP.

Grady Hunt spoke on behalf of the law partners, whose gift started the fund.

“I spent a lot of time out here on the baseball field with my grandfather, and I know he is smiling today,” Hunt said. “This is beautiful.”

The fund honors the history of the University, and it provides for its future. Proceeds from the fund support the Teaching Fellows Program.

Dr. Oxendine explained the historical link between the Lumbee Hall Fund and the early students of the University.

“The students who came here, like the North Carolina Teaching Fellows today, had to agree to teach in the public schools for several years,” she said.

For more information about the Lumbee Hall Fund, please contact the Office for Advancement at 910.521.6213 or go to www.uncp.edu/advancement/.

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