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Friday, November 2, 2007

UNCP fraternity honors Dr. Sylvester Wooten

An advisor, mentor and friend was honored during Homecoming 2007 at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

Wooten Scholarship established – From left Omega Psi Phi members Artis Hill, Bernard Griffin, Newy Scruggs and Ken Spencer, Dr. Sylvester Wooten, Candice, Eveland and Shanita Wooten

Wooten Scholarship established – From left Omega Psi Phi members Artis Hill, Bernard Griffin, Newy Scruggs and Ken Spencer, Dr. Sylvester Wooten, Candice, Eveland and Shanita Wooten

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Dr. Sylvester Wooten, a retired University admin- istrator, was honored by members of Omega Psi Phi fraternity on October 6 with an endowed scholarship.

“Dr. Wooten impacted so many lives, and this scholarship will impact many more lives,” said Newy Scruggs, a fraternity member and 1994 UNCP graduate. “We will always remember him.”

The Omega Psi Phi/Dr. Sylvester Wooten Endowed Scholarship was launched on October 6 with a $10,000 gift from its members. On hand for the announcement were Ken Spencer ‘91, Bernard Griffin ’89 and Artis Hill ’92 along with members of Dr. Wooten’s family including daughters, Candice and Shanita, and wife, Eveland.

The scholarship came as a surprise to Dr. Wooten, a 30-year administrator in higher education who was director of UNCP’s Office of Continuing Education for more than 20 years.

“I couldn’t find a better group of young men to work with,” Dr. Wooten said. “I’m very proud of them. Thank you for this honor.”

Fraternity members presented Dr. Wooten with a carved wooden medallion of the fraternity symbol. Dr. Wooten put it on, saying “I have not worn this in 40 years.” He was an Omega at Winston-Salem State University.

Newy Scruggs

Newy Scruggs

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The fraternity, which is no longer active at UNCP, was founded in 1911 at Howard University and has a long and distinguished history. Dr. Wooten was an administrator and professor at Winston Salem State for five years before being named director of Continuing Education at UNCP in 1977.

A native of Proctorville, N.C., in Robeson County, Dr. Wooten earned a Bachelor of Science degree in education from Winston-Salem State, a Master of Science in guidance from Virginia State College and a doctorate in counselor education from the University of Virginia.

“This is a true, lasting legacy that will help students and their families,” said Wendell Staton, associate vice chancellor for major gifts with the Office for Advancement. “This is a great group of guys, and there is no greater way to honor someone.”

For Newy Scruggs, it was the second scholarship the sports broadcaster has established at his alma mater. The Newy Scruggs Sports Broadcasting Endowed Scholarship benefited its first student this fall, Scruggs said.

Before the presentation, Scruggs taped a 30-minute “UNCP Conversations” program in UNCP’s WNCP-TV studios. Scruggs is sports anchor for NBC-5 in Dallas, Texas. He also works for ESPN Radio and writes a weekly newspaper column for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

In the interview, he spoke further about the scholarship and Dr. Wooten.

“There are a lot of good people at UNCP, and Dr. Wooten was one of them as our advisor,” Scruggs said. “He always looked out for us and helped us get scholarships and part-time jobs.

“There are a lot of positives with Dr. Wooten,” he continued. “At UNCP, I have so many great memories. It’s so much fun to be back for football and Homecoming.”

As an undergraduate mass communications major, Scruggs worked as the weekend sports anchor for WBTW-13 at nearby Florence, S.C. Scruggs worked for WECT in Wilmington, N.C., WRAL in Raleigh, N.C., WEWS in Cleveland, Ohio, and KCOP in Los Angeles, Calif., before landing at KXAS in the Dallas-Ft. Worth market.

“We have a tremendous broadcasting program at UNCP, and if you like sports, you can come here and make it,” he said. “I came here because the broadcasting program gives hands-on experience.”

Scruggs said he owes a great deal to his University.

“Great schools are great because people keep putting money back into them,” he said. “When I interviewed for a scholarship here years ago, I said I would reward them for helping me. That’s why I’m here today.”

For more information about giving at UNCP, please contact the Office for Advancement at 910.521.6252 or email advancement@uncp.edu.

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