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Friday, August 29, 2008

Mazda Foundation continues scholarship program at UNCP

The Mazda Foundation (USA), Inc., has re-affirmed its financial support of students at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP).

On August 18, the automaker’s charitable arm announced the renewal of two four-year scholarships in UNCP’s School of Business. As part of the Mazda Foundation’s ongoing diversity initiative, these scholarships mark Mazda’s third four-year commitment to UNCP American Indian students and are valued at $50,000.

Ricky Usher, a graduate of Scotland High School in Scotland County, and Latoshua Oxendine, a graduate of Purnell Swett High School in Robeson County, were named the 2008-12 Mazda Scholars. Both will major in business.

Mazda Scholars – From left: Mazda Scholar Latoshua Oxendine, Lumberton Mazda owner Carolyn Gaskins, Mazda Scholar Ricky Usher and Lumberton Mazda General Manager Wayne Boyette meet to announce the scholarship

Mazda Scholars – From left: Mazda Scholar Latoshua Oxendine, Lumberton Mazda owner Carolyn Gaskins, Mazda Scholar Ricky Usher and Lumberton Mazda General Manager Wayne Boyette meet to announce the scholarship

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Usher will be the first person in his family to attend college and Oxendine has set her goal to become an accountant.

Barbara Nocera, director of government and public affairs for Mazda USA and program director for the Mazda Foundation, has welcomed all three groups of Mazda Scholars to UNCP. She offered words of advice for the recipients.

“Remember, we didn’t give these scholarships to you, you earned them,” the Mazda executive said. “This is an exciting time for you, and I encourage you to take advantage of all the wonderful opportunities at this excellent University. I will look forward to hearing about your progress,” Nocera said.

Mazda Scholars have proved outstanding students, said Cammie Hunt-Oxendine, acting dean of the School of Business.

“Each of our Mazda Scholars has graduated and is working in an outstanding career in their chosen profession,” Hunt-Oxendine said. “This has been a rewarding relationship with the Mazda Foundation, and we thank them for continuing to believe in our students.”

Lumberton Mazda officials – General Manager Wayne Boyette and owner Carolyn Gaskins - were on hand. Also attending the meeting was former dealer Rick Williamson, a Lumberton native who helped usher in the first scholarships eight years ago.

“It is so gratifying to see this scholarship continue,” Williamson said. “It enables kids to go to college who might not otherwise get the opportunity.

“It makes me feel good to be a part of this ongoing success story,” he said.

Chancellor Allen C. Meadors thanked the Mazda Foundation for its support of the local community and its young men and women.

“This is a great occasion, and we are truly, truly grateful to Mazda USA for eight years of support,” Chancellor Meadors said. “This is a valuable scholarship, and I know this year’s recipients will make us proud,” he continued. “Ricky and Latoshua are ready to make their mark, and I assure them that they will get a great education in our School of Business.”

Usher, who was accompanied by his parents, Ricky and Samantha, was a member of the National Honor Society and a member of the 2006 state championship baseball team at Scotland High School. The recipient of the Curtis Britt Award for Attitude, Character and Discipline, Usher worked two jobs this summer in preparation for college.

Oxendine was accompanied by her grandmother, Christine Jones, and her father, Bobby. At Purnell Swett High School, she was a member of the Native American Student Association and the American Indian Science and Engineering Society.

The Mazda Foundation is committed to giving back in the communities where it does business. In addition to its support of UNCP, other recipients of Mazda Foundation grants include Children’s Community School, Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research, Court Appointed Special Advocates of Orange County, Hispanic Scholarship Fund, The New Detroit Science Center, Reading is Fundamental, Second Harvest Food Bank, Shoes That Fit, Start the Adventure in Reading, Student Conservation Association and Youth For Understanding.

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

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