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Friday, September 10, 2010

Bill Mason, former vice chancellor, passes away

William S. “Bill” Mason Jr., who led the Office for Business Affairs at UNC Pembroke for 28 years, died on August 31, 2010. He was 82.

Bill MasonMason retired in 1991 as vice chancellor for the Office of Business Affairs. He served three chancellors and handled the financial affairs for a growing University.

At UNCP, Mason had a reputation as a good steward of the University’s and the state’s resources. In all, he served the State of North Carolina for 39 years.

Mason, who was elevated to the position of vice chancellor in 1978, took over the University’s finances in 1963 with an operating budget of $70,000. That number rose to $18 million by the time he retired.

At his retirement, Chancellor Emeritus Joseph B. Oxendine, Mason’s last chancellor at UNCP, called him an “efficient and loyal” servant of the University who “will be missed immensely.”

Retired Athletic Director Dr. Ray Pennington said both he and Mason joined the University during the same year and became long-time friends.

“Bill took over the financial office at a time the University was poised to grow,” Dr. Pennington said. “He completely restructured the office and installed professional standards.

“He was very dedicated to his work and the University,” he continued. “More important, he was a close friend, who was there when you needed him.”

Retired soccer coach Mike Schaeffer was also a great friend of Mason’s. They met through their wives, June Britt Mason and Lisa, who worked in the Office of Admissions.

“Bill was a great friend whose contributions to the University were huge,” Schaeffer said. “He worked closely with President English Jones when they convinced the state legislature to build the modern University.”

Schaeffer remembered a man with a love of life and a wide-ranging intellect, who loved to tell stories, travel, write poetry and collect memorabilia.

“Bill came here to consult with the University on a business plan,” Schaeffer said. “He wrote a job description for a business manager, and English Jones asked him to fill it. He wrote his own job description.

“We are losing a lot of history with Bill’s passing,” he concluded.

Mason retired with his wife, June, to their farm east of Lumberton, N.C. He enjoyed traveling and collecting tobacco tins and other memorabilia.

Mason was born on Aug. 15, 1928, in Conway, Ark., to the late William S. Mason Sr. and Helen Orvella Stell. He is survived by his wife, June Stone Mason of the home; two sons, William Staley Mason III of Denver, N.C., and James Howard Mason of Charlotte; and a daughter, Shannon Britt of Lumberton.

Memorials may be made to Southeastern Hospice House, 1100 Pine Run Drive, Lumberton, N.C., 28358, or Cedar Grove Baptist Church Building Fund, 3373 Seventh St. Road, Lumberton, N.C., 28358.

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