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Friday, June 1, 2012

Former UNCP administrator Dr. Sylvester Wooten dies

Dr. Sylvester Wendell Wooten, 71, passed away on May 27, 2012.

Sylvester WootenDr. Wooten was born in Robeson County and graduated from Proctorville High School. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in education from Winston-Salem State University, a Master of Science degree in guidance at Virginia State College, and his Doctor of Philosophy in counselor education at the University of Virginia.

Dr. Wooten held a variety of positions at Winston-Salem State University, including assistant professor and director of the Counseling Center, Office of Student Affairs and Title III programs. In 1977, Dr. Wooten became director of Continuing Education and Summer School at UNC Pembroke. He served 25 years in Pembroke until his retirement in 2000.

Dr. Charles Jenkins, who served as provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs at UNCP, remembered Dr. Wooten.

“Dr. Wooten’s service and contributions to the university for nearly 24 years as director of Continuing Education and Summer School are remembered with much appreciation by the UNC Pembroke family,” Dr. Jenkins said. “In addition to the daily duties in this role, he was instrumental in assisting us with the development of several valuable distance education sites which have given UNCP a real presence throughout the region. Beyond his normal role, he was a valuable resource and role model for many students, including serving as the active advisor  of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.

“It was very obvious that Dr. Wooten had a great love and appreciation for his family,” he continued. “The UNCP family shares with his family in the loss of Dr. Wooten.”

Dr. Wooten also worked part-time at Robeson Community College and also served on the Board of Directors of the Housing Authority of the City of Lumberton.

An active member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity, Dr. Wooten was a member of the Beta Nu chapter at his passing. He was graduate advisor of the Mu Epsilon and Chi Mu Chapters of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

UNCP Trustee Newy Scruggs, who is a successful television journalist in Dallas, Texas, remembered his fraternity advisor and personal friend. Scruggs organized a scholarship as a tribute to Dr. Wooten.

“Dr. Wooten was a shining light on what is so good about the UNC Pembroke experience. I would not have become a graduate of the school or have accomplished my dreams without his guidance and consistent efforts to find me scholarships through our fraternity Omega Psi Phi.

“I can tell you that as the advisor for the Chi Mu chapter of Omega Psi Phi at UNCP, Dr. Wooten made a difference in my life and countless others. I was awarded scholarship money five different times and it was always with the backing and encouragement from him. I won the national leadership award from Omega Psi Phi in 1992, which was a first for our chapter. No organization was more responsible for helping me leave UNCP without any debt than the fraternity.

“Dr. Wooten gave his personal time, money and used his position on campus to help so many students advance at Pembroke. On October 6, 2007, I tried to repay Dr. Wooten for all of his tireless work with an endowed scholarship in his name. I’ve had some tremendous moments at Pembroke and let me say that was one of the best. We called him ‘Doc,’ and he almost teared up when he saw the check for $10,000 in his name. I’m proud to say the Dr. Sylvester Wooten Omega Psi Phi scholarship is endowed and will be awarded for the first time this fall. I’m sad he passed before the first student could receive this honor. 

“We spoke not long before he entered what we call ‘Omega Chapter,’ and it was a touching conversation I’ll take with me for a many years. I will miss Doc. I think I made him proud.”

Kelly Lampkin, a 1990 UNCP graduate, also remember Dr. Wooten as a trusted advisor.

“I met him when I first arrived on campus,” Lampkin said. “If you needed help, you went to see him. He was always available.

Dr. Wooten was one of those guys who you wanted to be like,” he said. “He helped me out. He’s going to be missed; he’s what good people are supposed to be like.”

Survivors include: wife, Eveland Jenkins Wooten; daughter, Candice Sylvette Wooten Brown; her husband, Ivey Brown, Jr.; and daughter, Shanita Wendette.

Memorials in honor of Dr. Wooten may be made to the Dr. Sylvester W. Wooten Omega Psi Phi Scholarship Fund using the following address: UNC Pembroke; Office for Advancement; P.O. Box 1510; Pembroke, N.C. 28372. For more information, please call 910.521.6252.

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