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Jocelyn Hunt crowned Inside as 60th Miss UNCP

By Dustin Porter
Managing Editor

February 9, 2012

Photo by Mindy Hubbard
Second runner-up Arlene Grady (left), Miss UNCP Jocelyn Hunt and first runner-up Saudia Horton receive their honors at the conclusion of the 2012 Miss UNCP ceremonies.
Jocelyn Hunt was crowned Miss UNCP on Feb. 2 in front of approximately 1,300 people.

Hunt is the 60th woman to wear the crown of Miss UNCP and will be going on to compete for the title of Miss North Carolina in June.

Saudia Horton finished as the first runner up and Arlene Grady was second runner up. Grady was also named Miss Congeniality.

Also competing in this year's pageant were Nivea Mitchell, Lauren Mock, Shanetta Monk and Stephanie Wall.

Hunt and Grady sang during the talent portion of the program, while Horton performed a dance/tap number

Hunt's platform is Act F.A.S.T. Stroke Prevention. Horton's platform was the prevention of childhood obesity and Grady's was Scoliosis awareness.

Hunt received a $1,000 scholarship and a $1,000 Miss North Carolina wardrobe allowance, courtesy of the Office of University Center and Programs; a Miss UNCP crown courtesy of Robert L. Canida II; a Miss UNCP crown box courtesy of Virgil Oxendine; free housing for the UNCP 2012-2013 academic year courtesy of UNCP Housing and Residence Life; a free meal plan for the 2012-2013 academic year courtesy of Sodexo Food Services; and a class ring certificate worth $375 courtesy of the UNCP Bookstore and Jostens.

Horton received a $500 scholarship courtesy of the Office of University Center and Programs and a Miss America Preliminary Trophy.

Grady received a $300 scholarship courtesy of the Office of University Center and Programs and a Miss America Preliminary Trophy.

For being Miss Congeniality, Grady received a gift certificate courtesy of Pretty~N~Bliss Boutique.

The rest of the contestants received a $100 scholarship courtesy of the Hawk's Nest Game Room and a Miss America Preliminary trophy courtesy of the Office of University Center and Programs.

The pageant raised over $12,000 in total scholarship money.

Chancellor Kyle R. Carter said the pageant was a "wonderful" performance, and the title of Miss UNCP positively impacts the lives of all winners as they move forward.

Current Miss North Carolina Hailey Best and Michelle Braxton served as the mistresses of ceremonies for the event.

The Miss UNCP 2011 court - including Miss UNCP 2011 Chasity Chavis, Miss UNCP Outstanding Teen Alexis Jones, Miss UNCP Carolina Princess Drew Chavis and Miss UNCP OT Carolina Princess Alexia Lowry - were all in attendance as well.

Mitchell's talent was interpretive language, Mock performed an expressive reading, Monk sang, and Wall presented a jazz routine.

Breast cancer awareness was Mitchell's platform, while Mock supported the prevention of child abuse, Monk's platform was autism, and Wall supported the Robbie Page Memorial Foundation.

60 years of Miss UNCP

Photo by Dustin Porter
2012 Miss UNCP Jocelyn Hunt shows off her evening gown to the crowd.
The 60th edition of the pageant also featured appearances by former Miss Pembroke State College, Miss Pembroke State University and Miss UNCP winners.

The Miss UNCP pageant has come a long way from the Miss Pembroke State College competition, including moving from an old, non-air conditioned gym to the air conditioned Givens Performing Arts Center.

Miss Pembroke State College 1966 Karen Jenkins said during her time, "Homecoming queen and Miss PSC were one in the same."

Now the winner of Miss UNCP goes on to compete for the crown of Miss North Carolina, a tradition that started in 1989.

Dr. Schaeffer went on to say that UNCP has grown under Dr. Jones' leadership and has added new programs, departments and staff under her guidance.

In particular, Dr. Jones oversees the offices of Police and Public Safety; Student Health; Student Conduct; Housing and Residence Life; the Career Center; the Counseling and Testing Center; Student Involvement and Leadership; Civic and Community Engagement; the Office of Multicultural and Minority Affairs; Intramurals and the operation of the James B. Chavis University Center.

The Student Government Association and student publications the Aurochs literary magazine, the Indianhead yearbook, The Pine Needle student newspaper are all under Dr. Jones' watch as well.

Dr. Judith Curtis, asso- ciate professor in the Mass Communication Department and faulty adviser for The Pine Needle, had nothing but praise for Dr. Jones.

"Dr. Jones's steadfast support for The Pine Needle, and all our student publications, never wavered. She protected our independence, nurtured our growth and praised our accomplishments wholeheartedly," Dr. Curtis said.

Dr. Jones also oversees the Miss UNCP pageant, a program that has seen growth.


Dr. Jones has been the executive director of Miss UNCP (then Miss PSU) since 1989 and helped the pageant become one of the preliminaries for the Miss North Carolina pageant the same year.

The pageant crowned its 60th Miss UNCP on Feb. 2. "I have never viewed Miss UNCP as work because I have so much fun doing it," Dr. Jones said.

Dr. Jones continued saying Miss UNCP was like her "baby," and although she is sad to no longer be the executive director, she is confident in the Director for the University Center and Programs Cynthia Oxendine's ability to carry the "legacy" of Miss UNCP forward.

"Cynthia has been groomed for the job, and I know the pageant is in great hands," Dr. Jones said.

Dr. Jones has built a strong relationship with every Miss UNCP she has helped guide across the stage, but one woman in particular comes to mind.

"She (Dr. Jones) has been my role model and mentor as long as I have known her," said Renee Steele, current Director of Alumni Relations at UNCP and Miss PSU 1999.

Dr. Jones described her relationship with Steele as that of that of a mother and daughter.

"She told me she became the woman she is today because of what she learned through me," Dr. Jones said.

"It is because of those things that you really learn to appreciate your relationship with students," Dr. Jones said.

Steele said Dr. Jones' "grace, elegance and passion" fueled her to do her best at everything she did and helped her win Miss PSU.

"I've known her half my life, and her attitude towards students and her desire to see students succeed has remained constant," Steele said.

Dr. Jones said that the pageant has always been a fun part of her job, calling it a "highlight" of her year.

Peers' views

Throughout 34 years, Dr. Jones has built relationships with coworkers that have evolved into friendships.

Her continued passion for her job and students has been noted by her peers.

Dr. Charles R. Jenkins, has served as the University's provost and as a professor in the School of Education in addition to his stint as chancellor in 2009- 2010.

He has been at UNCP for over 40 years and has worked with Dr. Jones in various roles.

"I have the highest regard for her," Dr. Jenkins said, adding that he has valued her initiative to help students at UNCP through the years.

In his year as chancellor, Dr. Jenkins said that he had "upmost confidence" in Dr. Jones' ability to put students first, and that he was able to go to her as a friend and a colleague.

"All of us face retirement in our future, but, for me, Dr. Jones' retirement comes much too soon," Chancellor Kyle R. Carter said.

"She has become one of the most important members of my senior team, and I will sorely miss her competent leadership and management as well as her thoughtful counsel. Diane has served the university over three decades with style and grace," the chancellor continued.

"Her contributions to the university are many, but most will remember her leadership orientation characterized by loyalty, passion and sensitivity placing students at the center of all of her actions," Dr. Carter finished.

"A lesson I learned early in life was to surround yourself with good people," Dr. Jones said, adding that professionals she has worked with have turned into lasting friendships.

Dr. Jones' retirement surely does not end her involvement with the University.

She said that she will continue to visit campus for events at GPAC and dates like Pembroke Day.

"I am local and this (University) will always be a part of my life," she said.

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