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Dr. Linda Oxendine eases toward retirementBy Margaret Damghani
After 17 years as Chair of the Department of American Indian Studies, Dr. Linda E. Oxendine will retire July 1. “She’s been most instrumental in guiding and developing the American Indian Studies Program,” said Dr. Thomas J. Leach, dean of the college of arts and sciences.
When Oxendine took the job in 1989 she remembers about three or four students majoring in the AIS program. Now there are almost 20. “The student body is a lot more diverse.
UNCP is one of the only two universities east of the Mississippi to offer a bachelor’s degree in American Indian Studies.
“I wanted to establish the department, to make it a permanent presence on campus,” Oxendine said. “I wanted to ensure academic integrity and I think we’ve done that.”
“Her qualities, credentials and commitment help to account for the outstanding record she has,” Leach said. “It will be very difficult to find someone to take over these responsibilities.”
Oxendine will remain a part of the school and community, taking a phased retirement and considering opening an American Indian bookstore in Pembroke.
A phased retirement allows her to teach two courses a semester for the next three years.
“What this retirement will do will free up my mind to think about other things,” Oxendine said. “I thought it was time. It’s time for new ideas and fresh energy.”
Besides being Department Chair of AIS, Oxendine was the Director and Curator of the Native American Resource Center from 1982 to 1986. She has written numerous articles and books about a variety of topics that touch American Indian and Lumbee languages and history.
According to Leach, Oxendine is “connected to the community and heritage of this institution.” Oxendine’s father, the man the Herbert G. Oxendine Science Building is named for, served as Head of Education Department and Dean of the Faculty at UNCP.
Her uncle, Adolph L. Dial, supplied the name for the Adolph Dial Humanities Building and started the American Indian Studies Department at UNCP. Her great-grandfather W.L. Moore was one of the founders of UNCP.