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University Center celebrates 25 years

By Brandon Wiggins
Staff Writer

November 8, 2012

Students and staff of UNCP came out to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the James B. Chavis University Center.

The celebration took place during Homecoming week at 3 p.m. on Oct. 25 in the University Center Lounge.

The celebration featured welcoming words from Chancellor Kyle R. Carter, as well as comments from SGA President Robert Nunnery and entertainment by Miss UNCP Jocelyn Hunt.

The celebration lasted for more than an hour, while guests were served light refreshments.

Students and other guests also stood in line to help make their own spin t-shirts and receive a caricature portrait along with free UNCP tote bags.

The celebration not only commemorated the history of James B. Chavis University Center but also acknowledged the original staff.

Among the original staff recognized were Darlene Cummings, former student activities secretary; William Campbell Lewis, former SGA president; Cynthia Oxendine, senior director University Center and Programs; and Dr. Lisa Schaeffer, interim vice chancellor for student affairs.

The University Center was dedicated to the late former Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Dr. James B. Chavis.

Dr. Chavis, who was instrumental in developing the University Center, first thought of the idea in the 1970s, according to Dr. Schaeffer.

"Dr. James B. Chavis saw a great facility at UNC Asheville in 1975 and started thinking we want something like that at PSU and met with former Chancellor English E. Jones about the project," she said.

The extensive planning and building of the $5.5 million, 66,068 square-foot University Center took approximately a decade before ground was broken in August of 1985.

"They began working with the legislature and former Lt. Gov. Jimmy Green, who was really instrumental in making this happen," Dr. Schaeffer said.

The two-story building was finished in 1987 with its well-known pyramid skylights, dining facilities including Bert's, the lounge, mailroom, offices, game room and bowling alley.

After 25 years, James B. Chavis University Center has been heavily modified, including two renovations to the cafeteria area along with the addition of a central computer lab, which was once the mailroom.

Dr. James B. Chavis retired from UNCP in April 1999 after being a University administrator for over 30 years.

Dr. Chavis passed away almost 11 years after his retirement and still carries a legacy that will forever live on at UNCP.

His portrait and a commemorative plaque hang above the fireplace in the UC lounge.

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