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Alumni come home, recall campus days

By Kelly Mayo
News Editor

March 29, 2012

Photo by Nick Phillips
UNCP's oldest living alumni, Tessie Hunt (left), class of 1942, Cattie
Mae Hunt, class of 1941 and Beulah Mae Ransom Cormier, classes
of 1939 and 1952, were on hand for the 125th Celebration as well
as many other alumni of the University.

The 125th anniversary celebration March 14 attracted current students who rejoiced in the university's major milestone.

It also drew former students who experienced other aspects of UNCP's history, including integration, tiny student populations and overcoming modest backgrounds to attend college.

After the celebration ended, alumni talked about their time at UNCP while waiting in line for punch and pieces of the largest cake in school history.

'A different world'

Lillian Locklear graduated with a degree in elementary education in 1949. She returned to UNCP a few years later for her licensure.

Locklear said UNCP is now "a different world" from what it was when she attended.

"Only Indians went, and when the veterans came back from World War II, they helped keep the school open," she said.

Locklear said that teachers lived on Faculty Row and most of the buildings were made of wood in the 1940s. She said that she was thankful to get the chance to go to UNCP.

"We were all farmers. I was the first in my family to go to college," she said.


Mary Alice Pinchbeck Teets graduated in 1958 with a degree in music education. She said that UNCP had about 200 students, including two other music students besides her, when she attended.

She said that growth in UNCP's size and academic choices have improved the school.

"We offer more study areas and a wider range... The things we offer now is a reflection of more growth and money," Teets said.

She said that her favorite thing about her time at UNCP was the "synergy" that students created and shared with each other.

"We didn't have this fancy stuff to entertain us. Everybody knew every- body, students and faculty," Teets said.


Rosa Revels Winfree, elementary education grad- uate of 1960, agreed with Teets' assessment of student life.

"You knew everyone on campus. There were 600 students at the most. It was fun," Winfree said.

Winfree was the only one in her family to attend UNCP. She said that when she attended, the gymnasium "was like a cracker box." She also praised the quality of food the cafeteria served back then.

"The food was wonderful. There were fresh vegetables...all kinds of local food," Winfree said.

Winfree also witnessed the integration of the university's student body during her attendance.

"I met a lot of different people from all over. There were quite a few students from the North," she said.

Winfree received an added bonus from attending UNCP: she met her husband, Frank. He came to UNCP on a basketball scholarship and washed dishes in the cafeteria.

Winfree said she loved her time at UNCP, and how it paid off for her later in life as a teacher.

"Chapel Hill graduates come to my classroom to learn how to teach reading," she said.

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Updated: Tuesday, April 10, 2012
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