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Dr. Chavis emphasizes helping students

By Kelly Mayo
News Editor

April 26, 2012

Dr. Ben Chavis speaks at the Friends of the Library benefit on April 13.
About 150 people enjoyed dinner, bid in a silent auction and listened to renowned educator Dr. Ben Chavis speak about the importance of helping students succeed at the Friends of the Library's annual benefit April 13.

Guests included members of the Office of Multi-cultural and Affairs, the UNCP Foundation, Southeast Community Services, the Elmer W. Hunt family and Lumbee Guaranty Bank.

Bids from the silent auction raised about $14,000, which will be used for library-sponsored scholarships.

'We believe in you'

Dr. Chavis told of his background as a sharecropper's son who was looking forward to merely finishing high school until his track-and-field coach lured him into the idea of going to college by saying "there's a lot of girls at the university."

Dr. Chavis graduated from Pima College and the University of Arizona, and taught at several colleges in California in the 1980s.

He founded a charter school in Oakland, Calif., and turned it from a low-performing school into one of the best in the country.

Dr. Chavis said that even though he had "all the things that I should not be successful," he achieved all that he has because of guid- ance from his teachers and support from his parents.

"I've been helped by so many people, and that's the story I want to share with you," he said.

Dr. Chavis also praised the students who won his endowed scholarship and the other FOL scholarships.

"When we give young people scholarships, we believe in you," he said.

'Something wonderful'

The benefit was Dean of Library Services Elinor Foster's last, as she will retire in June 2012. The Friends of the Library, for which she is executive secretary, bade her farewell with flowers and an engraved crystal bowl.

Dr. Chavis thanked Dr. Foster for inviting him to UNCP and praised her "quiet dignity and great resolve" in her work at the University, despite significant cuts to the library's budget in recent years.

"Dr. Foster has created something wonderful here," he said.

Other activities

Before Dr. Chavis spoke, guests perused the library's aisles and made bids on donated items in the benefit's silent auction.

Auctioned items included flower arrangements, gift baskets, local artwork and jewelry, an autographed Carolina Panthers football and a porcelain dishware set hand-painted by Chancellor Kyle Carter's wife, Sarah.

Dr. Anthony Curtis, a member of the FOL board, said that the 151 tickets sold for the benefit was the highest number ever.

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