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Musical theatre professor Travis Stockley
By Carol Franch
Travis L. Stockley, 50, assistant professor in the Department of Music and coordinator of the university's Musical Theatre degree, died Thursday Aug. 24 in a car accident.
Word spread quickly among students who then gathered in Moore Hall to grieve together. A counselor was available for faculty, staff and students.
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Diane O. Jones said students at the gathering have indicated that they want a memorial.
A campus memorial service is scheduled for Sept. 6 at 4:30 p.m. in the Givens Performing Arts Center (GPAC).
"I'm gonna make sure that he is remembered for his accomplishments. He wasn't just another professor at UNCP. His career was his life and he loved it here," said student Holly Hensley at the Thursday gathering.
"It's because of him that I am at this school. He was an amazing person," Hensley said.
"I'm real sad because he had so much knowledge; he was a genius," student Ashley Davis said.
"He was one of a kind; he was a master of his craft. He wasn't just your teacher but he was also a good friend," student and member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia PJ Gadja said, Stockley had been a member of the same fraternity.
Chancellor Allen C. Meadors told The Pine Needle it's a "terrible loss to the University community. We'll all miss him."
Dr. Janita K. Byars, music department chair, said, "What I would say about Mr. Stockley really isn't that different from what most other people would say.. and that actually describes him. He was consistently who he was- whether to a colleague or a student. Also he was totally devoted to this campus, this musical theatre program and these students. We were and are his family, and he was reciprocally, part of ours."
Students gathered Friday afternoon outside of Stockley's office. Dozens of people showed up in Moore Hall to plan for his memorial service.
"That spontaneous gathering was a tribute to his life and his work," Byars said.
Stockley came to UNCP from East Carolina University (ECU) in 2002 to start a program in musical theatre. UNCP now is the only college in North Carolina offering the Bachelor of Music in Musical Theatre.
Stockley earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Illinois Wesleyan and his Master of Fine Arts from Northwestern University.
At the beginning of this semester's classes, a student remembers Stockley started, "My name is Travis Stockley. I'm the director of the theatre program. Hold your applause."
Senior Staff Writer Kelly Griffith and Web Video Editor Jason Bullock contributed to this story. Photo by Jason Bullock.
Read more about Travis Stockley at UNCP: