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SGA honors past presidents with wall

By Kelly Mayo
Managing Editor

November 8, 2012

Photo by Sherry Jacobs
Former SGA presidents, Chancellor Kyle R. Carter and other guests prepare to cut the ribbon on the SGA Presidents' Wall on Oct. 24.

Chancellor Kyle R. Carter, four former Student Government Association presidents, current senators and other faculty and staff members celebrated the past, present and future of SGA with speeches and a commemoration of the SGA Presidents' Wall in the UC on Oct. 24.

Former presidents John Ray, Wayland Lennon, Brian Freeman and Marvin Jacobs spoke to the audience about their experiences in SGA and at UNCP, and how their college days prepared them for real life.

The ribbon-cutting of the Presidents' Wall and a reception followed the speeches.

Ray, who was president from 1961-62, said that his family sold their chickens and cows so that he could go to college. He initially received a scholarship to Appalachian State University, but said that God told him to go to Pembroke State College.

Ray said that the college's then-dean English E. Jones became a valuable mentor to him during his time in the SGA.

"I never got any bad advice from Dean Jones. I never would have made a friend like that if I hadn't been in SGA," Ray said.

Ray said that his SGA presidency "laid the groundwork" for a career as a principal and superintendent of Red Springs High School, his alma mater.

Lennon, a Fairmont native, was president from 1984-85. He said that after failing out of UNC Chapel Hill, he transferred to PSU with a new perspective of his education.

"PSU, to me, meant success," Lennon said.

He said that his motto in the SGA was "From Flunky to President," and that anything is possible with the right mindset.

"It just takes dogged determination…we can do whatever we set our minds to," Lennon said.

Freeman, an elementary school teacher in Cumberland County, was SGA president from 1991-92. He said that as president he helped create the Chancellor's List in addition to the Dean's List. UNCP currently has a Chancellor's List and an Honor's List.

He also helped get student representatives on all faculty committees.

Freeman said he also endowed a teacher education scholarship "so other students can have the opportunities that I had."

Jacobs was president from 2006-07, and was the first in his family to go to college.

He remembered that PSU had two Homecoming celebrations his senior year, which was the year the football program was born.

"This place was real gung-ho about football," Jacobs said.

Jacobs said that after his mother died two months after he became president, he considered quitting school. However, then-Chancellor Allen Meadors and the athletic director sat down and crafted a plan so that Jacobs could stay in school and take care of his family.

"When they say, 'Where Learning Gets Personal,' they really do mean it," Jacobs said.

Jacobs said that as president he helped turn SGA's Campus Entertainment Board into a separate organization, today's Association of Campus Entertainment. Jacobs said there was a specific reason for doing this.

"This is not an entertainment club. You are the voice. You have to be the bad guys sometimes," he said.

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