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Alumni to help honor campus heritage

By Tina Rodgers
Contributing Writer

March 15, 2012

Photo by Nick Phillips
A train passes through campus recently as the newly installed pedestrian crossing sits in the foreground.

UNC Pembroke was alive with excitement as it prepared to welcome alumni, community leaders and other distinguished guests to begin the celebrations for the 125th anniversary of the university on March 14 at 4 p.m. in the main gym of the English E. Jones Health and Physical Education Center.

The day marked the kickoff of a 14-month celebration.

Events will include the Annual Shamrock Ball to support the UNCP scholarship fund, the Givens Performing Arts Center Annual Fundraiser as well as a variety of athletic events and GPAC performances.

Alumni and other community constituents have been invited to participate in the festivities.

Over 24,000 UNCP graduates and 300 VIP guests have received invitations.

UNCP opened on March 7, 1887, as Croatan Normal School, which taught Native Americans who wanted to become educators. Today, the university boasts a student population of nearly 6,000 representing numerous states, 18 countries and many ethnic backgrounds. UNCP offers 41 bachelor's degrees and 17 master's degrees.

Wendy Lowery, vice chancellor for Advancement, hopes the celebration will give UNCP the opportunities to be creative with how it interacts with alumni.

She said the university will strengthen communications with all external partners.

"I am certain that over the course of the next year or so, these communications will allow our graduates to become more involved with UNCP and ... what's going on with our students, faculty and staff," Lowery said.

The theme of the celebration is "Honoring Our Heritage, Soaring Toward Our Future." Alison DeCinti, director of development for the Office of Advancement, said UNCP will take this opportunity to showcase the growth and change of the campus while also showing how it has retained its heritage and history.

The Heritage Scholarship Fund will be launched during the kickoff celebration. The university hopes to raise $240,000 from it.

That money will be used to provide 125 scholarships, each in the amount of $1,887.

The numbers 125 and 1,887 are meant to commemorate UNCP's anniversary and the founding year, respectively.

Lowery said she hopes the initiative will be successful and looks to make it an annual campaign.

"Over the next 14 months we hope to foster even stronger relationships with our community partners, bring alumni back to the institution ... and encourage support of our new scholarship initiative that will provide support to our students during the upcoming academic year," Lowery said.

A lot of planning went into this event. Several alumni served on the 125th Planning Committee, including co-chairs Patricia Fields '97, '10, executive director, Givens Performing Arts Center; and Lawrence Locklear '05, web publisher, University Communications and Marketing.

Fields said the anniversary is meant to get the community excited about the university and give everyone a reason to rally behind UNCP.

"As alumni become engaged with the university and see the changes that have taken place, they have the opportunity to continue the legacy that started 125 years ago," Renee Steele, director of Alumni Relations, said.

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Updated: Tuesday, March 27, 2012
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