2 named to UNC Pembroke board

October 6, 2013

PEMBROKE — Don Metzger, a Lumberton city councilman and former building contractor, and Dr. James “Jim” Jones, a family physician and professor of medicine, were both appointed to a four-year term on the board of trustees by Gov. Pat McCrory.

Metzger was president and owner of Lumberton-based Construction Systems Inc. for 19 years, and since leaving the construction business, he has compiled a record of public service.

“Along with his expertise as a businessman and public servant, Don Metzger brings to the board of trustees warmth and affability,” Chancellor Kyle R. Carter said. “His approachability makes his experience and skills accessible to other board members and to the university. I can see already that his input will be sought after among the entire group.”

Metzger said he is excited about the opportunity to serve the university that serves his community.

“Because of my business and educational background, I hope to contribute to the positive direction of the university and its service to our community,” he said. “I appreciate what the university is doing for our region, and I’d like to see its great work continue into the future.”

An engineer, Metzger earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and master’s degree in construction management from the University of Missouri. He worked in manufacturing and construction, and before moving to Lumberton in 1980, he was president and owner of Progressive Building Methods Inc. in Cleveland, Ohio.

With two granddaughters enrolled at UNCP, Metzger is well acquainted with the university.

“The growth of UNC Pembroke has been remarkable,” he said. “It’s one of the best educational values in the nation, and I would like to see more people take advantage of it. Education is one of the pathways for our children can improve their lives.”

Jones, who grew up in Pembroke, is pleased with the opportunity to join the board.

“I was totally surprised when I got the call from Robin Cummings (former chair of UNCP’s trustees) that I was being considered,” Jones said. “It’s something I never imagined would happen.”

Carter welcomed Jones to the board of trustees.

“We are so pleased to have Dr. Jones named to UNC Pembroke’s board of trustees,” Carter said. “He’s a friend of higher education in general and of UNC Pembroke in particular, and we are grateful for his support. Already he has contributed both wit and wisdom to our board meetings.”

Jones’ is a 1951 graduate of Pembroke High School. After earning a two-year degree at Mars Hill College, he graduated from Wake Forest University and its School of Medicine. He was the first non-white student to enroll at Wake Forest.

After serving as a medical officer in the Navy, he opened a general practice in Jacksonville. He became active in the North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians, becoming its president in 1973.

The timing was critical as Jones’ became a key player in the drive to get a medical school for East Carolina University. Concerned about the thinning ranks of family doctors, especially in rural eastern North Carolina, he and the academy lobbied effectively for a medical school that would specialize in training general practitioners.

After the General Assembly approved what would become the Brody School of Medicine, UNC President William Friday asked Jones to join the school to help make its mission of rural family medicine a reality.

East Carolina’s medical school is a national model for training in general medicine. Jones served as a professor, director of residency and chair of the Department of Family Medicine. Later, he was named associate dean for rural medicine.

He received his Honorary Doctor of Science degree from UNCP in 1998.

Jones is professor emeritus at both the Brody and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill schools of medicine. He engaged in family practice throughout his professional career and was affiliated with and served staff member at several hospitals.

Scott Bigelow, a spokesman for UNCP, contributed this report.