UNCP class of 1963 holds reunion

November 10, 2013

PEMBROKE — Memories poured out on Nov. 1 during the reunion of the Pembroke State College class of 1963. Much has changed including the name of the school, now The University of North Carolina Pembroke.

“We were the first to live in the new dorm on campus,” Palmer Midgette said of Jacobs Hall. “We lived eight to a suite.”

“They were so strict, we couldn’t do anything,” said Leroy Taylor. “No handholding, no alcohol and absolutely no kissing.”

Things have changed, a lot, they said, and some things have not. Robert Smith got lost looking for Old Main, something that often happens during class reunion time.

“I met a groundskeeper, who gave me a tour of campus in his golf cart,” Smith said. “People are still so nice here.”

Woodrow Dial, class of 1963, who gave the invocation at the reunion luncheon held in the Chancellor’s dining Room on Nov. 1, noted that “for 126 years, this university has stood as a beacon of train for young men and women to go out into a changing world.”

During a video about the modern university, W.L. Strickland let out a “wow!” at a photo of the more than 1,000-member freshmen class. “Just the freshmen! It’s amazing.” The entire college in 1963 was approximately 775 students.

In welcoming the class, Chancellor Kyle R. Carter also spoke of the new freshman class.

“In 50 years, we want them to return to campus like you have to remember that we were an important part of their success,” Carter said. “As different as the university is today, we continue to give students personal attention and to prepare them for good careers. We give them the values that shape their abilities and character.”

Leroy Taylor said he was proud to be a member of this class. “Several of us get together every couple of years, but this is the first time the class has gotten together,” he said. “Looking around, the class of ’63 made out really well.”

In her address to the class, Wendy Lowery, vice chancellor for the Office of Advancement, said: “It’s a great time to be a Brave, and 1963 was too.”

In 1963, Pembroke State College was on the edge of sweeping changes in Pembroke and nationally. The college was busy celebrating its diamond jubilee (75th year) and had just named English Jones its interim president.

Jones was the college’s first American Indian president. He served for 17 years and led another “amazing” enrollment and building boom that would more than double the size of the school.

The class of 1963 was part of the foundation to build success upon. The growth, success and vigor of the class would help the little college become a regional university and a member of the new University of North Carolina system.

These are the memories that build loyalty to this university

“You have come together as a family, and the university family needs your support,” she said. “It’s not just about giving; it’s about staying in contact with your university.”

The class made a contribution to the endowed 50th Class Reunion Gold Endowed Scholarship. On Saturday, they were guests of honor at the homecoming football game.

For information about alumni at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, contact the Office of Advancement at 910-521-6252, email or go online to

Scott Bigelow is the Public Information officer at The University of North Carolina.