Last updated: September 16. 2013 11:32AM - 2404 Views

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PEMBROKE — More than a quarter century ago, David Weinstein did not wait for an invitation to jump onto The University of North Carolina at Pembroke bandwagon. He sent an invitation to the university, and it’s still good.


Recently, the former state senator from Lumberton established an endowed scholarship for a nursing student. He wanted the scholarship to be awarded immediately, so he added $750 to his $25,000 gift.


In a interview, Weinstein talked about the future of the university he has supported so effectively for so long.


“The university is doing well, and its economic impact is very important for Robeson County,” he said. “We have a more educated workforce than ever.


“I see nothing but a bright future for the university, and I believe the nursing program will play a big role,” Weinstein said. “My granddaughter is starting nursing school this fall; there is a great future in nursing.”


Weinstein calls the new Health Sciences “my building” with good cause. The senator, who served in Raleigh for 13 years, convinced the General Assembly to set aside $10 million and then add another $19 million to build a new home for UNCP’s growing nursing program.


He is still contributing to the program.


“I hope some deserving student will be able to use this scholarship,” Weinstein said. “There is a real need for financial support for UNCP students, and I have always believed it is important to give back to the community.”


Weinstein grew up in a family of Lumberton merchants whose fortunes grew with their hometown. He became Lumberton’s mayor and joined UNCP’s board of trustees in 1992 before being elected to the North Carolina Senate in 1997, where he served for 13 years.


“When I was elected mayor and Joe Oxendine was the new chancellor, I invited him and his family to my home to meet with members of the Lumberton community,” Weinstein said. “I wanted to get a relationship started, and I think it has benefited the university.”


“David reached out and made me a part of this community,” Chancellor Emeritus Joe Oxendine said. “He realized the importance of working with everyone. He reached out to everyone to say ‘we will grow together.’ I don’t know anyone who has been a better friend to this university.”


As chair of UNCP’s board, Weinstein helped the university change its name, a step that has been critical to the enrollment growth of the university. But his best work was done in the North Carolina General Assembly, where he helped guide a total of $92 million to the university.


Two state bond referendums netted the university more than $60 million for new construction and renovations. Weinstein was also able to carve out $6.9 million to build the first new residence hall on campus in 25 years.


While he was in Raleigh, Weinstein was personally contributing. He established the Max M. Weinstein Endowed Scholarship in History in 2008. When his synagogue, Temple Beth El, closed, he guided its final fund balance of more than $28,000 to UNCP.


“I thought it was important that money stayed in Robeson County,” Weinstein said. “The money goes to building human relations among the students; I can’t think of a better investment than that at one of the most diverse universities in the nation.”


Weinstein was awarded the first Alumni Association Special Award of Distinction in 2010. In 2012, he helped dedicate the new Health Sciences Building with these words: “I will always have a special place in my heart for thisUniversity.”


A student from Pembroke is the first recipient of the Weinstein Nursing Scholarship. To learn more about giving at UNCP, contact the Office of Advancement at 910-521-6252 or email advancement@uncp.edu.

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