First Posted: 6/20/2009
PEMBROKE No matter who replaces Allen Meadors as chancellor at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, everyone seems to agree that person has a tough act to follow.
He gets it done. Thats the bottom line, said Wendell Staton, the universitys associate vice chancellor who serves as director of Major and Planned Gifts. I look at it from a coaching standpoint. Hes a head coach who gets the most out of his players and he doesnt ask you to do anything he wouldnt do. In other words, he rolls his sleeves up. If you can outwork him, youve done something. His work ethic is incredible.
After 10 years at UNCPs helm, Meadors is leaving the university at the end of the month to become president of the University of Central Arkansas, his alma mater. He agreed to a three-year contract last week.
Although expressing happiness for his career advancement, university officials and community members say they are sorry to see Meadors leave.
Roger Oxendine, who was chairman of the university board of trustees and chairman of the search committee when Meadors was hired, said Meadors did exactly what he was hired to do preserve UNCPs American Indian heritage and build a football program.
He is an exemplary person and chancellor, and to me a great friend, Oxendine said. This is a sad occasion for me.
According to Scott Bigelow, a public communications specialist in UNCPs office of university relations, under Meadors the number of faculty grew from 214 instructors and professors in 1999 to 424 in the fall semester of 2008. Other university staff during the same period grew from 296 to 513 full and part-time employees.
I think his biggest contribution was in growing the enrollment, Bigelow said, citing 2008 fall semester statistics. Enrollment to start was 2,966 in 1999 when he came, and it is now 6,303.
Bigelow also pointed to a number of capital improvements to the campus that have blossomed under the chancellors leadership.
We have invested more than $100 million in our campus in new and remodeled buildings since he has been here, Bigelow said.
Those who know Meadors highlight his leadership skills, energy, and ability to draw people together.
As chancellor, he has done an excellent job, said Dick Taylor, a six-year UNCP trustee. He has been a steady influence here, both at the university and in the community.
He was able to communicate with students and had a good working relationship with the faculty, said Lumberton Mayor Ray Pennington, a university trustee and a former coach and athletic director at UNCP. He was energetic. He was a workaholic. He worked long hours every day and was not afraid to put forth new initiatives.
Tony Curtis, of UNCPs Department of Mass Communications and chairman of the faculty Senate, said that the top priority of the chancellor was always to put the education first.
Ive heard the chancellor say on many occasions that what we are here for is to educate students, Curtis said. The chancellor has been very much in tune that we are about the students.
Joann Anderson, president and CEO of Southeastern Regional Medical Center, said that as a nine-year member of the hospital board of trustees, Meadors has contributed greatly to improving health care throughout the region.
The impact of his leadership in the community, as well as through The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, will leave a lasting mark on higher education and health care for those seeking to access these services for many years to come, she said.
Gregg Cummings, a Pembroke councilman and Robeson Countys economic developer, worked on many projects with Meadors.
One thing that I admired about the chancellor is that he inspired his faculty and staff to become more involved with community events that were outside of the university, Cummings said. He showed great leadership skills both on and off the campus. He would bring the town and university together as one. Instead of both working alone, he saw the need for a close relationship between the university and community when it comes to dealing with growth.