ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – North Carolina Wesleyan University celebrated its 63rd year with its annual Founders’ Day ceremony Thursday in Minges Auditorium of The Dunn Center for the Performing Arts.
The opening processional included an invocation by Dr. Barry Drum, presentation of the colors by NC Wesleyan’s Army ROTC and the playing of the Star Spangled Banner. North Carolina Wesleyan Interim President, Dr. Evan D. Duff, welcomed the crowd of students, faculty, staff and friends of the College.
“Today we celebrate our 63rd birthday,” noted Duff and “63 years of academic excellence.” He then followed by reading a letter dated back to 1955 from Archie W. Mclean, Co-Chairman at the time, addressed to Mrs. R.D. Gorham, Miss Vivian Braswell and Mr. Thomas J. Pearsall. The letter acknowledged the College’s deep appreciation of the four sites on the Belmont Farm gifted to develop what we now know as North Carolina Wesleyan College.
Guest speaker for the event was the honorable Judge Phil Carlton, Trustee Emeritus. Carlton has a long and generous history with NC Wesleyan, serving almost 20 years as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees. He has been an instrumental financial supporter and advocate of the College since the 1970’s. Carlton has a wealth of historical knowledge of the founding and growth of the College.
Judge Phil Carlton kicked off his speech acknowledging, “One fact you may not know is that Methodist College in Fayetteville and Wesleyan opened on the same day and they are today still the youngest four-year liberal arts colleges in North Carolina.” Carlton asked, “So, what’s our future here today on our birthday?” He then noted, “We need to decide what it is that is driving higher education today and what is going to drive it in the future… If I had to pick two key words it would be collaboration and partnering… It’s called thinking out of the box, and that’s what we got to do.”
Eddie Coats, VP of Advancement, presented members of the Nash County Tourism Development Authority and the Foundation for the Carolinas with tokens of appreciation for their generosity and support of Wesleyan. In 2018, the 2.18-mile Wesleyan trail that circles campus was constructed thanks to the contributions from the Nash County Tourism Development Authority and the Longleaf Fund, managed by the Foundation for the Carolinas.
During the ceremony, two North Carolina Wesleyan residence halls were formally renamed. Nash Hall was renamed Pash Hall in honor of Mrs. Jessie “Jackie” H. Pash in recognition of her service as an elementary school teacher in the Nash-Rocky Mount School System. Edgecombe Hall was renamed after Carrol and Judy Roberson in recognition of their service to others and the values they placed upon education. These tributes were both made possible due to a generous gift to the College by the Roberson’s son, C. Saunders “Sandy” Roberson, who was also a former student in Mrs. Pash’s first-grade class at Englewood Elementary School here in Rocky Mount.
“North Carolina Wesleyan University is fortunate and blessed to have a long history of dedicated members of the Rocky Mount community who have supported the mission of the College with their time, talents and donations. We appreciate the generous gift that Sandy Roberson has made to rename these residence halls,” commented Duff.
The day concluded with an Open House hosted by NCWC Residence Life staff at the newly renamed Roberson Hall.