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NC Wesleyan College marks 63rd anniversary

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ROCKY MOUNT — North Carolina Wesleyan College celebrated its 63rd year with its annual Founders’ Day ceremony last month in the Minges Auditorium at the Dunn Center for the Performing Arts.

The opening processional included an invocation Barry Drum, presentation of the colors by N.C. Wesleyan’s Army ROTC and the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” North Carolina Wesleyan Interim President Evan D. Duff welcomed the crowd of students, faculty, staff and friends.

“Today we celebrate our 63rd birthday,” noted Duff, and “63 years of academic excellence.”

He then followed by reading a 1955 letter from Archie W. McLean, co-chairman at the time, addressed to Mrs. R.D. Gorham, Vivian Braswell and Thomas J. Pearsall. The letter acknowledged the college’s deep appreciation of the four sites on the Belmont Farm gifted to develop North Carolina Wesleyan College.

Guest speaker was Judge Phil Carlton, trustee emeritus. Carlton served almost 20 years as the chairman of the Board of Trustees.

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, vice president of advancement, presented members of the Nash County Tourism Development Authority and the Foundation for the Carolinas with tokens of appreciation for their support of Wesleyan. In 2018, the 2.18-mile Wesleyan trail that circles campus was constructed with contributions from the Nash County Tourism Development Authority and the Longleaf Fund, which the Foundation for the Carolinas manages.

During the ceremony, two North Carolina Wesleyan residence halls were formally renamed. Nash Hall was renamed Pash Hall in honor of 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 gift to the college by the Roberson’s son, C. Saunders “Sandy” Roberson, who was also a former student in Pash’s first grade class at Englewood Elementary School in Rocky Mount.

“North Carolina Wesleyan College 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,” Duff said.

The day concluded with an open house hosted by N.C. Wesleyan residence life staff at the newly renamed Roberson Hall.

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