NC Wesleyan College celebrates 65 years | The Enterprise
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NC Wesleyan College celebrates 65 years

Spring Hope’s Edwards wins Sullivan Award

Posted on November 14, 2021

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North Carolina Independent Colleges & Universities President A. Hope Williams delivers the keynote speech at N.C. Wesleyan College's 65th anniversary celebration on Oct. 25.

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North Carolina Independent Colleges & Universities President A. Hope Williams delivers the keynote speech at N.C. Wesleyan College's 65th anniversary celebration on Oct. 25.

ROCKY MOUNT — North Carolina Wesleyan College celebrated its 65th founding anniversary during the college’s annual Founders’ Day Celebration on Oct. 25 at the Dunn Center’s Minges Auditorium.

The celebration began with a processional consisting of Wesleyan international students, each carrying a flag representing their country, followed by faculty members. An invocation was given by the college chaplain, the Rev. Edwin M. Ferguson, presentation of the colors by N.C. Wesleyan’s Army ROTC and the singing of the National Anthem by the Tar River Children’s Ensemble.

President Evan D. Duff welcomed the crowd of more than 600 students, employees, alumni and community members.

“This is a special Founders’ Day for a couple of reasons,” Duff said. “The first is that it’s our 65th. We were founded exactly on Oct. 25, 1956. This year, we are putting a special focus on dedicated donors, past, present and future, who have created the Wesleyan we are today and the Wesleyan we will become.”

During the ceremony, a slideshow was presented highlighting milestones throughout the previous 65 years. In addition, a video consisting of congratulations and well-wishes from board members, a descendent of one of the college’s founders and supporters was played, along with messages from students thanking supporters.

Guest speaker was A. Hope Williams, president of North Carolina Independent Colleges & Universities. Her message offered words of encouragement for celebrating this milestone occasion and emerging from the challenges faced during the pandemic.

“Individuals and companies continue to have the most important role in the growth and enhancement of a college. All have meant so much historically and certainly though the pandemic…to keep our students safe, along with our faculty and staff,” Williams said. “Under the critical leadership of President Duff, the service of the strongly committed Board of Trustees, and outstanding faculty and staff…Thank you for your leadership in transforming the lives and the futures of our students and their families.”

NCICU is the statewide advocacy, public policy and fundraising organization for the 36 independent, or private, colleges and universities in North Carolina. As president, Williams is CEO for the NCICU Board of Directors of college and university presidents and for the Independent College Fund of North Carolina board that  includes corporate trustees and raises corporate and foundation funds for student scholarships and programs.

She has been president of NCICU since 1992. Williams received her undergraduate degree in French and history from Duke University, a master’s of public administration degree from N.C. State University and a Ph.D. in education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

After Williams’ keynote address, guests enjoyed a choral selection from the Wesleyan Singers, directed by adjunct faculty member Thomas Parker. Following this was the presentation of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award by Aaron Denton, vice president of athletics.

This nationally recognized award honors the excellence in character, leadership, community service and spiritual values of the late Algernon Sidney Sullivan, a lawyer, scholar and orator. The recipient should display characteristics of compassion and love for one’s fellow man and woman, adherence to Christian ideals, courteous and gentle behavior and active participation in the college or community affairs.

This year’s recipient was Nathan Edwards ’01 of Edwards Inc., an industrial contractor headquartered in Spring Hope. Edwards’ work to improve the experience and facilities for NCWC students has reached more than half of the college’s athletic teams. He and his company’s time and efforts were a key factor in helping the college recover from storm damage in June 2019.

In addition, an inaugural Donor Impact Award was presented by Mark Hinson, director of external affairs. This award honors an individual or company, regardless of the size of the gift or the manner in which it was given, for exceptional vision and generosity toward North Carolina Wesleyan College becoming a healthier, safer and stronger institution.

The 2021 recipients were Dr. Robert and Nancy Zipf. Early in the pandemic, the Zipfs made it possible for NCWC to purchase high-quality air purifiers to help with COVID-19 prevention. Due to a prior obligation, the Zipfs were not able to attend the ceremony in person. Accepting the award on their behalf were Dr. Jonathan Sarris and wife Dr. Karin Zipf, the Zipfs’ daughter.

The event concluded with a reception immediately following in the Dunn Center’s Garner Lobby. Guests were able to browse through N.C. Wesleyan memorabilia on display while enjoying 65th anniversary cupcakes and lemonade.

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