PEMBROKE – Chancellor Emeritus Joe Oxendine helped transform UNC Pembroke and his legacy lives on in his commitment to education, his community and the university he cherished.
One of the main accomplishments of his tenure was the official name change to UNC Pembroke. The board voted last week to rename West Hall in honor of Oxendine. The state-of-the-art 40,840 square foot facility recently completed a $ 13.6 million renovation and will be known as the Dr. Joseph B. Oxendine Administration Building.
“There are few people who have made an impact at UNCP as Dr Oxendine. His passion for education, UNCP and others were very clear, and his work put our university on the right track to get to where we are today, ”said Chancellor Robin Gary. Cummings.
“It is fitting to honor his long-standing commitment to our university with this name change. I am grateful to our Board of Trustees for approving this request so that Dr. Oxendine’s service and impact will be forever honored. and connected to our campus and our university. history. ”
Dr Oxendine led the university as third chancellor from 1989 to 1999. A turning point in the university’s history was the change of name in 1996, the result of a collective effort by Oxendine, Dr Adolph Dial, community leaders, the UNC system. and legislative officials.
Upon unveiling the new name, Oxendine said, “The new name has given us increased recognition and a clearer perception in the minds of our audience that we are indeed an integral part of the University of North Carolina system. .
Oxendine’s many accomplishments include the adoption of the institution’s first official sports logo, the introduction of the Red-tailed Falcon mascot and the university logos still in use today, the university reclassification in Institution II completed by the Carnegie Foundation and the creation of the Office of Regional Initiatives.
New study programs have also been added under Oxendine’s leadership, including an RN-BSN Nursing Program, an MBA Program, Masters in Agency and School Counseling, and Bachelors in Criminal Justice, community health education, American studies, mass communication and birth – kindergarten education.
An endowed teaching post at the School of Education is also named in his honor.
In a tribute after his death in April 2020, Dr Lawrence Locklear, academic historian and director of the Office of Student Inclusion and Diversity, recalled Oxendine’s efforts to rename the university’s image, increase community outreach and regional engagement, expanding and improving academic programs, emphasizing scholarship and faculty research, and enhancing the student experience.
Oxendine’s wife Adrienne was overcome with emotion after receiving a call from Chancellor Cummings after the vote.
“I was very happy to hear the news,” said Oxendine, who lives in Maryland. “I think it’s a wonderful tribute to him. He’s accomplished a lot in his career, but he’s never bragged about those things. He enjoyed and enjoyed his time in college, and I think that it made a difference with the name change and other improvements to the curriculum. ”
Oxendine came to UNCP after a 30-year career as a faculty member and dean of Temple University. Born and raised in Pembroke, Oxendine’s family ties were deeply rooted in the history of the university. He was the great-grandson of John J. Oxendine, one of the founders and first board of directors of the institution.
Joe Oxendine moved to Detroit at age 17 and worked in an auto factory to save money to pay for his education. He graduated from Catawba College, where he played football, basketball and baseball. He played minor league baseball with the Pittsburgh Pirates for three years and then served in the United States Army in Korea. After his service he worked as a teacher and trainer in Virginia. He then became a professor at Boston University while earning a doctorate in education before joining Temple University in 1959.
He retired in 1999 and was granted the status of Chancellor Emeritus. He continued to teach at UNCP for several years and then served as Interim President of the University of Catawba, where he served on the Board of Trustees.
West Hall was originally designed as a female dormitory in 1965. Recently renovated in 2020, the building houses the College of Arts and Sciences, the Accessibility Resource Center, the Teaching and Learning Center, the e-learning, Internal Audit, Title IX Clery Compliance and the Information Technology Department.
“He would be surprised if a building bears his name,” said Adrienne Oxendine. “You just don’t know how happy my daughter (Jean) and I are that he’s recognized in this way. He’s done a lot of things throughout his career, but I think a highlight for him was to return to Pembroke. He always held a special place in his heart for Pembroke. ”