PEMBROKE — U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson liked what he saw when he visited The University of North Carolina at Pembroke on Tuesday for an up-close look at student life and educational programs and a chance to meet the new chancellor.
“I’m really impressed by the people and the programs here,” said Hudson, a Republican from Concord who represents the 8th District, which includes UNCP and most of Robeson County. “We have a leading university right here in our own back yard.”
Dr. Robin Cummings, who became chancellor in July, joined Hudson and his staff as they toured several buildings, during which Hudson met students and staff and learned the history of UNCP and what it offers.
Lumberton Councilman Don Metzger and a host of UNCP staff, including Vice Chancellors Wendy Lowry, Lisa Schaeffer and Carlton Spellman, tagged along, as did UNCP Athletics Director Dick Christy, Dan Kenney, chief of staff, and Joshua Malcolm, general counsel.
The group made a stop at Old Main, which houses the university’s museum. Stan Knick, the curator, gave a brief history of the school and its American Indian heritage.
The group left campus to visit the Office of Regional Initiatives in the COMtech business park, where Hudson learned about research being done by Dr. Ben Bahr, a UNCP professor, on Alzheimer’s and traumatic brain injuries.
Bahr recently received a grant for research on soldiers who come home with a traumatic brain injury.
“I’m on the energy commerce committee and we just passed a bill on 21st century cures, and it has put around a billion dollars into research,” Hudson said. “Knowing that UNCP is making breakthroughs in Alzheimer’s research is exciting to me.”
Hudson was able to tour the not-yet-completed Small Business Incubator to be located downtown before a final stop at the Health Sciences building.
“This nursing program is in a beautiful, energy-efficient building,” he said. “It’s as nice as any building I’ve visited anywhere. They have a nursing program where 97 to 100 percent pass their boards and 100 percent are placed in good-paying jobs.”
Cummings was happy for the opportunity to host the congressman.
“We’re pitching student success and I think he saw a lot of student success today,” Cummings said.
Gabrielle can be reached at 910-816-1989 or on Twitter @news_gabbie.