Tuesday event raises money for scholarships


Dennis Watts

Contributed photo | Jessica Clark shows her piece titled “Keep the Vision” that depicts Julian Pierce standing in front of the Adolph Dial Amphitheater, the home of the former outdoor drama, “Strike at the Wind!” The piece was sold during the 2014 Julian T. Pierce Memorial Scholarship Dinner and Art Auction. This year, 20 pieces of art have been selected to be auctioned at the annual event to raise money for the scholarship. They can be previewed at juliantpiercescholarships.org by clicking on “Art Gallery.” The event is Tuesday.

Wondering what there could possibly be to do on a hot, mid-week summer night in Robeson County? While this plug might at first seem a little strange appearing in the Robeson Community College Today column, the coolest place to be on Tuesday night will be the University Center Annex at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke for the third annual Julian T. Pierce Memorial Scholarship Dinner and Art Auction.

UNCP and Robeson Community College are close kin and often when one hits the lottery, the other benefits, and such is the case here. Harvey Godwin has surrounded himself with a talented team to build this event into quite a summer gala from which not only UNCP and Robeson Community College benefit, but also North Carolina Central University’s School of Law.

Most people know Mr. Pierce’s story, but for those who may not, here are the highlights. Mr. Pierce earned his undergraduate degree in Chemistry at UNCP, his law degree at North Carolina Central and a master’s degree in taxation from Georgetown University in Washington D.C. After a stint with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Pierce returned to Robeson County and helped found the legal aid office in Pembroke in effort to help those who could least afford it have a better chance at finding justice. He was also instrumental in founding the Robeson Health Care Corporation, which serves the health needs of the poor in Robeson County. After Mr. Pierce spent several years building the legal aid office, he ran for Superior Court judge in Robeson County. Before the votes could be cast, however, Pierce was tragically murdered.

Mr. Godwin was Mr. Pierce’s campaign manager when Pierce ran for the judgeship in the late 1980s. Pierce and his fight for justice in the county inspired Godwin to continue Pierce’s battle, albeit on a different front. Godwin assembled a team of community leaders and educational professionals several years ago to memorialize Pierce by creating scholarships in his name at UNCP, Robeson Community College, and NCCU. Godwin also organized the fundraiser to support the scholarships and, thus, the Julian T. Pierce Memorial Scholarship Dinner and Art Auction was born. The event has grown each year.

This year, the committee invited local artists to submit works to be considered for the upcoming auction and approximately 20 works have been selected by a jury of experts. Three works will be offered at live auction and another 17 will be available for a silent auction. The works can be previewed by visiting juliantpiercescholarships.org and clicking on the “Art Gallery” tab.

The event will be held Tuesday beginning at 6 p.m. The buffet will be open from 6:30 until 7:30 p.m. A $50 individual ticket entitles the purchaser to admission to the dinner and auction. Dessert will be prepared by Robeson Community College’s Culinary Arts Baking and Pastry class. To purchase tickets, contact Regina Branch at 910-272-3236 or by email at [email protected]

Come out, enjoy a great meal and entertainment, bid on your favorite artwork and support three outstanding institutions that have a positive effect on almost every citizen of Robeson County.

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