ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA– North Carolina Wesleyan University celebrated its 62nd year with its annual Founders’ Day ceremony and awards presentation in Minges Auditorium of The Dunn Center for the Performing Arts on October 25.
The impressive opening processional was led by 40 international students carrying flags representing their native countries, the highest number in college history. After recognition of veterans, the presentation of colors by the NCWC ROTC and Will Plyer, SGA President, singing the national anthem, North Carolina Wesleyan President, Dr. Dewey Clark, welcomed a large crowd in Minges Auditorium. “As we celebrate our 62nd birthday today, we must reflect on our past and the vision our founding fathers had many years ago. While the last few years have been outstanding in many ways, I believe our best days are ahead,” noted Clark.
Guest speaker for the event was Justice Paul Newby, the Senior Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina. Newby is also an adjunct professor at Campbell University School of Law, an active member of the NC Bar Association and co-author of a book on the North Carolina State Constitution. Newby graduated magna cum laude from Duke University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Policy Studies and earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of North Carolina School of Law.
In his address, Justice Newby shared statistics about the high levels of anxiety and depression and the associated dependency on drugs and alcohol that plague students of today. Referencing the teachings of John Wesley, he stated, “Unfortunately people are looking for peace and satisfaction in all the wrong places. There is hope and you can experience a sense of peace and joy when you believe that God of the Universe knows you by name and He will give you purpose and meaning in your life.”
Following the convocation address, the North Carolina Wesleyan Singers, under the direction of Thomas Parker, offered an inspiring performance of “Look at the World” by John Rutter.
Special recognition was given to Roger G. and Gaile Davenport Taylor for their many years of friendship and support to NC Wesleyan. Taylor, a 1970 NCWC graduate, is one of the best basketball players to wear a Bishop uniform. As team captain, he was named Most Valuable Player and All-Conference two years in a row as well as Conference Co-Player of the Year in 1970 after leading the NAIA District 29 in scoring. He was inducted in the NCWC Athletics Hall of Fame in 1999 and the USA South Conference Hall of Fame in 2011. Taylor earned an associate degree from Louisburg College before getting his bachelor’s degree at Wesleyan. He also attained a master’s degree from East Carolina University.
An immensely successful businessman, Taylor has served as the President of the Alumni Association and was honored with Wesleyan’s Distinguished Alumnus Service Award in 1978. He was awarded the college’s highest honor, the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award in 2009. He has been a member of the Wesleyan Board of Trustees since 1996 and currently serves as Chairman of the Building and Grounds Committee.
Through a generous donation from the Taylors, Wesleyan’s Taylor-Crocker Honors Program was established 11 years ago and with their continued support, along with Dr. and Mrs. Dan Crocker, the program has grown immensely. “The couple is also responsible for numerous endowed scholarships, the Roger G. and Gaile D. Taylor Center and Athletics Hall of Fame adjacent to Everett Gymnasium. Due to their continued tremendous support of the college, the Eli Residence Hall is being renamed the Roger G. and Gaile D. Taylor Hall.
“Roger and Gaile’s substantial contributions, friendship and support of Wesleyan is unrivaled. We proudly display the Taylor name on the Taylor Center and now Taylor Hall in appreciation and recognition of their unwavering dedication to Wesleyan,” stated Wesleyan President Dr. Dewey Clark.
The Wesleyan Singers concluded the ceremony by leading the audience in singing the College’s Alma Mater.