Four distinguished UNC Pembroke alumni were honored at the 54th annual Alumni Awards & Athletic Hall of Fame ceremony on Friday, Oct. 28.
This year’s recipients are Vanessa Gonzalez (Distinguished Alumni Award), Paul Willoughby Jr. (Outstanding Alumnus), Dr. Ethan Sanford (Young Alumni Award) and Dr. Kennedi Stewart Henry (Young Alumni Award). The late Hampton Brayboy and his wife, Pattie, were posthumously recognized during a special presentation. The ceremony was held at the Upchurch Auditorium at James A. Thomas Hall.
The 2022 Hall of Fame Inductees are Greg Allen, baseball; Jamie Clark, soccer; Rod Lattie, cross country and track & field; Bernice Brooks Lowry, basketball; Travis Daniels, football; and Chancellor Emeritus Allen Meadors, special inductee.
Gonzalez is an immigration attorney and the president of the Law Office of Vanessa Gonzalez. After earning her degree in 2007, she obtained a Juris Doctor from UNC School of Law. After working for midsize immigration law firms, she opened her firm in 2014. She has been recognized as North Carolina’s Legal Elite in the field of Immigration Law.
Willoughby, a former UNCP trustee and 1973 graduate was the head football coach at West Brunswick and Lumberton high schools. He was the owner and operator of six McDonald’s restaurants for three decades and a long-time supporter and advocate for UNCP.
Dr. Sanford is a senior scientist at Q2 Solutions, a leading global clinical trial laboratory services company in New York. One of the youngest graduates in UNCP history, he completed his Ph.D. in biochemistry, molecular and cell biology from Cornell University in May 2022. At 19, he earned a biology degree from UNCP in 2016.
A native of Hamlet, N.C., Henry earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 2016, graduating summa cum laude. She graduated from ECU School of Dental Medicine in 2021 and completed an advanced education in general dentistry residency at ECU with distinction. She currently practices in her hometown with Dr. Marshall Brown.
Hampton Brayboy, a 1964 graduate, taught high school math in Robeson County for 30-plus years. His wife, Pattie, a 1967 graduate, worked as a guidance counselor for nearly 20 years, providing her students with opportunities that set them on a trajectory of realized potential. The establishment of the Hampton and Pattie Brayboy Endowment Scholarship in 1991 has created a multi-generational ripple effect in our community.
Allen was a stalwart behind the plate for head coach Ray Pennington’s squads from 1966-69 and earned all-district honors from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics as a senior after hitting .324 with a dozen extra-base hits, seven home runs and 15 RBI in 37 games. He was selected in the 33rd round of the 1969 Major League Baseball amateur draft by the New York Mets.
Clarke played in 64 games with 60 starts across her four-year career (2003-05, 2007) and amassed 175 shots to go along with 24 goals and 19 assists to play a part in 50 victories for the club. The talented midfielder earned all-region laurels from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America following her sophomore and junior campaigns and a trio of All-Peach Belt Conference honors.
Lowry, one of the pioneers of women’s athletics on campus in the early 1950s, made history as she joined her husband –– 1983 inductee Marvin Lowry –– to comprise the only husband and wife team in the Athletics Hall of Fame. Lowry proved to be a dominant figure and pioneer of women’s athletics at then-Pembroke State College.
The football program’s all-time leading rusher, Daniels, rushed for 3,356 yards and 32 touchdowns on 571 carries from 2008-11 while also hauling 39 receptions for 474 yards and one additional score. He earned all-America nods from three organizations following a senior campaign that saw him rack up 1,865 all-purpose yards.
Lattie raked in 14 NAIA All-District awards from 1970-74 and four individual district titles as a member of the cross country and indoor/outdoor track & field squads. He also picked up NAIA All-America honors in 1974 as a relay squad member, establishing a school record (17:45.60) that still stands today.
Meadors served as UNCP’s eighth chancellor from 1999-2009 and was at the forefront of significant progressions for the athletics department, including the additions of women’s soccer, women’s golf and football to the varsity program. During his tenure, new facilities were constructed on campus for football, soccer, softball and track & field, while the Jones Center also underwent a comprehensive renovation.