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Pearl E. Durham and Willis McLeod

Pearl E. Durham

Pearl Everette Durham

graduated from Fayetteville State University in 1955 with honors. She went on to receive her master’s in education from North Carolina A&T University. Growing up in a poor family, Durham was able to attend college through the help of scholarships. Now, Durham is glad to be able to help future students attend college through a legacy gift that establishes the Pearl Everette Durham Endowed Scholarship in Education.  Durham named FSU as a beneficiary on her life insurance policy and through her planned gift becomes a member of the Bronco Legacy Circle.

“The reason I’m giving is because Fayetteville State opened the door for me to go to college. My family was financially poor and we had no means to send me to college. I had no idea how I was going to go to school. My high school principal, Mr. J.T. Daniels, called me in and gave me advice and encouragement. He told me he was going to submit me for a work study scholarship at Fayetteville State and I got in and went from there,” Durham said.

Durham majored in education and spent 32 years teaching in the Greensboro Public School System. During her time there, she became the school system’s first African American Teacher of the Year in 1975. Durham credits FSU with helping to make her dreams of teaching a reality and helping to make her the person she is today.

“I love Fayetteville State and I wanted to leave a legacy of my love and appreciation of what they have done for me. I’m a Bronco and will be a supporting Bronco until I die because my experience allowed me to become what I am today,” Durham said.

Durham is proud that this gift will help others attend school. She hopes to provide the same opportunities she had to future students.

“It makes me feel great. I’m from Pender County and I want this scholarship named for the students of Pender County who are poor and don’t have the chance to go. I want them to have the same advantage to major in education and become a classroom teacher,” Durham said. It will be a gift that keeps on giving years after I’m gone. It will be there for someone who’s in need and I think we should have more graduates who do this type of thing.”

Durham makes it back to campus as often as she can. She is a member of the National Alumni Association and is the president of her local chapter. She has been married for 52 years to Clarence Durham. Durham stays busy with activities at her church, St. James Presbyterian Church. She has four children, one of which has passed away. She also has four grandchildren.

Like other members of the Bronco Legacy Circle, Durham will receive a bronze medallion and will be recognized at an annual luncheon hosted by the Chancellor, FSU Leadership, and student leadership. She will also have her name engraved on the Bronco Legacy Wall, located in the newly renovated lobby of the J.W. Seabrook Auditorium.

William McLeod

Dr. Willis McLeod

Dr. Willis McLeod’s love for Fayetteville State University has shown through the years by his dedication and commitment in service to the university. As a graduate of the university, McLeod’s impact on the university show throughout the university’s history, and now he has given support that will last forever. McLeod made a legacy gift to the university that will benefit the Willis B. McLeod RISE Scholarship, an endowed scholarship which will provide students with scholarships for years to come.

McLeod graduated from FSU in 1964 as one of the first two people to graduate with a degree in mathematics. He later received a master’s degree in school administration from the University of Virginia. McLeod spent his career serving students in jobs that included teacher, school administrator, principal, and school superintendant.  McLeod came from humble beginnings and has always had a love for learning and education. He is grateful to Fayetteville State for providing the means for him to get an education and wants to ensure others have the same opportunities.

“I’m so grateful to Fayetteville State for first of all being in existence, and secondly for being there for youngsters like myself. Under normal circumstances, we would not have had an opportunity to go to college,” McLeod said. “If there had not been the Fayetteville States of the world, thousands of us black students would not have had an opportunity to go to college and grow up and be contributors to society and to reach back and give back. That’s what it’s all about to me, reaching back and giving back.”

McLeod has reached back and has given back to Fayetteville State University over the years through his service and dedication to the school. He now gives support through his legacy gift that supports his endowed scholarship. 

“The university has been here a long time and it’s going to be here for a very, very, very long time. We know that the university will be here forever. Just as we need funds for scholarships now, we will need funds for scholarships in the future,” McLeod said. “All of us will have members of our family and extended family for generations to come who will be attending the university. We want to start a program that will ensure there will be funds for scholarships so we won’t have to be always begging for what we need every year.”

With this idea in mind, and the desire to reach back and give back, several members of the class of 1964 wanted to make a large gift in honor of their 40th reunion. The class worked with FSU’s Division of Institutional Advancement to get a legacy program started. Members of the class formed a steering committee and worked to provide an understanding of legacy programs. Through the work of the class of 1964 and Institutional Advancement, legacy and planned giving for FSU has become increasingly popular. So far, more than six members of the class of 1964 have made legacy gifts.

“I love my university and those who were our teachers and mentors during the period when we were students. Because of that relationship with them and the support of our school overall, as a class, I want to give back,” McLeod said. “I love my school and I do the things I do because of that.”

McLeod grew up in Dunn, NC and has been busy since his retirement in 2003. He enjoys volunteering and serving. He is currently working on starting a lunch buddies program in Harnett County which will be similar to the program he started at Fayetteville State. He recently started working on writing an autobiography. He loves children and plans to continue to use his life as a means of service.

“I love working with kids and trying to use my life and my experiences, trying to help them,” McLeod said.

Like other members of the Bronco Legacy Circle, McLeod will receive a bronze medallion and will be recognized at an annual luncheon hosted by the Chancellor, FSU Leadership, and student leadership. He will also have his name engraved on the Bronco Legacy Wall, located in the newly renovated lobby of the J.W. Seabrook Auditorium.

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