Reaping what they sow

Published 8:36 am Thursday, September 11, 2014

Chowan University President Dr. Chris White (left) presents a framed photo of the newly opened Pond Football Center to the facility’s namesakes - Charles and Juanita Pond. Photo courtesy of Carol Hedspeth

Chowan University President Dr. Chris White (left) presents a framed photo of the newly opened Pond Football Center to the facility’s namesakes – Charles and Juanita Pond. Photo courtesy of Carol Hedspeth

MURFREESBORO – Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.

The latter part of that Biblical verse, from 2nd Corinthians (9:6), applies to ChowanUniversity.

In another sign of growth at the Christian-based school, the Pond Football Center was formally dedicated on the night before the Hawks opened their 2014 season with a thrilling 26-22 win over heavily favored Fayetteville State University.

Is there really something to this sow generously, reap generously notion, or was it a stroke of luck? No matter the answer, the “Hawk Nation” can take great pride in seeing another piece of the football puzzle fall in place with the opening of the Pond Center.

Situated just a little more than first down distance beyond the west endzone of James G. Garrison Stadium, the Pond Football Center replaces an eyesore, Chowan’s old maintenance shop; which now has a new home (part of the university’s rapid growth) further south on the university’s expanding campus.

Chowan President Dr. Chris White remarked that “dreams can come true.”

“This has been a long time coming, but well worth the wait,” remarked White at the recent dedication of the 10,000 square foot facility, which includes an office for each coach on the football staff, a huge meeting room with the most up to date technology for reviewing and grading game film, three conference rooms, and a 2,500 square foot, state-of-the-art weight room with an adjoining athletic training suite on the lower level.

“We are riding a wave of success that is unprecedented in the history of this school,” stated White. “We are here in part to open this great facility and in part to honor our special friends, Charles and Juanita Pond.”

White gave special recognition to the legendary Jim Garrison, retired football coach and athletic director.

“You are part of the reason why we’re doing this,” White said of the man who put Chowan athletics on the national map decades ago. “He has an office in this building and we hope he’ll use it for many years to come.”

White also thanked those whose financial assistance pushed this project over the top.

“I want to pay particular attention to two trustees who absolutely refused to let this project go away,” the President noted. “They gave time, resources and leadership, and it’s finally come to fruition; Stan Dixon and Harvey Reinhardt. They love this school and it’s obvious.”

For the Ponds, White had special words of thanks.

“For all they’ve done for Chowan over the years, not just this project, we thank them,” White said.

White also mentioned a new fountain in Lake Vann, adjacent to the Pond Football Center. That foundation will be dedicated in honor of former Chowan coach and athletic director Herb Appenzeller.

Frank Rose Jr., Chair of Chowan’s Board of Trustees, said optimism is sky high on campus, partly due to new and innovative facilities.

“Intercollegiate football has been played at Chowan since the 1930’s. Over the years many significant victories have been won; many important events have taken place, but today’s dedication of the Pond Football Center will surely rank near the top. We honor Charles and Juanita Pond. Charles’ love for Chowan, his alma mater, cannot be questioned. His service sets the standard for others to follow,” Rose remarked.

Charles Pond is a member of Chowan’s Board of Trustees, serving on the Executive Committee and is chair of the Business & Finance Committee.

“His financial skills and banking connections helped rescue this school 12 years ago,” Rose stressed. “He also has a deep seeded love for athletics. To Charles and Juanita, we thank you for being who you are. We thank you for caring about Chowan University.”

Jennifer Humphrey, a Chowan athlete and Chief Presidential Ambassador, spoke on behalf of the student body.

“Chowan students are excited to be part of an institution that is growing and moving forward,” said Humphrey, who also serves as President of Alpha Chi. “I feel certain that the donors, the trustees and friends of the university share the sense of pride that we have for this amazing school.”

Current day Chowan athletic director Ozzie McFarland has proudly watched the new football center take shape over the recent months. He sees it as the next step in taking Chowan athletics to new heights.

“Since moving to the NCAA, Chowan was experiencing a time where it seemed to be alright for our athletic teams to be okay….not good, just okay,” McFarland related. “Certainly, this facility now announces to the world that’s no longer the case. I’ve heard that good is the enemy of great. This facility is not good, it’s great. It’s great because of the efforts of so many of you gathered here tonight. I’ve never seen more excitement and investment in a program than what you’ll find here at Chowan.”

The dedication ceremony also included remarks from CIAA Commissioner Jacquie McWilliams.

“There are three pillars we speak of in the CIAA….tradition, leadership and community,” she stated. “As I’ve sat here and listened, you’ve made tradition right here in your own community and the leadership here at Chowan is phenomenal. You are a Christian university and you understand your foundation. There’s no doubt that this school has favor (from above). Dr. White, you have done a tremendous with Chowan, with the support of your trustees, your staff and the community. You are blessed and we’re blessed to have you as a member of the CIAA.”

The new home of the Hawks drew rave reviews from Chowan head football coach Tim Place.

“All associated with the Hawk football program are so honored and very humbled to be a part of the first team to occupy the Pond Football Center,” Place said.  “We are keenly aware of how fortunate we are to have such an outstanding facility… we are truly blessed. The Hawk football program is forever grateful for the vision of Dr. White as well as the unwavering support of the alumni who so graciously gave of their time and resources.  The PondFootballCenter is a tremendous addition to the Hawk football program.”

The Center was named by The Board of Trustees in honor of Charles and Juanita Pond of Smithfield, VA in recognition of their unwavering support and commitment to Chowan University. Charles, a 1962 graduate, faithfully serves on the Board of Trustees and provided dedicated service to the Chowan Alumni Board of Directors and the Board of Visitors. He was honored with the 2005 North Carolina Baptist Heritage Award for Chowan University, as well as the Distinguished Alumni Award. Juanita, a career educator, is an alum of Old Dominion University and served Oakland Elementary School for 30 years.

Giving opportunities for the PondCenter are still available.  Bricks or pavers can be purchased from the Chowan University Development Office to commemorate a person, event, group or club, etc. Individuals interested in supporting the project can contact the Chowan University Development Office at 252-398-1233.


About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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