Chowan University dedicates Bynum Rhodes Brown Aquatic Center

Published 11:20 am Thursday, October 20, 2016

By Christina E. Thomas
University Relations

MURFREESBORO –After thirteen years of waiting, Chowan University officially reopened the pool with a dedication and celebration held last month.

Dr. Chris White, University President, along with Frank Rose, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, and Ozzie McFarland, Vice President and Director of Athletics, expressed great excitement about opening the facility named for long-time Chowan University trustee Bynum Rhodes Brown.

A Murfreesboro native, Brown is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill and a Veteran of both World War II and the Korean War. His mother was a graduate of Chowan University where Brown has served multiple terms on the Board of Trustees, including several as Chairman of the Board, and has the distinction of being one of the chosen few given an honorary doctorate by the school.

The ceremony began with Dr. White welcoming all those in attendance, extending special appreciation to representatives from USDA, Southern Bank, and the Southern Bank Foundation, who partnered on loans for many projects including the Bynum Rhodes Brown Aquatic Center. He went on to explain the dormancy of the facility for more than a decade.

“Thirteen years ago when I came to the campus and inspected the pool I found a very poor pool and that’s being nice,” said Dr. White. “It was a mess. I made the executive decision to declare the pool broke and irreparable, then closed it and drained the water.”

Rose thanked Brown, his wife Shirley, and their daughter Grace, and credited them for making the occasion possible. “Your support of the aquatics center project and new women’s swimming program is deeply appreciated,” he said. “Bynum, you kept reminding us of the significance of this project and its relationship to the future of the university. It is that spirit of leadership that encouraged us to make this project a priority. Our students are indeed the beneficiaries of your generosity.”

“Bynum is a financial genius; he knows what questions to ask,” said Dr. White. “In terms of his business career in real estate and finance it’s been an incredible run for him and his wife. Bynum has served on the Board of Directors for Southern Bank for many years and that experience was not only good for the bank and good for him, but it’s really been good for Chowan University with this experience.”

Chowan University then introduced the new eight-member women’s swim team and Head Coach Matt Hood to the audience. The face of this historic campus continues to change as the athletic program expands. With the addition of two new teams since this summer, Men’s Lacrosse and Women’s Swimming, Chowan has hopes of the possibility of adding a Men’s Swim team to the program in the coming years.

Brown approached the podium and began by thanking his wife and daughter, followed by other family members who were in attendance. He thanked his friends from Murfreesboro, acknowledged Dennis Helsel, Charles Bentley, Frank Holding, Southern Bank, and a few other people who helped make this pool opening possible.

“One of the ladies on the swim team asked me if I knew how to swim,” Brown said. He described what he remembers as icy water in the original Chowan University pool back in his Boy Scout days. “I love this swimming pool and cannot tell Dr. White how much I appreciates the attention that Chowan has given me.”

The University gifted the Brown family with custom swim team jackets courtesy of Chowan University Athletics and concluded the ceremony with a prayer of dedication by Mari Wiles, Minister to the University.

McFarland summed up, “Because of this great family’s effort we have turned what once was a storage area that looked nothing like a collegiate pool into a facility that makes a beautiful campus that much better.”

To learn how you can support the growth and development of Chowan University, contact Vice President for Development John Tayloe at or (252) 398-1233.