A defining moment

“Dr. Elson Floyd told me: ‘This paper says that you—James—because of your background, will most likely not graduate from Carolina. You have to prove them wrong, James. You have to!’ That was a defining moment for me. I buckled down. I knew what I had to do—I had to prove them wrong.”

As a first-year student from Spring Hope, North Carolina, James Wellons ’82 was overwhelmed, considered leaving Carolina even. But he sought the counsel of the late Dr. Floyd, then special assistant to the vice chancellor and dean of the division of student affairs, who told him he could be a statistic or he could make a difference.

Wellons went on to prove the statistics wrong. And he recently created a named fund to help students cover the cost of attending Summer Bridge—a six-week academic program in which they take a college-level English course along with a math or science course the summer after they’re accepted to UNC. Students like Wellons, who hail from rural areas and small towns in North Carolina, learn to navigate the university system, ultimately helping them to succeed at Carolina.

Read the complete Carolina Story from the College of Arts and Sciences…

This is story number 74 in the Carolina Stories 225th Anniversary Edition magazine.

Related Stories

A pitch-perfect career

How to Heal a Broken Heart

Celebrating a Presidential Day