A friend of a friend-Gregg Givens and Paul Givens-April 5

One thing I have learned is that good friends have other good friends. This is a series of stories about “friends of my friends”. The post below is the story for April 5,2015.

My goal in 2015 is to learn or get reacquainted with 365 people and doing a daily post on the “the friend of a friend” is helping me get closer to my goal.

In 1979 Pembroke State University (currently known as UNC Pembroke) was looking for a new chancellor to replace the retiring Dr. English E. Jones. UNC President William “Bill” Friday nominated Dr. Paul Givens from Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois to the UNC Board of Governors and he was approved. Paul Givens became Pembroke’s Chancellor on July 1, 1979 and served in that capacity for 10 years. He was a friend that gave me my first opportunity to become a head coach.

I left Pembroke in 1980 to become an assistant basketball coach at Western Carolina University. Five years later he supported Dr. Ray Pennington’s decision to hire me as an Pembroke’s head basketball coach when Billy Lee left to go to Campbell.

During Paul’s tenure, a number of physical changes occurred at Pembroke including the construction of Adolph L. Dial Humanities Building and the James B. Chavis University Center.

Dr. Givens helped then Pembroke State University to celebrate its centennial in 1987. The centennial was the centerpiece of one of the University’s most successful fundraising campaigns.

He had an easy-going, genteel style that helped the University expand its reach into North Carolina. He was the first president of Robeson County’s Committee of 100, and he became friends with many area business leaders and established an Office of Economic Development. A lot of those friends like Wayne Evans and Joe Sandlin also became his golfing buddies.
In his first year at the helm, Paul reached out to alumni, establishing chapters in Charlotte, Greensboro and Fayetteville.

There was also progress in academic and scholarship programs during the Givens’ era. The Chancellor’s Scholars program came to campus, and the American Indian Studies program was established.

During his ten-year tenure, Paul Givens helped get the broadcasting program created, and the Herbert C. Oxendine Science Building received major renovations and an addition.

Paul Givens died Sunday, October 24, 2004. He was 80 at the time of his death. In 1985 the board of trustees at UNC Pembroke voted to name the performing arts center on campus the Paul R. Givens Performing Arts Center.

Paul was married to Lee Givens and they had three sons, Gregg, Stann and Rodney; one daughter, Deborah. Son Gregg was someone dad was proud of because of his career in higher education at East Carolina University.

The Friend – PAUL GIVENS


The Friend of the Friend – GREGG GIVENS-depicted in shirt and tie


Strengthen the Givens legacy

Gregg Givens made his dad proud when in 1981 he accepted a job offer to become an associate professor at East Carolina University in the Department of Communication Sciences. His dad even become prouder when his oldest son Gregg was awarded full professor in 1986.
For the last 34 years Gregg Givens has been one of the top researchers in his ongoing work to develop software and portable hardware that will enable audiologists to conduct hearing tests remotely. His research work has created a system that allows for researchers to remotely assess hearing through basic server-based or cloud-based technology. There is no other system like this in the world. The importance is to reach people who don’t have hearing health care. With this system, neither the audiologist nor the patient has to have a computer.

Gregg is professor emeritus, audiologist,and chair of ECU’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

He and his dad Paul Givens have given the people of North Carolina something good to listen to. Whether it’s a concert at Givens Performing Arts Center or improving hearing diagnostics the Givens name resonates.


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