Family honors Bea Brayboy with scholarship

PEMBROKE – The family of Beatrice “Bea” Brayboy has established an endowed scholarship in her honor to benefit a student studying Spanish at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

Her husband, Ray Brayboy, led the scholarship drive, and with the help of children Shannon, Jake and Mary Beth, they have recently surpassed the $10,000 endowment level.

Ray Brayboy, who served as superintendent of Bladen County Schools in the 1990s, said a scholarship at UNCP made good philanthropic and business sense.

“Our time at the college was great, yet they were fairly challenging times in terms of being able to find the necessary financial resources,” he said. “We recently internalized that now was the time to give back something of worth to the first higher education institution that believed in us and enabled us to achieve our dreams of obtaining a college degree.”

Ray said his wife’s career in education motivated him. A Spanish language teacher for 34 years, Bea was voted Bladen County Teacher of the Year and teacher of the year at schools in Scotland, Wayne and Marlboro counties.

“Bea was a champion for the use of active learning in the teaching and learning process,” Ray said. “She was also a firm believer that a teacher must first love her students before she could effectively teach them.”

From the Saddletree community of Robeson County, Bea studied under Reba Lowry, who was an inspiring Spanish teacher at the college. Like her mentor, Bea encouraged many of her students to become teachers.

During her freshman year in college, she met her future husband and they married in August 1970. During his tenure, Brayboy rose through the ranks of public education and eventually served as superintendent of two North Carolina public school districts and one South Carolina public school district.

Bea also nurtured three successful children — Shannon is an assistant principal in Scotland County, Jake is a physician and Mary Beth is interim director of UNCP’s Office of Regional Initiatives.

It was the genuine interest recently shown to the Ray and Beatrice Locklear Brayboy family by former Chancellor Kyle Carter and Wendy Lowery, vice chancellor for advancement, which eventually inspired them to contribute to UNCP at this level.

“Those two senior-level university representatives reached out to the Brayboys in a very personal and determined manner and convinced us that this was the most meaningful way to support the institution,” Ray Bayboy said.

The Brayboy family is also excited to hear of the appointment of Robin Cummings as the next Chancellor of UNCP.

“We are especially pleased that he has expressed a commitment to channeling a great deal of his energy toward obtaining additional financial resources for the institution,” they said. “We are confident he will make a major positive impact within the university, community, region and, indeed, statewide during his tenure; and we look forward to joining hands with him in advancing the core mission of UNCP.”

For information about this scholarship or others, contact the Office of Advancement at 910-521-6252 or email

Scott Bigelow is the media relations director at UNCP.