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Jimmy T. Tate, Ed.D., President

Dr. Tate is the former President, Roanoke Chowan Community College and Chief of Staff at North Carolina Central University; he served nearly 10 years as an elected official as a Pender County Commissioner and Board Chair, and on numerous Boards and Commissions including the Pender Memorial Hospital Board of Directors and Southeastern North Carolina Economic Development Commission. He is extremely dedicated to help rural communities reach their full potential. He has served as a Board of Trustees Member with Elizabeth City State University and Cape Fear Community College and many boards and commissions locally, state, and national levels including previously serving as a member of Duke University Medical School Rural Health Advisory Board. Recently in 2019, he was appointed by the North Carolina Senate, to serve on the State of North Carolina Minority Advisory Committee. Dr. Tate, has conducted extensive research and lectures on rural leadership development. He teaches in the Political Science Department at the University of North Carolina and serves in various other capacities.


Reverend Ronald K. Henry, Sr., M.C.E., Vice President

Reverend Henry is a graduate of Campbell University Divinity School. He is a native of Currie, North Carolina. Reverend Henry has a strong passion for helping others and rural communities. He is currently serving as the Senior Pastor of St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church in Conway, South Carolina.

Mary Lisa Robinson, M.H.A., Executive Director

Ms. Robinson, is a longtime native of the rural community of Willard. She also invested the majority of her career achievement in the State of Maryland, where she served in the field of Healthcare Administration Fiscal Services Management. She is a proud graduate of Bowie State University. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Psychology and a Masters Degree in Healthcare Administration. Ms. Robinson, is also a member of the Wallace Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, representing the Business Community.



Melvin Felton, M.A., M.C.E., Secretary/Treasurer

Mr. Felton is a proud graduate of North Carolina Central University. He holds two master degrees in History and Christian Education. He is a long time instructor of history with James Sprunt Community College where he also served as Diversity Specialist working with special needs students and students coming from diverse backgrounds. He serves on the Legal Aid Advisory Board in the City of Wilmington and on numerous other boards throughout the Southeastern region.

Mr. Alex Flores, Board Member

President, W and L Demolition, LLC

Mr. Alex Flores is originally from Los Angeles. California but moved to Southeastern North
Carolina when he was 10 years old. He graduated from James Kenan High School in Warsaw,
NC and attended Saint Augustine’s University on a football scholarship. Mr. Flores has always
considered himself an entrepreneur and is currently the Founder and President of W and L
Demolition which has completed major projects throughout the East Coast. He has been a
precious member of the North Carolina Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Flores enjoys
spending time with his family and supporting events and programs that provide new and
expanded opportunities for people.

Dr. James Arthur Holmes, Board Member

Professor, Shaw University

A Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholar, Historian and Social ethicist, Dr. James Arthur Holmes has taught at Allen University, Mt. Calvary University, Roanoke Chowan Community College, Shaw University and the University of South Carolina. He served as Historical Consultant for the AME Church in SC and co-authored African Methodism in South Carolina (1987) where he institutionalized the name “Mother Emanuel” for the historic church in Charleston where nine members were killed by a gunman. He recently published Black Nationalism and Theodicy (2021) a ground-breaking work that focuses on Black suffering and the hope of Liberation.   Dr. Holmes co-founded Mt. Calvary University, Burgaw, NC.  Dr. Holmes has numerous academic and civic awards including the key to the city of Southport, NC.  Dr. Holmes is a former well decorated Army Captain.  He provided a lecture to an international Yemen Delegation on the Role of the Black Church in the Civil Rights Movement” sponsored by the US Department of State.   Dr. Holmes toured Israel and provided a lecture on the “History of the African American   Church” to a group of Jewish scholars.   Dr. Holmes holds the B.A. degree, Allen University, the M.Div. Degree the Interdenominational Theological enter, the S.T.M. and Ph.D. degrees Boston University and the Honorary D.H.L. Mt. Calvary University.  He is listed in Who’s Who in Black America and he is a member of the Omega Si Phi Fraternity.

Ms. Melissa Long, Board Member

Deputy Clerk, New Hanover County Board of Commissioners

Ms. Melissa Long is a native of Wilmington, NC. She is committed to public service and has invested much of her career in Pender County having served as the Clerk to the Pender County Board of Commissioners from 2015-2021. She now serves as the Deputy Clerk to the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners. She is a graduate of Cape Fear Community College and she obtained her certificate in Leadership and Management through the first Pender County Cohort of Mt. Calvary’s Leadership Program. She is a Certified Municipal Clerk as well as a North Carolina Certified County Clerk. She is an active member of Shiloh Baptist Church and a member of the Burgaw Rotary Club. She has a passion for giving back to her community, a community which has shaped the person she is today.

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