Rod Joyner: NCCU, Class of 1984

I had initially ruled out NC Central because my father was an alumni, and I didn’t want to be one of those legacy kids — “Oh, you only came here because of your father.”  I’m from Greensboro, and I didn’t want to stay in Greensboro, so that is why A&T was out.

I had applied to UNC Chapel Hill and NC State and was accepted at both. My high school was a good college prep school with great people, some of whom I am still friends with to this day.   

Even though A&T was out of contention, I was still interested in attending an HBCU.  After screening other North Carolina schools, I returned to NCCU, which was far enough from Greensboro but not too far if I needed anything.  I then applied and was accepted.  I was offered a four-year Chancellors Scholarship with NCCU. UNC-Chapel Hill offered me a one-year grant and the “prestige of attending Carolina.” 

The deciding factor was that I wanted to be at a smaller school where I got to know my instructors, other staff and fellow students.  In August 1980 I entered NCCU as a freshman and never looked back. 

Remembering the rivalry

One of my fondest memories was going to an Aggie-Eagle game when it was played in Greensboro my senior year. I went and visited my Phi Beta Sigma brothers on the Aggie side. Our two chapters have always had a great relationship. But when it comes to our schools playing each other in sports, there was still a lot of smack talk on both sides.

In any event, I stayed on the Aggie for quite a while, cheering the Eagles loudly, especially when they got touchdowns.  All of the Aggies around us really wanted to say more but didn’t because I was “with my brothers.” 

Finally one of my Aggie Sigma brothers said, “You know, it would have been a fight over here today if you weren’t a frat.  Get out of here with that noise.” 

“You only mad ’cause we winning,” I replied.  “Now if Central was losing and I was trying to leave, ya’ll have been like,’ where you going? Go on and take your medicine.’”

It was all love then, and all love now.  By the way, NCCU won that game. 

Fondest memories

I can list a lot of parties, coronations, concerts or even the 25th Anniversary March on Washington as some of my fondest memories. But I must say that being selected to represent NCCU in the summer of 1982 for the Raleigh Durham Consortium research project is definitely one. 

All of the colleges in the Durham and Raleigh area were members. It was financially sponsored by the U.S. government and consisted of research topics on economic and/or social effects on Black people in Canada. We traveled from Raleigh to different parts of Canada in one of (then) St Augustine College’s school vans and were paid a weekly stipend. 

I got to see the international flavor of Montreal, ordered from KFC in Quebec City, stayed overnight in a monastery, and enjoyed the down homeness of Halifax, Nova Scotia. (Fun Side Note: one of the young ladies from Meredith College on the trip became Miss North Carolina a few years later.)

This year I look forward to the regional and national spotlight shined on NCCU and having an HBCU Bowl game (and festivities) in North Carolina. Other states have had them for years; it’s now North Carolina’s time.

I’m also looking forward to enjoying the weekend with family, friends and fellow alumni, and most important — winning the game!

Charlotte is about to be lit.


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