LUMBERTON — As a trustee for The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Kellie Blue says she was able to have an impact on the quality and affordability of education for UNCP students.
Now, as a member-elect of the University of North Carolina’s Board of Governors, she hopes she will be able to have a more “global” impact on students attending all of the university system’s 17 campuses, including UNCP
“I want to continue to enhance the educational system for our students and make higher education for our students more affordable,” Blue said Thursday, just one day after being appointed by the state House of Representatives to the 32-member board, which will soon be trimmed to 24. . “I am looking forward to working in collaboration with the other members of the board for the greater good of student education.”
Blue, 45, was one of six people appointed Wednesday to serve as House-selected board members. She was nominated by Reps. Brenden Jones, a Republican, and Charles Graham, a Democrat, both of whom represent Robeson County. She mustered 95 of the 120 available votes, including those of Robeson County’s other two House members, Democrats Garland Pierce and Ken Goodman.
“I am truly honored. I was really nervous until the final votes were cast,” she said. “You never know what might happen. A five to seven vote difference could change the outcome.”
Blue must now relinquish her position as UNCP board of trustees chairperson in order to serve on the Board of Governors. She will begin serving on the Board of Governors in June or July.
She believes serving on the board will benefit Robeson County in a variety of areas, not just education. She specifically pointed to economic development.
“Fostering relationships is extremely important,” she said. “The more relationships I can foster as a member of the board the more helpful for the county.”
County Manager Ricky Harris said Blue will do a great job on the noard.
“This is fantastic for Kellie, fantastic for the county and just fantastic period,” Harris said. “I know she will do a good job.”
Blue said she has always been a strong advocate of providing quality higher education to students at an affordable cost.
“One of my goals is to see that we can educate our students through their graduation and keep them out of debt as much as possible.”
Blue, a lifelong resident of Pembroke, is currently Robeson County’s finance director and interim General Services manager. On numerous occasions she has been publicly commended by members of the Robeson County Board of Commissioners for her management of county money.
After graduating from UNCP in 1993 with a bachelor of science degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting, Blue took a job as an internal auditor with Southern National Bank, which is now BB&T.
Before going to work for Robeson County as an assistant finance director, Blue worked with the Lumber River Council of Governments.
The most recent member of the Board of Governors from Robeson County was Dick Taylor, owner and operator of Taylor Insurance Agency in Lumberton.
Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.