Len Holmes cringed as he recalled being engulfed in a thick blanket of humidity after he stepped off the airplane at the Fayetteville Regional Airport in the summer of 1990. 

“I was coming from the cold, dry Wasatch Mountains of Logan, Utah,” Holmes said. “As soon as they opened the door to the plane, I said, ‘holy cow!’ It was hot and humid.” 

“It was a different world.” 

Holmes moved to North Carolina to teach chemistry at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. He fell in love with the university and the local community, particularly the American Indian community. 

“The Lumbee people have been good to me,” he said. “I love them. After 26 years, I can relate to their culture.” 

Living in Robeson County for more than two decades, Holmes also recognized the need for medical professionals in this area. 

“There just aren’t enough doctors here,” he said. “We all have a go-to mechanic. We need a go-to doctor or nurse, or someone in any aspect of medical science.” 

To help fill this void, he established the Leonard and Hickory Holmes Medical Career Endowed Scholarship at UNC Pembroke. 

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