The Alphin Brothers
“Carolina’s been good to us — there’s no question about that,” said Oliver “Al” Alphin `58 of Durham, North Carolina.
Al grew up in a family of 10 children on a tobacco farm in Duplin County. With both parents working as teachers, education was extremely important to the Alphin family, which led Al and three of his brothers to attend Carolina with support from the GI Bill.
“Ten kids on a tobacco farm does not bring much prosperity,” said Al. “My dad always thought that education was the only way forward, and I believe that, too. I am the product of that, so I want to help other people in similar circumstances,” said Al.
Al recently established the William Jackson “Jack” Alphin and Linda Best Alphin Scholarship Fund in honor of his younger brother, Jack Alphin `63, and sister-in-law, Linda Best Alphin, of Raleigh, North Carolina. This is the third scholarship that Al has given at Carolina to honor his family. Al gives the scholarships in his siblings’ names to celebrate their accomplishments and successes rather than his own.
The purpose of these gifts is not only to pay tribute to the achievements of Al’s family members, but also to provide the means for North Carolinians like Al and his siblings to have the opportunity to experience higher education.
“My intent is to help other people from the same background go to college,” said Al. “That’s been my motivation, to help other people. I am a firm believer that the only upward mobility that people have is through education.”
Al establishedthis particular scholarship to honor his brother Jack. With support from Carolina’s Forever Blue Matching Fund, it is Al’s preference that the scholarships go to students from Wake, Durham, Duplin or Pender counties— the places the Alphin family has called home. Al hopes that by sharing the experiences of his family members who inspired him to give to Carolina, others will be incentivized to give what they can as well.
Al’s brother Jack, for whom this scholarship is named, worked extremely hard during his time at Carolina, graduating with a degree in business administration in just three years.
“We worked our way through school,” said Jack. “All of us did — so I was able to graduate without any debt. Since then, I’ve been working to ensure that my family members are able to graduate debt free, too. That’s always been really important to me.”
Following his time at Carolina, Jack went on to pursue an impressive career in business. Upon graduation, Jack started out working for American Motors, then spent the bulk of his career working for IBM. He has been working in commercial real estate since retiring from IBM at the early age of 50.
“I’m proud of Al for wanting to give this scholarship,” said Jack. “It means a lot to me. Our parents always stressed education. They had the foresight even back in the early 1900s to recognize the importance of higher education. So, we want to keep on doing that for our family and for others.”