A dentist and his wife who helped many low-income students attend college and a corporate executive were awarded honorary doctorate degrees Sunday at Johnson C. Smith University’s 142nd commencement ceremony.
Robert Niblock, chairman and CEO of Lowe’s Companies Inc., was guest speaker at the event, which took place in beautiful weather at the university’s Irwin Belk Athletic Complex.
Honorary doctorate degrees were given to the late Dr. Spurgeon Webber Jr., Loretta Jean Webber and to Niblock.
Niblock, a UNC Charlotte graduate, has been with Lowe’s since 1993 and also is a board member of ConocoPhillips and the Retail Industry Leaders Association.
Spurgeon Webber Jr., who died in 2011, operated a dental clinic for five decades and was the first African-American to serve on the N.C. State Board of Dental Examiners. He and his wife, Loretta Jean, established scholarships and endowments at Johnson C. Smith University, Hampton University, Meharry Medical College, Winston-Salem State University and Central Piedmont Community College. Loretta Jean Webber, a former nurse, also has been a corporate executive.