A new scholarship has been established at Catawba College in memory of the late automobile dealer, Hubert B. Parks of Kernersville. The Michael and Parks First Family Scholarship was created through gifts from Catawba alumnus and automobile dealer Chester A. "Junie" Michael, III '70 of Mooresville and his wife, Teresa, and the family of Hubert Parks.
Preference for the Michael and Parks First Family Scholarship will be given to deserving children of Carolina Dealerships employees. These students must meet the minimum requirements to receive a First Family Scholarship at Catawba, a 3.5 GPA and an 1150 SAT. If there are no scholarship applicants from children of Carolina Dealerships, second preference for the scholarship will be given to deserving students from Forsyth, Davidson and Iredell counties.
According to Parks' widow, Joellen, her husband, a UNC Chapel Hill graduate, believed in the power of education and would be quietly pleased with a scholarship bearing his name and that of his longtime business partner, Junie Michael.
"Teresa and I are excited to collaborate with the Parks family to set up a scholarship like this to benefit the children of our employees. We feel this is a meaningful way that we can give back and we know that the scholarship will have a positive effect on future generations and on my alma mater," Michael explains.
"You know the saying, 'to those to whom much is given, much is expected?' This scholarship is one way the Michaels and the Parks can share our blessings with the very people, our employees, who have helped us achieve them."
Hubert Parks grew up on a tobacco farm in Rockingham County and attended public school in Wentworth. After graduating from high school, he joined the U.S. Army and served in Europe. After his military service, he returned home and worked for the N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT). He continued to work for the NCDOT during the summers, while he attended UNC Chapel Hill.
Parks began his career in the automotive industry in the 1950s, working for Modern Chevrolet in Winston-Salem. He eventually entered a partnership to open Ideal Rambler in that same city. In 1967, he purchased an automobile dealership, Parks Chevrolet in Kernersville, and from this flagship dealership, his business interests developed. At the time of his death, he had ownership in dealerships across North Carolina, including Asheboro, Cary, Charlotte, Durham, Garner, High Point, Huntersville, Raleigh, Rocky Mount and Wilmington, as well as business interests in various real estate ventures.
Junie Michael knew Hubert Parks for over 30 years and was a business partner of Parks in many ventures. Michael and his brother, Tim, partnered with Parks to purchase Capital Ford in Raleigh in 1985. That dealership currently registers more vehicles than any dealership in the Carolinas.
Michael has fond memories of his late business partner who loved his family, his church, Centenary United Methodist Church, Atlanta Braves baseball, and eating ice cream. "Hubert and I were always competitors, long before we were partners and even up until he sold his last Chevy," Michael said. "Hubert's philosophy was much like my father's in that he felt being competitive made you much stronger and independent. He didn't give you much slack in a business deal, but would give you the shirt off his back.
"Our best deal was purchasing Capital Ford in Raleigh with my brother, Tim," Michael continued. "Hubert always had the vision in our relationship. When we visited the store before purchasing, I thought there was no way this would be a good deal, but Hubert's vision and my brother's hard work have made this the number one Ford Dealership in the Southeast.
"Hubert taught me how to think out of the box and the value of a true friend. We traveled many miles and spent thousands of hours together without one cross word. We enjoyed a friendship that few people have experienced."
Michael, a Catawba College trustee who owns and operates Parkway Ford in Winston-Salem, is also affiliated, as was Parks, with other automobile dealerships and related businesses that make up Carolina Dealerships. These include Mooresville Ford in Mooresville; Capital Ford in Wilmington; Parks Chevrolet in Kernersville; Parks Automotive, Inc. in High Point; Parks Chevrolet in Charlotte; Parks-at-the-Lake in Huntersville; North Point Chrysler Jeep Dodge in Winston-Salem; Beach Ford in Myrtle Beach, S.C. ; Myrtle Beach Chevrolet Cadillac of Myrtle Beach, S.C. ; Volvo of the Triad in Winston-Salem; University Ford Kia of Durham; Capital Nissan of Wilmington in Wilmington; Capital Ford Rocky Mount in Rocky Mount; Capital Lincoln Mazda in Cary; Capital Ford in Raleigh; Capital Chrysler Jeep Dodge of Garner; University Ford North in Durham; University Ford CH in Chapel Hill; Quality Care Center in Durham; and Colonial Harley Davidson in Prince George, Va.
"Junie continues to serve his alma mater in incredible ways," noted Catawba Senior Vice President Tom Childress. "He gives of his time in service on the Board of Trustees, but he also gives of his resources to benefit others. This latest scholarship that Junie, Teresa, and the Parks family have established at Catawba speaks volumes about the type of people they are. They care about their employees and want their employees' children to enjoy the benefits of higher education. Their scholarship will have far-reaching impacts well into the future."