Miniature maker Barry Roberson ’80 recently showcased “Pfeiffer University: A Place That Changed My Life”, his latest project, during Scott Mason’s “Tarheel Traveler” segment on WRAL-TV’s evening newscast.
Roberson, a former history major at Pfeiffer, received the University’s Outstanding Alumni Award in Fall 2020. In 2012, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and Progressive Supranuclear Palsy.
Roberson’s miniature-making, which has received national media attention, serves two purposes. First, it has brought renewed attention to his medical issues and what can be done as supportive therapy. As a recent News and Observer story pointed out, his hands stop shaking when he works on his miniatures. Second, Roberson gives away most of his creations to kids with life-threatening diseases and to charities throughout the South, having started a ministry for that purpose.
As for the “Tarheel Traveler” segment, Roberson said that he talked a great deal about Pfeiffer with Mason when he and his crew came to film today’s segment because he was working on the “Pfeiffer University” miniature at the time.
“Pfeiffer University: A Place That Changed My Life” consists of several box-like scenic elements, each of which illuminates various images associated with Pfeiffer, from the train that runs through the middle of campus to Freddie the Falcon, the University’s mascot. The piece can be seen as Roberson’s way of thanking the University for all it has given him.
“Pfeiffer’s been good to me,” he said. “It’s where I met my wife. None of this would be possible without her.”
Roberson’s wife is Dawn Glenn Roberson, a Pfeiffer alumna of the Class of 1981.
“Pfeiffer University: The Place That Changed My Life” is Roberson’s second work with a pro-Pfeiffer theme. In 2019, he made “The Joe,” a miniature baseball field, in honor of Joseph Ferebee (d. 2020), Pfeiffer’s legendary baseball coach, on the occasion of his 100th birthday.