Dr. Jerry E. McGee, a native of Rockingham, N.C., has two sons Ryan, a graduate of the University of Tennessee, who is a senior writer for ESPN the Magazine and Sam, a graduate of Wake Forest University and Yale Law School, who is a practicing attorney. Dr. McGee has three grandchildren Tara, Hannah and Brooks McGee. He was married to Hannah Covington McGee for 33 years before her death in 1999, and married Marcella McInnis in 2009.
McGee has served as president of Wingate University since 1992 and is N.C.'s longest-serving college or university president. He received his undergraduate degree from East Carolina University, holds a master's degree from Appalachian State University and a doctorate from Nova University.
McGee has enjoyed much success during his more than 40 years in higher education securing hundreds of millions of dollars in gifts and grants for scholarships, endowments and campus development.
Under his leadership Wingate University has been recognized as one of the best small liberal arts colleges in the Southeast and the premier small private university in North Carolina. During McGee's 23-year presidency, Wingate's enrollment increased by more than 125 percent, achieved university status, became a doctoral-granting institution, began a school of pharmacy, built more than 35 new campus facilities, and added campuses in south Charlotte (Ballantyne) and Hendersonville, N.C.
One of McGee's more interesting pursuits was refereeing NCAA Division I college football games. McGee officiated at 404 college games in more than 36 years, 20 of them bowl games, ending with the 2009 BCS national championship game. He is a member of the WU Athletic Hall of Fame, the South Atlantic Conference (SAC) Athletic Hall of Fame and North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame.
The president is actively involved in the community. He's served on the Board of Directors of the North Carolina affiliate of Fifth Third Bank, was a district governor of Civitan International and chairman of Union County Economic Development. McGee was inducted into the Union County Business Leaders Hall of Fame, served as chairman of the Presidents' Council of North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU) and chair of the Presidents’ Council of the South Atlantic Conference. In 2008, he was named a Distinguished Alumnus of East Carolina University.
McGee is the author of two books, "The Sitting and Talking Place," which tells of his special relationship with his maternal grandfather, and "Roberdell - A Village of Grace" which describes life in the small textile community where he grew up. In 2006, Dr. McGee received North Carolina’s highest civilian honor, The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, in recognition of his extraordinary service to the state.
McGee announced his retirement in April 2014. His final official duties as president will conclude with Wingate’s 119th Commencement on Saturday, May 16, 2015.