Wingate receives $20.9 million from sale of Park Road Shopping Ctr.

Wingate, N.C. – Wingate University has received a $20.9 million gift from its portion of the sale of Park Road Shopping Center, which was donated last month to Wingate, Wake Forest and Queens universities by owner Porter B. Byrum. The multi-million dollar gift is the largest single gift in Wingate’s history and will be used to establish an endowed scholarship and for educational programs, expansion of the cultural arts and enhancements to the campus. Wake Forest, which is Mr. Byrum’s alma mater, received the largest percentage of revenues from the sale, with the remainder equally divided between Queens University and Wingate University.

In keeping with Mr. Byrum’s wishes, Park Road Shopping Center will continue operating as a retail center under its new owners, Edens & Avant, one of the nation's leading real estate leasing agents and developers.

“Mr. Byrum’s generosity will be transformational for Wingate University as it impacts our students, faculty and staff for years to come,” said Wingate University President Jerry E. McGee. University trustees and the president will be working out the details of those projects and scholarship arrangements in the coming weeks.

“This gift will have a lasting impact on Wingate by enabling more students to receive financial support as well as enhance their residential experience and classroom learning,” said Dr. McGee. “We appreciate the opportunities this gift will provide to give students the tools and support they need to excel in academics and apply that learning toward an extraordinary career and life.”

First opened in 1956, Park Road Shopping Center was the first open air shopping center in Charlotte, and the largest of its kind between Washington D.C. and Atlanta. Purchased by Mr. Byrum in 1967, Park Road has enjoyed virtually 100% occupancy for the last 44 years and has enjoyed unparalleled community support in an often-volatile retail market.

Byrum, a Charlotte attorney and businessman, grew up in eastern North Carolina and moved to Charlotte to practice law after graduation from Wake Forest Law School in 1942. This is not his first donation to schools. He donated land in Union County for the Porter Ridge schools in Indian Trail. The elementary, middle and high schools are named after him. He provided funding for Wingate’s newest residence hall, which opened this year. He also serves on the Wingate University Board of Trustees.

Founded in 1896, Wingate University is a comprehensive university with more than 2,300 students on three campuses in Wingate, Matthews and Hendersonville, N.C. The university offers 34 undergraduate majors, 37 minors and career concentrations, numerous pre-professional programs, graduate degrees in business, accounting, education, physician assistant studies and sport administration, and doctorates in pharmacy and education. With a 14 to 1 student/teacher ratio, Wingate students gain the tools and support they need to excel in academics and apply that learning toward an extraordinary career and life. The campus community offers in-class learning, out-of-class experiences, strong mentors, a competitive yet caring environment and rewarding community service opportunities for a complete educational experience.

In addition to a robust intramural athletics program, Wingate student athletes compete in 19 NCAA Division II sports, and the University has won the South Atlantic Conference Echols Athletic Excellence Award for the past five years.
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