When I interviewed for Wingate’s presidency, I communicated my desire to stake out a bold vision for our University that would provide direction for a comprehensive strategic plan. The vision and planning objectives would be aligned with a facilities plan (“places and spaces”) and supported by our operating budget, fundraising efforts and capital strategy.
Letters from the President
One day a few years ago, when I was shuttling my son to baseball practice, he asked me a question that sons often ask their fathers. “When you were my age, what did you want to be when you grew up?” “I don’t know,” I said. “Probably some type of ball player.”
In my first semester as a transfer to Wingate, I was taking a literature class with Bob Doak to meet my general education requirement. At the time, I thought I was going to be a math major, but David Rowe would later gently guide me to a major that actually matched up with my talents and interests.
First and foremost, being an alumna or alumnus of Wingate University is a mutually beneficial relationship that lasts a lifetime. We want the University to be a touchstone for navigating life’s seasons, opportunities and challenges. And we need your continued support as we attempt to pay forward the life-changing qualities of our education.
Because I was an undergraduate English major with minors in history and French, I spent a lot of time in Burris Hall. My academic advisor (more aptly described as my mentor) was Dr. Bob Doak, and I spent countless hours in his office seeking guidance and working as his student assistant. I led group tutoring in Burris for his Linguistics class on many Friday afternoons.
You could say it’s in our DNA. Wingate School was founded in 1896 to serve the counties of Union (in North Carolina) and Chesterfield (in South Carolina) by providing educational opportunities to young people before publicly funded education was available to all.
Growing up, I didn’t really think about attending a specific university. No one in my immediate family had gone to college, but my parents and grandparents were committed to my going. So when it came time to choose, my primary goal was simply to keep playing football – selecting a major and getting a degree were secondary considerations.
Growing up in Pelion, S.C., I attended the Methodist church along with a few relatives and friends, and everyone else I knew attended either the Lutheran church or the Baptist church. Three choices – that was the scope of my faith continuum.
A number of years ago, as I was studying the concept of “organizational identity,” I interviewed approximately 25 undergraduates and asked them what was central, enduring and distinctive about their Wingate education. All the students who had participated in the University’s W’International study-abroad program immediately named it as one of their most central, enduring and distinctive
If you’ve had the misfortune of hearing me speak on multiple occasions, you’ll know that I tend to repeat myself. I can’t help but think that some stories are just too good to share with only one audience. My kids might not agree, since often the stories are about them, but we only have so many life experiences to draw from, and what happens at home is often foremost in my mind.