Crowder Welcome Center
With renovations completed in mid-2021, the Crowder Welcome Center is alive with activity – Admissions is hosting new Bulldog families, professors are teaching in the demonstration classroom, students are chatting with friends in Huntley Commons, and the Cindy Jordan Campus store is open and selling tons of Bulldog merch. The University has named (or renamed) spaces inside the building to honor several selfless community servants who have given of their time, talents and treasure to make a difference in the lives of all who pass this way.
A Charlotte native and 1968 Wingate graduate, Bill Crowder is director and executive vice president for Crowder Construction and a United States Army veteran. Over the years, he has led disaster recovery efforts following floods, tornadoes and hurricanes and has been recognized by the president of the United States as well as awarded North Carolina’s Order of the Long Leaf Pine. A former member of the Board of Visitors, he has served on Wingate’s Board of Trustees since 2016 and helped start Wingate’s Student Veterans Organization. Bill served on the board of the Charlotte Rescue Mission and played an integral role in the construction of the Dove’s Nest women’s facility in 2012. He has served many years as a board member and volunteer with Alexander Youth Network. An elder at Philadelphia Presbyterian Church in Mint Hill, he is a longtime Sunday School teacher. Bill and his wife, the former Pam McLaughlin, have known one another since age 4. They married in 1970 and have two married sons and four grandchildren.
The Charles A. Cannon Charitable Trust Number One provided generous support for the Crowder Welcome Center, continuing Mr. Cannon's commitment to higher education and his legacy of philanthropy. The late Budd Smith, Wingate’s president from 1953 to 1974, once described Cannon as “a dedicated American businessman believing in everything that was good and also willing to participate in making it better.” Over the years, Wingate has received numerous gifts from the Cannon Foundation, the Charles A. Cannon Charitable Trusts Nos. 1 and 2, and the Mariam and Robert Hayes Charitable Trust. Mariam Cannon Hayes, for whom Wingate’s Hayes building was named, was Charles and Ruth Cannon’s daughter. The University is also the caretaker of the Charles A. Cannon Collection of personal papers. Mr. Cannon (1892-1971) is memorialized on campus with a statue next to Austin Auditorium.
Our admissions suite is named in memory of dedicated Wingate employee, friend, and honorary doctorate recipient Frank Davis, who spent three decades working in higher education and was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine. He served his alma mater, Berry College, as well as Brevard College, the University of Alabama at Huntsville, Mercer University and Wingate University. Frank joined The Cannon Foundation in 1998 and became its executive director in 2000. Under his leadership, the Foundation continued to expand its influence, making grants across the state and providing considerable support for difference-making projects on our campus.
A native of Clover, South Carolina, C.C. Dickson Sr. credited the farm work he did as a young man with teaching him the value of honest labor, frugality and stewardship. After attending Kings Business College, he joined his uncle in the R.S. Dickson Inc. investment banking firm. He founded his own HVAC and refrigeration parts and supplies company in 1953, and was a founding member of Myers Park Baptist Church in Charlotte. Mr. Dickson held a lifetime membership on the Board of Governors for the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas and was a member of the Charlotte Civitan Club and the Goodfellows Club. He was close friends with longtime Wingate trustee W.T. Harris and with former Wingate president Thomas Corts. Having provided investment advice to Fannie D. Palmer over the course of four decades, he was tapped to lead the Fannie D. Palmer Foundation upon her death.
Fulton Allen Huntley, a former chairman of the Wingate College Board of Trustee, led the fundraising efforts for the construction of the Dickson-Palmer Building. He, along with family members, organized and was an owner of the Allen Stores, a small grocery chain, and the Wadesboro Hardware and Electric Company. Later he became president and chairman of the board of West Knitting Mills and served on the board of directors of the National Knitwear Manufacturers Association. Loved and respected for his friendly humor, he was president of Anson Savings & Loan for a time period and also was a member of the corporate board of United Carolina Bank. “Fully,” as he was called, attended North Carolina State College. He served stints on the Anson County Board of Education and the Anson County Commissioners. As a Rotarian, he was recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow. A faithful member of First Baptist in Wadesboro, he served the church as a trustee, deacon and Sunday School teacher.
Cindy Jordan ran the Wingate University bookstore for 37 years and made a difference in the lives of countless students, employees and visitors through her helpful guidance, warmth and contagious smile. Hers was the friendly face that students would see as they browsed for a Wingate sweatshirt or panic-bought a book for class. “Miss Cindy” cherished the years the bookstore was located in Dickson-Palmer, because she saw the comings and goings of students and knew as much about what was going on on campus as anyone. After a brief move to Main Street, the book store is back in Dickson-Palmer.
It was a $500,000 contribution from the Fannie D. Palmer Foundation that kicked off the fund drive for the construction of the Dickson-Palmer Center in the 1970s. Mrs. Palmer had a lifelong interest in education. Her parents donated the land for the community school in the Stanly County community where she grew up. After attending Dry School and Big Lick Academy, she studied at the Sunshine Academy in western North Carolina and spent many years teaching in one-room schools in Stanly and Cabarrus counties. A member and Sunday School teacher at First Baptist Church in Albemarle, Miss Fannie, as she was affectionately called, lived frugally so that she could give generously. With investment advice from C.C. Dickson, she was able to grow her modest earnings into a sizable fortune.
The Crowder Welcome Center ...
The new Welcome Center, with a redesigned entrance on the Wilson Street side, serves primarily as home base for the Admissions Office, which has moved from tight quarters inside the Stegall Administration Building to the new Frank Davis Admissions Suite. A reception desk in the lobby allows Admissions staff to welcome prospective students to a central seating area with multiple adjacent conversation rooms, where enrollment officers get to know potential Bulldogs and discuss the admissions process. The suite also includes offices, a sample dorm room and the 75-seat Helms Forum.
In the center of the building, Fulton Huntley Commons’ modern, comfortable seating provides a place for students and visitors to gather. And the Cindy Jordan Campus Store is a must-stop for all of your Bulldog swag.
... inside the Dickson-Palmer Building
The 29,748-square-foot Dickson-Palmer Building, originally dedicated in 1977 in honor of the late Clyde C. Dickson Sr. and the late Fannie D. Palmer, initially served as a student hub, with offices, game rooms, a snack bar and more. Over the years, students frequented the building to bowl, to check their mail or to buy books. The facility contained lounges for music and conversations and a small chapel.
Eventually, bowling gave way to a workout area; art and computer classes replaced the bookstore; and in 2017 a portion of the building was remodeled as a home for Starbucks. It is now home to not only the Crowder Welcome Center but also the spacious Starbucks, one of the most popular spots on campus; a large space for student organizations to meet; the Academic and Career Development Center; the Student Veterans Organization; and the offices of the Business Intelligence and Marketing & Events departments.