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Wingate Tackles Social-Mobility Problem with Trio of Programs

Wingate University is committed to being a school of opportunity that helps alter the social-mobility landscape in the Charlotte region. A trio of programs are helping make that commitment a reality.

In July, Wingate signed its third Gateway to Wingate agreement, this time with Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte. Associate-degree graduates of Central Piedmont will now be able to complete their bachelor’s degrees for $2,500 a year or less. Over the past three years, Wingate has signed similar agreements with South Piedmont Community College and Stanly Community College.

The new pathway will expand college access and give academically qualified Central Piedmont grads a seamless admissions process and high-quality academic advising. A separate agreement provides a pathway for qualified Central Piedmont students to enter Wingate's Doctor of Pharmacy program.

“This transfer pathway is a wonderful example of higher education partners in the Charlotte region working together to broaden access to a bachelor’s degree and greater opportunities beyond,” says Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, Central Piedmont president.

Wingate and CPCC presidents holding up T-shirts

Gateway to Wingate students who complete an associate in science (AS), associate in arts (AA) or associate in fine arts (AFA) degree at Central Piedmont with a cumulative grade-point average of 2.50, and are in good academic standing, will be guaranteed admission to Wingate University. When enrolled, they will receive access to Student Success Services, collaborative academic advising, collaborative financial-aid counseling, collaborative career counseling, and long-term planning for admission and preparation for Wingate University graduate programs.

“Our state needs 2 million people with postsecondary degrees or certificates by 2030, and that won’t happen unless colleges of all stripes work together,” says Dr. Rhett Brown, president of Wingate University. “That’s why we couldn’t be more pleased to have this opportunity to work with Central Piedmont to break down barriers – whether cost, transferability or time-to-degree – so students get the support they need to prepare for the careers they want.”

Since 2018, more than 80 Central Piedmont students have transferred to Wingate. “We expect that number to grow significantly with the launch of the Gateway to Wingate program,” Deitemeyer says.

Another program giving a boost to students from nontraditional backgrounds is Bulldog First Gen. Students who are the first in their families to go to college can often feel lost as they make the transition to higher education. Thanks to a $133,250 grant from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, first-generation students at Wingate are receiving enhanced support.

The First-Gen Bulldog Program comprises initiatives such as a summer bridge program, cultural trips, parent/guardian orientation sessions and academic workshops. The grant, to be used over a two-year period, will also help fund hardship scholarships and stipends for peer mentors. More than 40 percent of Wingate’s current freshman class are first-gen.

“This is amazing and will help our first-gen students in so many ways,” says Dr. Antonio Jefferson ’20 (Ed.D.), Wingate’s assistant vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion. “Being the first in your family to attend college can be challenging. Not being fully aware of campus resources can lead to a lack of belonging, difficulties connecting socially or academic challenges.”

In the past two years, 80 students have taken advantage of the program, which offers monthly workshops to help with time management, study habits and more and assigns freshmen rising-senior mentors to help answer day-to-day questions. The summer bridge program helped 26 students acclimate themselves to college before the 2022-23 academic year began.

Another program using funds from the Jesse Ball duPont Fund to open doors is Wayfind Scholars, which awarded its first scholarships this summer.

A selective program that prioritizes students who are historically underrepresented in higher education (i.e., first-generation college students of color), each year Wayfind welcomes 20 teacher-recommended eighth-graders from Monroe and East Union middle schools who have demonstrated academic promise via their grades, school attendance and behavior. Once accepted, Wayfind Scholars receive mentoring and support for the next 4.5 years as they go from middle school through high school. Those who complete the full mentoring program and meet Wingate’s admission requirements qualify for the full-tuition scholarship.

This summer, 11 high school students, now seniors, received full-tuition scholarships. The scholarships were awarded at the end of Camp Wayfind, a four-day immersive experience that gives students a taste of life on a college campus. That same week, Wingate was awarded a $150,000 grant from the Jesse Ball duPont Fund to keep the program going for the next two years.