2 major gifts add $7.5 million to EXPONENTIAL campaign

Nov 12, 2016 | Events, UNC Charlotte

Newly named Cato College of Education

Newly named Cato College of Education

Two major gifts to UNC Charlotte’s $200 million EXPONENTIAL fundraising campaign will provide new scholarship opportunities and faculty awards of excellence.

The Department of Accounting is being renamed the Turner School of Accountancy in recognition of a $2.5 million gift from Accounting Professor Emeritus Thomas Turner.

The newly named Cato College of Education recognizes the $5 million gift from the Cato Corp.

Turner School of Accountancy

Turner’s $2.5 million gift will provide scholarship opportunities for undergraduate and graduate accounting students within the Belk College of Business who possess high moral character, academic promise and demonstrated financial need.

Turner helped establish the Department of Accounting. He came to UNC Charlotte in 1966 and was the Accounting Department’s first chair. The impact of this gift is immeasurable and fits in line with Turner’s passion, which was teaching and mentoring students during his years of leadership, said Steven Ott, dean of the Belk College of Business at UNC Charlotte.

From four accounting graduates in the class of 1967 to nearly 5,000 accounting graduates during the past 50 years, he helped develop the accounting department into a premiere program, one that continues today as part of the Belk College of Business, Ott said.

“Thomas Turner was instrumental in founding a culture in the department. He hired dedicated professors that were especially good at teaching. But he also connected the accounting department with industry, creating deep connections with accounting firms. Those two things still permeate the department today and throughout the entire college,” Ott said.

Outside of the classroom, Turner was a guiding force in the university joining the Sun Belt Conference in 1976. A year later, the 49ers men’s basketball team made the NCAA Final Four.

Turner retired from UNC Charlotte in 1991 but has remained active in the University. In 2014, more than 150 alumni and friends contributed almost $240,000 to create an endowed scholarship, provide funds for the Thomas C. Turner Excellence in Teaching Award, and support the major renovation of the Department of Accounting conference room, which is named in Turner’s honor.

Cato College of Education

The Cato Corp.’s $5 million gift will fund the Cato Scholarship for Education, established to provide annual financial scholarship assistance to incoming freshman or transfer students who plan to major in a degree program offered by the Cato College of Education.

In addition, the Cato Award for Faculty Excellence will be established to retain the highest quality faculty for Cato College. Two awards will be given yearly to promising researchers. Two additional awards will be given to tenured faculty for excellence in teaching, research or community engagement.

Alumnus John Cato (’73) serves as chairman, president and chief executive officer of the Cato Corp., which is headquartered in Charlotte. The Cato Corp. is a leading specialty retailer of value-priced fashion apparel and accessories and operates more than 1,300 stores in 33 states.

“Both the Cato Corp. and the Cato family have long been committed to supporting education,” stated John Cato. “Teachers have the ability to educate and inspire their students, and the College of Education has a great tradition of preparing teachers for success. We are proud to continue our partnership with UNC Charlotte.”

Cato has served the University in various capacities over the years as a former member of the UNC Charlotte Foundation Board and the UNC Charlotte Board of Visitors. He currently is serving on the Belk College of Business Advisory Board and he was inducted into the UNC Charlotte Alumni Hall of Fame in 2012.

EXPONENTIAL: The Campaign for UNC Charlotte

EXPONENTIAL: The Campaign for UNC Charlotte is the largest capital campaign in the history of the University. Its goal is to raise $200 million that will power UNC Charlotte’s future by funding scholarships for students, enhancements to academic programs, and initiatives to enrich the collegiate experience, including study abroad, the arts and athletics.


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