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Wingate University names Rhett Brown as its 10th president

20 March 2015

By Jennifer Thomas, The Charlotte Business Journal

Wingate University has named Rhett Brown as its 10th president, effective June 1.

Brown has longstanding ties to the private university in the Union County town of Wingate. He has spent 29 years there — including 26 years in various roles at the university — and as student.

He was selected after a nationwide search, with more than 200 candidates considered for the position. Brown will take over for Jerry McGee, who's retiring after 23 years leading the university.

"I am both deeply humbled and tremendously excited," Brown, 49, said at a midmorning news conference at Wingate's Ballantyne campus in south Charlotte.

He currently serves as vice president for student life and enrollment services, a position he has held since 2009.

He also is a graduate of Wingate.

Brown thanked McGee for his years of leadership, and added that he looks forward to building on McGee's legacy.

His immediate goals are to focus on strategic planning for developing programs and facilities, fostering a collaborative leadership team and strengthening Wingate's ongoing efforts for resource development and community relations.

During Brown's tenure at Wingate, undergraduate enrollment has grown 65 percent in 10 years. Net operating revenue from undergraduate enrollment has increased, while student indebtedness has decreased.

Wingate serves more than 3,000 students on three campuses in Wingate, Charlotte and Hendersonville. It expanded its Charlotte presence with a move to Ballantyne in August 2013.

Brown "has been a highly respected member of Wingate University's senior leadership team for many years," McGee said. "I am confident the university will enjoy continued success during his tenure."

Brown grew up in Pelion, S.C.

He earned his bachelor's degree from Wingate in 1989 and a master's in business administration from the school in 2001. He earned a doctorate from the University of Alabama.

Brown also served eight years in the U.S. Naval Reserve. He was on active duty during Operation Desert Storm and served in Saudi Arabia in 1990-91 during the first Persian Gulf War.

Brown's wife, Nicci currently works as registrar, coordinator of institutional research and adjunct instructor at Wingate.

The couple lives in Monroe and has two children.

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