Wingate University's Convocation ceremony marks several milestones

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Three honorary doctorate degrees were awarded at Opening Convocation. Pictured from left to right are the recipients: Dr. Edward Davis, Mr. Don Taft, President McGee and Mr. Jack Lail.

Dr. Sylvia Little-Sweat and Dr. Jerry E. McGee at Convocation
Contact: Kim Williams
Communications Writer 704-233-8320

Wingate, N.C. - Wingate University marked its 117th Convocation ceremony with several milestones. Dr. Sylvia Little-Sweat, professor of English, became the first female professor to carry the mace at the Aug. 27 ceremony held in Austin Auditorium on campus.

Additionally, three Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters degrees were awarded to community leaders Ed Davis, Jack Lail and Don Taft. "On rare occasions the University Board of Trustees chooses to express its deep appreciation to people who have served Wingate University with distinction by presenting them with honorary degrees," said Wingate University President Dr. Jerry E. McGee. "Today we honor three such friends."

Davis, accomplished educator and community leader, recently retired from the Union County Public Schools as superintendent. He has served as an adjunct professor in the Graduate Education program at the University's Matthews Campus. Lail, founder of Mid-State Plastics, has served Wingate University for more than 30 years as a Board of Trustee member, chair of various committees and a generous supporter of the restoration of Dry Chapel in Austin Auditorium's foyer on campus. Taft, former Hoechst Celanese executive who also formed a consulting firm in his retirement, is a lifetime honorary trustee at the University and has chaired numerous committees. He was involved in overseeing the founding of the Wingate University School of Pharmacy.

Wingate University

Wingate University, ranked as the 8th "best value" in the South by U.S. News & World Report, serves more than 2,700 students on three campuses in Wingate, Matthews and Hendersonville, N.C. Founded in 1896, the University offers 34 undergraduate majors, 37 minors and career concentrations, numerous pre-professional programs, graduate degrees in business, accounting, education, physician assistant studies and sport administration, and doctorates in pharmacy and education. With a 14 to 1 student/teacher ratio, Wingate students gain the tools and support needed to excel in academics and apply that learning toward an extraordinary career and life.

In addition to a robust intramural athletics program, Wingate student athletes compete in 20 NCAA Division II sports. The University has won the South Atlantic Conference Echols Athletic Excellence Award for the past six years. For more information, go to

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