Wingate University called on one of its own as its new president.
On March 18 the university named Rhett Brown, Wingate’s current vice president for student life and enrollment services, as its next leader. Brown is a two-time graduate of Wingate. He takes over for Jerry E. McGee who’s retiring in May after a record 23 years at the school – the longest running college presidency in North Carolina.
“I am both deeply humbled and tremendously excited,” said Brown, 49, at a mid-morning news conference at Wingate’s Ballantyne campus in Charlotte. “I would like to thank President McGee for his years of visionary leadership to my alma mater. He has left a profound legacy, and I look forward to building on his great work.”
Brown has 26 years of experience in higher education. At Wingate, he’s served in numerous roles before being named in 2009 to his current position overseeing admissions, student life and marketing.
“Dr. Brown has been a highly respected member of Wingate University’s senior leadership team for many years,” said McGee. “I am confident the university will enjoy continued success during his tenure.”
During Brown’s time at Wingate:
Undergraduate enrollment jumped 65 percent in 10 years.
Net operating revenue from undergraduate enrollment increased while individual student indebtedness decreased.
The institutional marketing brand “Major in a Great Life” was launched.
Brown grew up in Pelion, S.C., southwest of Columbia. He received his bachelor of arts degree from Wingate in 1989 and master of business administration in 2001. He earned his doctor of education degree from The University of Alabama. Brown also served eight years in the U.S. Naval Reserve. He spent active duty in Operation Desert Storm and served in Saudi Arabia in 1990-91 during the first Persian Gulf War.
Brown’s wife, Nicci, is a graduate of The University of the South and The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She currently services as registrar, coordinator of institutional research and adjunct instructor at Wingate. The couple lives in Monroe, N.C., and has two children. They are members of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Monroe.
Brown was selected after a nationwide search with nearly 200 candidates being considered for the position. He will take over as president on June 1, 2015.