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McGee to retire as Wingate president

Dr. Jerry E. McGee, who led Wingate University's creation of a Hendersonville campus and was a key figure in the multi-party agreement to build a large health sciences building here, announced today his retirement as the college's president in May 2015.


The 13th president of the private school east of Charlotte, McGee is the state's longest-serving university president, the school said in a news release. At the time of his retirement, he will have served at Wingate for 23 years.

Under McGee's leadership, Wingate started its pharmacy, physician assistant and masters in business administration programs in Hendersonville, renting space in two bank buildings on North King Street. Out of space and looking to add physical therapy and nursing degree programs, McGee entered into negotiations that eventually involved the city of Hendersonville, Henderson County, BRCC and Pardee Hospital. Those entities announced a five-party agreement on April 4 that will result in a 60,000-sqaure-foot building for health sciences classes for Wingate and BRCC and medical clinics for Pardee.
Through his leadership, the University has secured hundreds of millions in gifts and grants for scholarships, endowment and campus development. During his tenure, Wingate has achieved university status, nearly tripled enrollment, became a doctoral-granting institution and built a number of new facilities, including The Levine College of Health Sciences and J M Smith Residence Hall.

New graduate programs initiated during these years, included: pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant studies, sport management, accounting, MBA, leadership and licensure programs within graduate education (like Ed.D. in School Superintendency and Community College Executive Leadership). Undergraduate programs have been added, like nursing, political science and criminal justice.
Additionally, McGee officiated 404 college football games in 36 years. He is a member of the South Atlantic Conference Athletic Hall of Fame, Wingate University Athletic Hall of Fame, the Union County Business Leaders Hall of Fame and North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame.
McGee has also found time to be actively involved in the community. He has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Affiliate of Fifth Third Bank, the Wilma McCurdy Trust and the McSwain Foundation. He also is a past district governor of Civitan International. He served as a member of the NCAA Presidents' Council and twice served as the National Chairman of the Football Issues Committee for NCAA Division II. He served as Chairman of Union County's Economic Development program and as Chairman of the Presidents' Council of the South Atlantic Conference, as well as Chairman of the Presidents' Council of the North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities.
In 2008, he was honored as a Distinguished Alumnus of East Carolina, where he received his undergraduate degree. He also holds a master's degree from Appalachian State University and a doctorate from Nova University. He has completed two books, The Sitting and Talking Place, which tells of his special relationship with his maternal grandfather and Roberdell – A Village of Grace, which describes life in the small textile community he grew up in. In 2006, McGee received North Carolina's highest civilian honor, The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, in recognition of his extraordinary service to the state.
McGee will complete the 2014-15 academic year as president. A search for the next president will begin immediately.

McGee's remarks are available on YouTube: