Lowe’s CEO donates $2.5 million to UNC Charlotte

Robert Niblock, chief executive officer of Lowe’s Cos. and a UNC Charlotte graduate.
Robert Niblock, chief executive officer of Lowe’s Cos. and a UNC Charlotte graduate. The Charlotte Observer

Lowe’s Cos. Chief Executive Officer Robert Niblock is donating $2.5 million to UNC Charlotte’s Belk College of Business.

Niblock’s gift, which is among the largest gifts to Belk College, will support the college’s Student Center for Professional Development. The center be renamed the Robert A. Niblock Student Center for Professional Development.

The gift will expand initiatives at the center, which was established in 2012 with seed money from the Belk and MetLife foundations and supplemented by gifts from alumni and friends, according to a statement from the university Tuesday.

The center provides career support for graduating students, facilitates professional development between students and business leaders and industry professionals, and houses the Women in Business Initiative, which promotes leadership training for young women in the Belk College.

“UNC Charlotte provides a quality education for students and I believe we have the opportunity to enhance that education with coaching and personal skills that can help ensure success,” said Niblock, who received his bachelor’s degree in accounting from UNC Charlotte in 1984.

Chancellor Philip Dubois and Dean Steven Ott announced Niblock’s gift and the naming Tuesday at the UNC Charlotte student union after the Belk College of Business’ inaugural CEO Speaker Series at which Niblock presented.

“Robert Niblock’s personal history empowers students with the idea that if they enroll in the Belk College, work hard and pursue their goals, they will also have the potential to achieve unlimited success,” Ott said.

Mooresville-based Lowe’s is the second-largest home improvement retailer in the U.S.

Niblock’s gift is among the largest to the Belk College of Business in recent years. Charlotte-based Belk announced a donation in 2013 of $5 million over five years to support business innovation and data analytics. Last winter, the MetLife Foundation donated $100,000 to launch the Women in Business Leadership Program and last month, Childress Klein donated $2.5 million for the college’s real estate center.

Katherine Peralta: 704-358-5079, @katieperalta

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