UNCC gets $5 million donation from Charlotte-based Cato Corp

UNC Charlotte Cato College of Education
UNC Charlotte Cato College of Education

UNC Charlotte announced Friday it is naming its College of Education for the Cato Corp., following a $5 million gift to the school from the company.

Cato, a retailer of women’s fashions and accessories, contributed the money toward the University’s $200 million fund raising campaign, “EXPONENTIAL: The Campaign for UNC Charlotte.”

The gift will fund a Cato Scholarship, which was established to provide annual financial assistance to incoming freshman or transfer students who plan to major in a degree program offered by the Cato College of Education.

In addition, the Cato Award for Faculty Excellence is being established to retain the highest quality faculty for the school. Two awards will be given yearly to promising researchers. Two additional awards will be given to tenured faculty for excellence in teaching, research or community engagement, said a statement from the university.

Faculty are engaged in research related to autism, students with disabilities, struggling readers, the teacher shortage and more. These studies helped the school earn more than $8 million in external funding last year and appear in some of the leading research journals in the field of education.

“Today we take another huge stride in our efforts to recruit and support our students and faculty in this important college,” Chancellor Philip Dubois said in a statement. “Anyone who has been successful in life can usually name one or more teachers who had a profound impact on their education. Now we can do so much more in these worthwhile endeavors.”

UNC Charlotte alumnus John Cato (’73) serves as chairman, president and chief executive officer of the Cato Corp., which is headquartered in Charlotte. The company operates more than 1,300 stores in 33 states.

UNC Charlotte’s EXPONENTIAL campaign is working to raise $200 million for scholarships, enhancements to academic programs, and initiatives to enrich the collegiate experience, including study abroad, the arts and athletics.

The Cato College enrolls more than 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students annually and its programs are nationally accredited and approved by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Under the U.S. News & World Reports rankings, Cato College is #4 for “best Education Schools” in North Carolina’s 17 university campus system.