John Cato with Cato College of Education Students
November 11, 2016

UNC Charlotte named the College of Education for the Cato Corporation during a campus ceremony on Friday, November 11. The ceremony followed a $5 million gift from the Cato Corporation, a retailer of women’s fashions and accessories, to the University’s $200 million fundraising campaign, EXPONENTIAL: The Campaign for UNC Charlotte.”

The gift will fund the Cato Scholarship for Education, established to provide annual scholarship 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 will be established to retain the highest quality faculty for Cato College. Two awards will be given yearly to promising researchers and two additional awards will be given to tenured faculty for excellence in teaching, research, or community engagement.

“Today we take another huge step in the maturation of our institution with the naming of our third academic college," said Chancellor Philip L. Dubois. "The Cato College of Education is committed to preparing outstanding teachers, counselors, and school leaders.  That mission is advanced significantly by this gift, which will help us to recruit bright students who wish pursue a major within the College as well as to support outstanding faculty for their excellence in teaching, research, and community engagement.  I couldn’t be more pleased.”

Alumnus John Cato (’73) currently serves as chairman, president, and chief executive officer of The Cato Corporation, which is headquartered in Charlotte. “Both the Cato Corporation and the Cato family have long been committed to supporting education,” said John Cato. “Teachers have the ability to educate and inspire their students, and the College of Education has a great tradition of preparing teachers for success. We are proud to continue our partnership with UNC Charlotte.”

Cato has served the University in various capacities over the years as a former member of the UNC Charlotte Foundation Board and the UNC Charlotte Board of Visitors. He is currently serving on the Belk College of Business Advisory Board and he was inducted into the UNC Charlotte Alumni Hall of Fame in 2012.

“The naming recognizes the generosity of The Cato Corporation and John Cato’s passion for education,” said Dean Ellen McIntyre. “It is a public illustration of the importance of preparing teachers, counselors, school leaders, and education researchers.”

The naming of the College of Education is yet another example of the legacy of the Cato family at UNC Charlotte. Cato Hall, which among others is home to the UNC Charlotte admissions office and the chancellor's office, is named for John Cato's father, Wayland H. Cato Jr. The University formally dedicated the Cato Teaching Discovery Mural at the College of Education a few years ago. The mural recognizes outstanding educators and serves as a vital learning tool for teachers, students and the public.

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