Wingate University will not be changing its name, President Rhett Brown has announced. The university announced it was creating a special panel in May to discuss what to do after finding out that Washington Manly Wingate, for whom the university is named, was a slave owner.
Brown sent a message to the campus Thursday in which he said, "I would first like to clear up an assumption some have made since the news first broke: Wingate University is NOT considering a name change. Instead, I have asked a small team of researchers to study our namesake and report their findings to an advisory group. The work of the research team will enable us to acknowledge and develop a more complete understanding of our history. Based on these findings, the advisory group will recommend to our Board of Trustees ways to improve how we serve all students in an environment where each individual belongs and thrives. I pledge to you that these recommendations will lead to meaningful action and long-standing, tangible change. It’s time to reclaim the Wingate name and reaffirm our position statement: To all students who strive to improve themselves and their communities, Wingate University is a laboratory of difference-making, where students’ desire to learn intersects with faculty expertise and with opportunities in our region, to serve the common good."