UNC Charlotte remembers philanthropist Wayland H. Cato Jr.

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Cato, 100, received an honorary doctorate in 2002 and was a longtime advocate for education. 

For his dedication to the University, UNC Charlotte remembers Charlotte business leader and philanthropist Wayland H. Cato Jr., who passed away on Saturday, Nov. 4, 

Personally and professionally, Cato endowed a number of scholarship programs at the University, including the Wayland H. Cato Jr. Doctoral Fellowship. For his leadership in business in the Carolinas and service to the nation, state and community and for his commitment to learning and scholarship, Cato was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at spring Commencement 2002. 

In 2004, UNC Charlotte dedicated Cato Hall in recognition of his contributions to education. The building is home to the Office of the Chancellor, Office of Academic Affairs/Office of the Provost, the Legal Affairs division and Enrollment Management.

Cato, who served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, was a successful entrepreneur, the co-founder of Cato Corporation, a Charlotte-based women’s clothing business with stores across the United States. The Cato name is also etched on college buildings across the Queen City. Cato, who passed away at age 100, was the director of the UNC Charlotte Foundation from 1995 to 2002.

Cato passed just days after his son, Wayland H. Cato III. 

“UNC Charlotte offers condolences to the Cato family,” said Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber. “We will be forever grateful to Mr. Cato for his important contributions to our University and city.”

In 2016, the University’s Cato College of Education was named in honor of the Cato Corporation for its support of education and the University. 

“Wayland Cato, Jr. understood the value of education to young people and the world. We feel the Cato family’s contributions to teaching each day in our building and they will continue to bear fruit in hundreds of K-12 classrooms across the country in the years to come,” said Cato College of Education Dean Malcolm Butler.

Family Obituary