Tia Randolph, Staff Writer
“If you build it, we will come!” Dr. Sylvia Little-Sweat said in the spirit of the 1989 movie “Field of Dreams”. The glow of the captivating chandelier, reminiscent of the conjoined Olympic rings, as well as the open, optimistic atmosphere of the building invites students and faculty to do just that.
At four o’clock Tuesday evening, the ceremony to dedicate the new athletic building, which is, as Dr. Little Sweat commented, historically the largest and most expensive building on campus, in the honor of it’s namesake and 9th university president, Dr. Jerry McGee.
In his twenty three years leading Wingate University into a continued season of academic and athletic excellence, Dr. McGee inspired the campus with his energy and visions for constant improvement.
In his address, President Rhett Brown acknowledged the propriety of the building being named in Dr. McGee’s honor, as the center symbolizes the virtues he displayed, “a full life and totality of work, joy, youth, and passion.” The facility is intended to represent our university’s successes in academics as well as in sports, for as Dr. Little-Sweat reminded the assembly, “It is no accident our academic excellence happened on Dr. McGee’s watch.”
She explained that Dr. McGee’s direction enabled Wingate University to work hard and expect much; his passion for wellness was not displayed solely in his support of Wingate’s athletic teams, but also in the establishment sciences of the medical field. His passion for the well being and health of others led him to introduce to Wingate the fields of nursing, exercise science, pre-pharmacy, and other health sciences.
In his home Dr. McGee taught his family the value of sports in everyday life. His son, Ryan McGee, explained that he was taught,“ Whether in sports or just attempting to get in shape, you learn how to push yourself, compete, and work with a team.” These lessons are the qualities the president wished to pass to Wingate, as well as the spirit of the fitness center named after him.
The athletic center memorializes the former president’s ideals, representing the necessity of self and mental discipline as well as physical performance. Scott Hunsucker, a former student, reasoned that the habits students form here at the McGee Center will extend beyond their time as a student and into their adult life. “This is an example of what hard work can do.” said Ryan McGee.
The newest addition to campus is an example of what a career of excellence leads to. Ryan McGee added to this by asking “ What will the legacy of this building be?” To encourage students in making conscious decisions to challenge themselves physically and in their studies.
Edited by: Brea Childs