Cover Photo: Dr. Douglas N. Searcy, President of Barton College, and David S. Hicks, Class of 1984
Inset Photo 1: Family photo – (Front row, from left) David Hicks and Jill Hicks; (Back row, from left) Melanie Hicks, Zack Hicks, Austin Hicks, and Spencer Hicks
Inset Photo 2: A rendering of the front lobby and glassed-in conference room in the David S. Hicks Family Sports Operations Center
Inset Photo 3: A rendering of the indoor and outdoor fields at the David S. Hicks Family Sports Operations Center
WILSON, N.C. — February 26, 2021 — Barton College is pleased to announce the naming of the David S. Hicks Family Sports Operation Center. The $1 million gift made by alumnus David S. Hicks matches the largest alumni gift in the history of the College.
“Barton College is deeply grateful to David Hicks for his generosity and commitment to his alma mater through this distinguished naming gift,” said Dr. Douglas N. Searcy, president of Barton College. “Upon completion, the David S. Hicks Family Sports Operation Center will provide an exceptional space to support our expanding athletics program and will be recognized as a premier collegiate athletics facility among NCAA Division II programs.”
“When presented with this vision and opportunity from President Doug Searcy and Tom Maze, assistant vice president for leadership giving, I was excited to step up and help provide Barton College with the best possible facility and resources to recruit, retain, and develop top student athletes,” shared Hicks. “Our family is delighted to be able to make a meaningful gift to the campus, with the goal of providing student athletes, coaches, and staff new opportunities for additional success. We couldn’t be more thrilled to support such an impactful project in the life of Barton College.”
While David Hicks’ values and strong faith are rooted in the lessons learned from his parents while growing up on a small tobacco farm in Spring Hope, his skillset for career success was forged in the refining fires of his Barton Experience.
Barton (then Atlantic Christian College) proved to be the perfect environment for Hicks to find his passion for business and finance. He balanced his academic studies in the School of Business with his fraternal commitment to Alpha Sigma Phi, while also working part-time jobs throughout his college years. Hicks noted that through leadership opportunities on campus, including serving as president of his fraternity, he also learned about developing relationships, building camaraderie, and encouraging teamwork. These crucial soft skills have complemented his business acumen and served him well throughout his career.
He completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration in 1984 and immediately began working at Wachovia Bank in the finance division. By 1997, Hicks took a leap of faith and established North State Acceptance, a specialty finance company that purchases and services retail sales contracts from car dealerships. The company also offered personal loans for those in need for emergencies, college, etc. His company grew from one office to 12 offices in five states before he decided to sell the company in 2013.
Today, Hicks continues to influence the business market through a variety of business ventures, including the purchase and redevelopment of the former Hardees and RBC Centura North American headquarters campus in Rocky Mount. The location today serves as the home of the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles.
Hicks and his wife, Jill, have three sons. Zack, Barton Class of 2014, works in the family business, and his wife Melanie teaches at Southern Nash High School, where she also coaches softball and volleyball. The Hicks also have twin sons Austin and Spencer. Austin is a junior at Barton this year, and Spencer is a junior at North Carolina State University.
“The Hicks family represents so much of what is great about Barton College,” noted Archer Bane, executive director of institutional advancement. As passionate alumni, the willingness to make such a generous gift not only is a vote of confidence for the strategic vision of our institution, but it signals to other alumni that we welcome and want their involvement and support.”
The David S. Hicks Family Sports Operations Center at Barton has undergone a significant Phase I renovation from its original use as the 39-year-old Harris Cadillac dealership. Upon entering the facility, there is a large glassed-in conference room, as well as multiple offices for coaching staff. The interior of the building currently includes football and men’s and women’s lacrosse locker rooms and additional athletic training rooms. There also are two outdoor practice fields adjacent to the building. Following Phase II, the sports operations center will include an indoor turf facility as well as additional group meeting rooms and offices.
“I am incredibly proud to be involved with my alma mater, and I challenge fellow alumni and friends of the College to join me in investing in Barton,” Hicks added. “We have an opportunity to immediately impact the lives of the current students, faculty and staff, and programs, while also helping to shape the College’s future. Right now is the perfect time to get more involved.”