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Barton Announces $7.8 Million Gift To Support Student Financial Aid

WILSON, N.C. — August 1, 2016 — Barton College is thrilled to announce the single largest gift in its history: $7.8 million from the Estate of Emerson Clarence “E.C.” Winstead. The recently received gift, earmarked for student financial aid with first preference to students from North Carolina, will support educational opportunities for Barton students in perpetuity.

“I am awed and humbled by the magnitude of this gift as well as E.C. Winstead’s vision to enhance educational opportunities at Barton,” shared Dr. Douglas N. Searcy, president of Barton College. “I am grateful for the momentum it will provide to boldly meet the needs of our students and region.”

Because 85% of Barton’s students hail from North Carolina and 98% of Barton’s students receive financial aid from the College, this gift will touch nearly every current and future student enrolled.

E.C. Winstead supported Barton College during the last two decades, including his establishment of the Laura B. and Emerson C. Winstead Endowed Chair for flute in the Barton College/Wilson Symphony Orchestra in 2008 to honor the memory of his late wife, Laura Battle Winstead, who passed away in 2006. He also gifted the College with two beautiful Steinway pianos.

A native of Wilson, E.C. Winstead was a graduate of The University of the South, Sewanee, Tenn., where he was a member of Kappa Sigma Fraternity. He also pursued graduate studies at Johns Hopkins University. For two years, he was administrative assistant to the superintendent of Charleston, S.C., County Schools before returning to Wilson to serve as the head of the purchasing department at the Eastern North Carolina Sanatorium for 20 years. He later transferred to the Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf to serve as the administrative officer for grants and programs.

A native of Rocky Mount, Laura B. Winstead graduated from St. Margaret’s School in Tappahannock, Va., and Randolph Macon Woman’s College. She earned a master’s degree at UNC-Chapel Hill and continued as a doctoral student at the Sorbonne, University of Paris, for two years. Her first teaching position was at Brennan College in Gainesville, Ga. When she moved to Wilson, she taught at Barton (then Atlantic Christian College) in the late 1950s and later taught at Greenfield School.

The Winsteads were members of St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Wilson where he served as lay reader, lay communicant, and member of the Vestry. She taught Sunday School and was a member of the choir, the Hispanic Ministry, the St. Francis Guild, and the Community Soup Kitchen.

The legacy of the Winsteads’ commitment to education and to the Wilson community will long be remembered, and this extraordinary gift from the Winstead Estate will impact and inspire the futures of Barton students far beyond expectations.