Dale F. Halton remembered as a trailblazer, friend and loyal 49ers fan

Dale F. Halton remembered as a trailblazer, friend and loyal 49ers fan
Wednesday, March 22, 2023

On March 21, UNC Charlotte lost an enthusiastic champion, generous benefactor and supportive friend with the death of Dale F. Halton. A Charlotte business icon and philanthropist whose name is emblazoned on no fewer than a half-dozen campus entities and whose influence touched thousands of Niners, Halton will be remembered as an innovator whose commitment to her home city’s university enhanced the higher education experience for all students, particularly student-athletes.

The UNC Charlotte campus community is invited to honor Dale Halton's life and legacy

  • Thursday, March 30, 6 to 8 p.m., at UNC Charlotte, James H. Barnhardt Student Activity Center, Dale F. Halton Arena, SAC Salons

Join the Halton family to share favorite stories about Dale. In her honor, guests are encouraged to wear their favorite 49ers apparel and/or colors. Parking is available at no cost in the West Deck, adjacent to the SAC.  A limited number of handicap-accessible spaces are available in the lot adjacent to the building. Driving directions:; GPS address: 9290 Barnhardt Ln., Charlotte N.C. 28262

  • Saturday, April 1, 2 p.m., funeral and celebration of life, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 115 W. Seventh Street, Charlotte, N.C. 28202; or view a live stream

Over four decades, Halton, a former CEO of Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company, served UNC Charlotte in many direct and subtle ways. Her relationship with the University began in the 1980s through a professional kinship with Director of Athletics Emerita Judy Rose who, like Halton, was widely recognized throughout her career as a skillful leader in a field traditionally dominated by men. Their friendship ignited what became for Halton a lifelong interest in supporting UNC Charlotte’s academic, administrative and athletics growth. 

“Dale has always embraced and supported underdogs,” said Rose. “She saw potential in organizations and the people leading them. She adopted our University and was ‘all in.’ What started as a professional relationship developed into a personal friendship; her legacy will last forever.”

Backing the 49ers

A passionate Charlotte 49ers fan, Halton held season tickets for men’s basketball for 37 years and was a football FSL license holder from the program’s inception. She could be spotted in the stands not only at 49ers home games but also at many on the road, including conference basketball tournaments and the football team’s first-ever bowl game in 2019.

Halton’s imprimatur — while a member of the University’s Board of Trustees, Foundation Board, Board of Visitors and the 49ers Athletic Foundation Board of Directors — is undeniable. The Dale Halton Reading Room on the main floor of J. Murrey Atkins Library, the Halton-Wagner Tennis Complex (named for Halton and her husband, Fred Wagner), the Charles Hayward Memorial Practice Gym, the Judy W. Rose Football Center and Dale F. Halton Arena in the James H. Barnhardt Student Activity Center exist because of her investment and manifest interest in UNC Charlotte and its students.

Support for these campus facilities — combined with that for scholarships and capital and program improvements — totals more than $14 million, a sum that reflects Halton’s individual giving as well as that from the Dale F. Halton Foundation. She helped raise funds for 49ers women’s athletics by chairing and organizing — for its entire 17-year-to-date history — the annual Judy W. Rose Let Me Play Luncheon. Support for all 49ers athletics came through her contributions to the annual fund and 49ers Athletics Scholarship Fund and participation in the 49er Club Golf Outing and annual Athletics Foundation Great Gold Rush Auction, an event for which served as hostess for many years. 

Rounding out her contributions are the Dale F. Halton International Study Scholarship, Dale F. Halton Women in Marketing Scholarship, Halton Biology Ph.D. Library Fund and the Henry B. Fowler Men’s Basketball Scholarship. Over the years, Halton supported the Aliaga-Buchenau Witness-in-Residence Program, History of the Ancient and Medieval Mediterranean World Fund, Women and Girls Research Alliance Fund, Charlotte Fund, Student Emergency Fund, various ballfield improvements and the planned Barnhardt-Halton Baseball Clubhouse. She also provided an in-kind gift of a Knabe square grand piano for Robinson Hall for the Performing Arts. 

An enduring legacy

For her extraordinary service and investment in the University, Halton was presented in 1994 with a UNC Charlotte Alumni Award and in 1998 with an honorary doctor of humane letters. In September 2022, she was among the inaugural inductees to the Charlotte 49ers Athletics Hall of Fame.

“Dale Halton was one of the first people I met when I joined UNC Charlotte,” said Charlotte Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber. “What I quickly saw was her enormous love for Niner Nation, especially for our students. Dale demonstrated her love, not just through her generous support, but also through her leadership, advocacy and close friendship. For that, we are eternally grateful. Her immeasurable impact will be felt forever on our campus, by our students and throughout our entire community."