Charlotte remembers philanthropist Wayland H. Cato Jr.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

UNC Charlotte remembers Charlotte business leader and philanthropist Wayland H. Cato Jr., who died Saturday, Nov. 4. Cato, 100, received an honorary doctorate in 2002 and was a longtime advocate for education. 

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 in 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, Legal Affairs Division and the Office of Enrollment Management.

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

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

Cato died 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.”