Belk Inc. is the 2014 recipient of the UNC Charlotte Distinguished Service Award, presented during a luncheon on Tuesday, May 13, in the Student Union.
In honoring the Charlotte-based retailer, UNC Charlotte Chancellor Philip L. Dubois noted a number of similarities between Belk and the University. He stated both organizations are growing and are expanding their reach and profile. Belk Inc. and UNC Charlotte have invested in football, and both Belk and UNC Charlotte are exploring how to use technology – for Belk it is for online retailing, for the University it would be in how the institution delivers education.
"Belk Inc. believes in the future of data science and business analytics, and how it can produce business insights and improve customer relations. And Tim (Belk), Johnny (Belk) and the company have done everything imaginable to support the University and to open doors for me as we have launched our campus-wide initiative to address Big Data workforce needs in retail, health care, financial services and energy," said Dubois.
He added that Charlotte is fortunate to have Belk headquartered in the Queen City, and "we are especially fortunate that the leaders of this fine organization are committed to making Charlotte a better place and UNC Charlotte a stronger institution."
Thomas M. "Tim" Belk, chairman and chief executive officer of Belk Inc., said it was an honor to be a recipient of the UNC Charlotte Distinguished Service Award. He and brother John R. Belk, president and chief operating officer, represented the company at the ceremony.
"We accept this on behalf of all Belk associates, who helped make this happen," said Tim Belk. "UNC Charlotte has been special to our family and our company. Dad was a trustee, head of the first advisory board, and Johnny chaired that board at one point…. The Belk Foundation has made contributions to student development; it was natural for us to help the Belk College of Business and UNC Charlotte to grow.”
The Belk family, foundation and company have been ardent supporters of the University for decades. At the 1970 dedication of the Belk Tower, then-Chancellor Dean Colvard stated, "The history of this institution contains many references to the Belk organization. Indeed the moral and financial support of the Belks and their organization has allowed us to do many things we would otherwise have been unable to do."
The Belk College of Business was named in honor of the Belk family and organization in 1990, and in February 2013, Belk Inc. gave a $5 million gift to the University to fund endowed professorships, research and teaching grants and a Belk Scholars Program for to prepare undergraduate business students for careers in analytics and business innovation.
The Distinguished Service Award was established in 1987 by the Board of Trustees of UNC Charlotte and the Board of Directors of the University Foundation. It honors those who have provided outstanding leadership and exemplary service to the Charlotte community and to the advancement of UNC Charlotte. Each recipient of the award receives a statue of a gold miner, cast from a sculpture by Lorenzo Ghiglieri.