Spring 2007

Cato Foundation endows need-based scholarships on 16 UNC campuses


The founder of the Cato Corporation—a women’s apparel retailer that prides itself on high quality fashion at low prices—is now helping North Carolina college students gain a high quality education at a low price.

Through his foundation, Wayland H. Cato Jr. has made a gift of $365,000 to establish a Wayland H. Cato Jr. Endowed Scholarship Fund on each of the 16 University of North Carolina campuses. The funds will endow one or more need-based Cato Scholarships on each campus. Recipients will be financially challenged undergraduates who have demonstrated the experience of working both for pay and as a volunteer.

Established in 1997 by the retired Charlotte businessman, the Wayland H. Cato Jr. Foundation is devoted to endowing scholarships at institutions of higher learning in North Carolina, South Carolina and Wyoming. A native of Ridge Spring, S.C., and 1944 Carolina graduate, Cato co-founded the Cato Corporation with his father in 1946. During his 33-year tenure as chairman of its board, Cato was responsible for the company’s charitable contributions endowing numerous scholarships. As a result of his personal and corporate philanthropy, there are now more than 65 Cato Endowed Scholarship Funds at 23 colleges and universities. Cato Scholarships are awarded to more than 100 students annually.

“In my opinion, the best thing a person can do for himself is to get a good education,” Cato said. “These endowed scholarships are intended to help students who practice both the work ethic and giving back to their communities. It gives me great pleasure to know that these endowments will continue to aid people who want to help themselves for a very long time to come.”