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Honorary Degrees 2012

Queens University of Charlotte presented honorary degrees to Porter Byrum, Anthony Foxx, and Patricia Gibson  during Commencement on May 5, 2012.

Porter Brown Byrum grew up in humble circumstances, but was taught that hard work and perseverance, education and giving back are the keys to a life well-lived.  In 2011, Mr. Byrum donated Park Road Shopping Center to Wake Forest University, Wingate University and Queens University of Charlotte.  The sale of the property resulted in the Queens endowment receiving over $20 million, earmarked for scholarships.  His support for scholarships has touched the lives of hundreds of students, and his transformational gift to Queens ensures that future Byrum Scholars will have the opportunity to be an integral part of the Queens community. 

Prior to buying Park Road Shopping Center, Mr. Byrum was a self-employed attorney who moved to Charlotte to practice law in the 1950s.  He never charged an hourly fee, but rather based billing upon the actual services and help he provided his clients.   As a lawyer, his main goal was to help others and to make a difference.  He also served in the U.S. Army during World War II and the Korean War.

Anthony Foxx is mayor of Charlotte,the 10th most populated city in the United States. He took the oath of office on December 7th, 2009.  He is the 48th individual to be elected to this position, and the youngest mayor in Charlotte's history.  He is the first Democrat to hold the office since Harvey Gantt left office in 1987, and the second African American mayor in Charlotte's history.

As a native Charlottean, Mayor Foxx has always felt passionately about serving the needs of the Charlotte community.  After graduating from Davidson College in 1993, where he was the first African American student body president, Mayor Foxx continued his education at New York University School of Law.  He graduated in 1996 with a law degree as a Root-Tilden Scholar, the University's prestigious public service scholarship.  He is now a member of the Mecklenburg County Bar and a graduate of its Leadership Institute.

Patricia A. Gibson teaches in the Department of Neurology at Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem. She is a social worker who began her career in Virginia where she witnessed injustice in the treatment of children with epilepsy. This experience forged in her a passion that changed the course of her career and improved the lives of millions of people who suffer from epilepsy.  She has written and co-authored hundreds of articles published in respected medical and academic journals. Her research is extensive: she is praised by her peers as "one of the most knowledgeable people on the subject of epilepsy" and regularly addresses neurologists from around the nation and world.  She has worked tirelessly to remove the stigma that has long been associated with epilepsy.

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