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Mary Stuart Hankins Hunter, Ernest Lee Stoeffel and Allen Tate accept honorary degrees

Trio is recognized with honorary degrees for their scholarship, leadership and business savvy

05/19/10 -   Mary Stuart Hankins Hunter, Ernest Lee Stoeffel and H. Allen Tate Jr. were each honored with a Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Queens University of Charlotte during recent commencement exercises.

Hunter is the assistant vice provost at the University of South Carolina where she also serves as the executive director of the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition. She earned a bachelor of arts degree at Queens in 1974 and a master's in education from USC.

Hunter helped found University 101 Programs as an academic unit that fosters student success, development, and transitions into, through, and out of the University of South Carolina.  Now in its 38th year, this hallmark course has been used as a model nationwide for first-year seminars and is consistently named by US News and World Report as a "program to look for."

Under her direction the National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition has grown from a research and conference office to a valuable center and national leader in research, assessment, and training for first-year programs. Mrs. Hunter has become a leading scholar and consultant in the field, penning numerous articles and speaking frequent at conferences around the country. 

Stoffel earned master's and doctorate degrees in divinity at Union Theological Seminary.  He was ordained in 1947 and went on to serve churches in North Carolina, Alabama, Florida and Edinburgh, Scotland.  In Charlotte, he served as senior pastor from 1955 to 1972 at First Presbyterian Church and from 1981 to 1987 at Sardis Presbyterian Church.

He has served the greater Presbyterian Church in many capacities, including service as chair of the Mission Board and the Division of International Missions.  He also headed the delegations working with the Presbyterian Churches of Zaire, Mexico, Jamaica and Grand Cayman.  As a scholar, he has published five books on theology. 

During the turbulent decades of the 60s and 70s, Dr. Stoffel had a vision for ministry in Charlotte.  With other community leaders he began a variety of programs working with inner-city children, including tutorial sessions and summer camps.  He began the Community School of the Arts with Henry Bridges, then Director of Music at First Presbyterian, and brought a prophetic voice to the city during the era of court-mandated school desegregation.

Following Dr. Stoffel's retirement from the ministry, he became associate professor of religion at Queens.  He retired from teaching in 1993.

Tate was recognized for his more than five decades of strong business leadership and civic engagement across the Charlotte region. 

Tate is the quintessential entrepreneur.  In 1957, a few years after graduating from the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, he founded the Allen Tate Company as a one-man, one-office real estate and insurance company.  In the years that followed he grew his real estate company while also entering the realms of commercial and residential development and home building. 

Throughout his career, he has employed his entrepreneurial spirit and real estate savvy to lead the company to its current position as the market-dominant real estate firm in the Carolinas, no. 15 among all residential real estate companies in the United States and seventh among independently owned companies, based on closed transactions sides for 2009.  The Allen Tate Family of Companies includes more than 1,500 Realtors„µ and 200 employees across the Carolinas, a nationally recognized Relocation Center, Allen Tate Mortgage Services, Allen Tate Insurance Services, Allen Tate Home Services, Builder Services Inc., Master Title Agency, and the Allen Tate School of Real Estate/Professional Development Center.

Tate has or is currently serving on the boards of the University of North Carolina - Charlotte Foundation, the Central Piedmont Community College Foundation, the Piedmont Public Policy Institute, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World„µ network, and Central Carolina Bank.  He has also served as chairman of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association's Heart Ball, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Commission and the RELO network.

Queens University of Charlotte is a private, co-ed, Presbyterian-affiliated comprehensive university with a commitment to both liberal arts and professional studies. Located in the heart of historic Charlotte, Queens serves approximately 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students through its College of Arts and Sciences, the McColl School of Business, the Wayland H. Cato, Jr. School of Education, the School of Communication, Hayworth College for Adult Studies and the Andrew Blair College of Health which features the Presbyterian School of Nursing.

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