Wingate University rolled out the blue carpet on Friday night for 11 successful alumni. During the annual Blue Carpet Gala, five distinguished alumni were honored for their postgraduation contributions, and six former student-athletes were inducted into the Wingate Sports Hall of Fame.
Audley Bell (Distinguished Alumnus Award)
Bell received his associate degree in accounting in 1971, the same year he and his Wingate teammates won their second men’s tennis national championship. He went on to play No. 1 singles at Wake Forest and forged an impressive career as an accounting executive. In 2019 Bell retired as chief audit executive with the nonprofit World Vision International, having previously served as an executive with Habitat for Humanity International.
A member of Wingate’s Board of Trustees, Bell was awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters by the University in 2016. Bell is also a member of the Wingate Sports Hall of Fame.
Jhanalyn Blount (Champion of Diversity Award)
After receiving her bachelor’s in marketing from Wingate in 2007, Blount was far from done in the classroom. She also has a bachelor’s in international affairs and development from UNC Greensboro, a juris doctorate from Arkansas-Little Rock, and an MBA from the University of Arkansas.
As the corporate legal counsel at Kinesso, in Little Rock, Jhanalyn enjoys delving into different areas of law, representing a company that is socially conscious, and working with people from different parts of the world.
Joe Hunter (Honorary Alumnus Award)
A former Marine and a champion of small, private colleges and universities in North Carolina, Hunter has worked with the Cannon Charitable Interests for 35 years. During Hunter’s tenure, the Trusts have provided more than $20 million in grants to the University.
He has served as a Wingate University trustee since 2009, moving to honorary lifetime status in 2021. He says his time on the board has helped him learn more about higher education, knowledge he has put to work in his role with the charitable trusts. The University awarded Hunter a Doctor of Humane Letters in May.
Allison Rickher Pullen (Alumni Excellence in Service Award)
A two-time Wingate graduate (2014, 2016 PAS), Pullen is a physician assistant with Novant Health First Charlotte Physicians in Matthews, N.C.
From her time at Wingate, Pullen learned how giving of herself could affect others. Whether it is by financial investment or time investment, she has found community service to be humbling and rewarding. She says the close-knit Wingate community inspired her philanthropic activities. In addition to Wingate University, Allison is involved with St. Peter Catholic Church and with All Things Possible, an area nonprofit that helps families with medical needs.
Will Stokes (Outstanding Young Alumnus Award)
A two-time Wingate grad (2013, 2016 DPT), Stokes recently left his position as clinic director at the Greg Ott Center for Physical Therapy and Sports Performance in Mooresville, N.C., to start officer training school in the U.S. Navy.
In addition to his extensive work with the American Physical Therapy Association and with Wingate University, Stokes is involved with the National Strength and Conditioning Association, the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States, Habitat for Humanity, Relay for Life, Mooresville-Iredell Chamber of Commerce, Sons of the American Revolution, North Carolina Special Olympics, Scouts BSA, and the Navy SEAL Foundation.
Sports Hall of Fame members
Kyle Corcoran (men’s swimming)
A 14-time All-American, Corcoran, a 2010 graduate, led Wingate to sixth-place finishes in the NCAA Division II national meet in each of his last two seasons. He led Wingate to three Bluegrass Mountain Conference titles. Currently a police officer in Seattle, Corcoran earned his bachelor’s degree in sport management.
Ashley Denton Clark (women’s golf)
A four-time All-South Atlantic Conference player, Clark led Wingate to its first NCAA tournament appearance, in 2009. In 2008, she won the SAC tournament, and she also qualified for the NCAA tournament as an individual in 2010. Clark is Wingate’s all-time leader in career tournaments and rounds and for a decade held the Wingate record for career stroke average (78.28). A two-time Wingate graduate (2011, 2014 MASM), Clark is an inside service sales representative with Eaton.
Stormi Gale (volleyball)
A four-time All-SAC honoree, Gale became Wingate’s first-ever volleyball All-American in 2009 (and backing that up with All-American status in 2010). The Bulldogs reached new heights during her tenure, going undefeated in the SAC (64-0) during her four years, during which time she was named the SAC Player of the Year twice (2009, 2010) and the SAC Female Athlete of the Year once (2010). Gale is a two-time Wingate graduate, earning a bachelor’s in biology in 2011 and a doctor of pharmacy in 2015.
Luke Mulholland (men’s soccer)
A four-time All-SAC honoree and three-time All-American, Mulholland was the SAC Player of the Year in 2009. He went on to a 10-year career in Major League Soccer with Real Salt Lake, playing 123 matches. During his time at Wingate, the Bulldogs won the 2010 SAC regular-season title and reached the NCAA tournament three times. During his junior season, the midfielder scored 17 goals and was named All-American. Mulholland, who earned his bachelor’s in sport management in 2011, is a club scout with Real Salt Lake.
Bryan Safarik (men’s lacrosse)
An All-American who is sixth on Wingate’s all-time points list, Safarik was selected in the third round of the 2007 National Lacrosse League draft. Until the 2021 season, Safarik’s 43 goals in the 2006 season were the most in program history. He is fourth in school history with 118 career goals. A finance major who graduated in 2007, Safarik, a native and resident of Vancouver, B.C., is the president of Castle Rock Farms and is the chief operating officer of Optimi Health.
Jayce Post-Watson (men’s cross country)
A four-time All-SAC runner, Post-Watson won back-to-back individual SAC titles, in 2007 and 2008. He was named all-region three times and piled up 10 victories during his career. He was an individual qualifier for the NCAA national championships three times. Post-Watson was also named Academic All-American his senior year. A mathematics major who graduated in 2009, Post-Watson went on to earn a master’s in finance mathematics from the University of Connecticut and is a vice president of finance management with Bank of America.