UNC Charlotte renamed the Dontá L. Wilson Residence Hall in honor of the business and university leader who has dedicated his life to inspiring hope among upcoming generations of students.

Wilson is vice chair of the University’s Board of Trustees, Truist Financial Corporation’s chief consumer and small business banking officer and a member of the operational council. During a routine meeting, UNC informed Wilson of their decision to rename the hall after him. 

“I found out during the summer of 2022,” Wilson said. “It was a surreal moment for me. My initial reaction was surprise and gratitude. I’ve had the honor of being engaged with UNC Charlotte for several years now, and I’m keenly aware of the criteria one must meet in order to receive an honorary naming. It’s a very thoughtful process,” he told the Charlotte Observer. 

During his tenure at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, he established the Wilson Believe Fund, designed to make college more accessible for first-generation students majoring in business or education. According to the university, about 40% of UNC Charlotte’s undergraduate students identify as first-generation college students. Wilson’s time as a college student at UNC Charlotte was comparable to many other students’ experiences today. During his first year in college, Wilson faced challenges as a first-generation college student.

“My family experienced the challenges that so many families face of sending a first-generation student to college. We didn’t have experiences or examples of how to best fund the college experience or make living arrangements. You learn quickly that it’s not just about getting to college but also getting through college. We had to navigate all of that as a family for the first time, and we can relate to the questions,” he said.

Wilson has made it his personal mission to help people succeed. He believes that life is more about giving than receiving.

“Helping other people excel is about providing a pathway for others to go further and go faster, sharing with them the resources and platforms you have so they can be successful. I believe life is about what you give more than what you receive. My goal is to be a net giver in this life, and at the core of what I desire to give is H.O.P.E.,” he said.

Wilson discussed H.O.P.E., an acronym for “helping other people excel,” which he recognized as his life’s goal.

“Hope is the key to igniting someone’s dreams or helping them be resilient during a tough time. Without hope, faith does not have an assignment. I often think about the great Jackie Robinson and how it’s not just about getting to the major league; it’s about unlocking the doors so others can play at an elevated level, too,” he continued.

Approximately 700 first-year students will live in the residential hall, which opened in January. The university’s first residence hall honoring a Black American is Wilson Hall, according to Inside UNC Charlotte.

“My greatest hope is to contribute to the kind of rich student experience that lives on long after their time at UNC Charlotte,” Wilson said. “I believe one of the most meaningful investments one can make is positively changing the trajectory of another person’s life for the better, especially one as significant as making an impact on advancing our community forward through education. When you look at all that UNC Charlotte has to offer, it’s about more than just providing a degree — it’s about supporting students through every aspect of the experience.”