Article written by Institutional Advancement student worker, Rebecca Ashton, Class of 2022

Dr. William Boles, Jr., a UNC graduate, business owner, Barton Board of Advisors member, and community leader, has committed a planned estate gift to Barton College. “I owe my success to having grown up in this community, having great parents, and the opportunity to get a grade A education… I want to make it more affordable for students to go to Barton.” says Dr Boles. 

Dr. Boles, is a long-time supporter of Barton College and the Wilson community. His mother was a faculty member for 25 years and served as the social chairman. Through her, Dr. Boles developed a deep connection with the college, and was often on campus during his youth: “When I was about 12 I would be over here on campus while she was arranging a May Day dance or she would go out to high schools to recruit students and I would sometimes go with her on those outings. I would come over occasionally and watch basketball games in the old gym. Barton was a part of my life growing up.” Dr. Boles’ involvement and support of Barton has earned him recognition in the Barton Society, Bell Society, and Heritage Society. He has served on Barton’s Board of Advisors for the last 6 years. Dr. Boles’ involvement extends past Barton, serving on the Board of Advisors for BB&T Bank, the county Health Board, and as an elder in the Presbyterian church. “I’m invested in this community and Barton students, the college, the campus has been a symbiotic relationship with our community here and I’ve actually seen a lot of Barton graduates remain in Wilson and become very productive citizens.”

Dr. Boles has chosen to continue his support of Barton through an estate gift. This type of philanthropy will continually support Barton through the establishment of two endowments. 

One portion of the gift will go to establish the William B. Boles, Jr. Endowment for the Arts. Earnings from the fund will be used annually to benefit the students, faculty, and programs with Barton College’s music, theatre, and visual arts. Dr. Boles’ passion for the arts comes in part from his involvement with the Barton College/Wilson Symphony Orchestra where he plays the trumpet. “This is a special gift,” said Symphony Director Mark Peterson. “Bill is good at so many things, including playing the trumpet. He does it really well. We are thrilled to be a part of his legacy through this gift.”

Another portion of the gift will go to establish the William B. Boles, Jr. Athletic Endowment. Earnings from the fund will be used annually to benefit the student-athletes, coaches, and programs with Barton College’s Athletics. Dr. Boles’ enthusiasm for the athletic program is based on his own experience as an accomplished golfer during his days at UNC Chapel Hill, eventually playing in the U.S. Amateur Championship. “Bill has been a great friend to Barton, especially our athletic program, for many years,” said Todd Wilkinson, Barton’s athletic director. “He’s one of the most decorated amateur golf players in North Carolina. He has been a mentor to our golf teams and always brings kindness and caring to every interaction with our student-athletes. He compliments and encourages them, we’ll never know how much those compliments have meant over the years.”

The remaining amount will be allocated to the unrestricted fund to be used where needed most as decided by the College. Dr. Boles is an enthusiastic supporter of Barton’s academic programs. “A liberal arts education to me is an essential for any young person going forward. I think Barton’s doing a great job here with their curriculum, their teachers, their faculty and their staff. I’m real impressed with it.,” says Dr. Boles. “I think a basic college education is just essential to finding good employment when you go. No matter what your major is, whether it’s religion, history, business, it’s essential to learn how to think properly and to also be socially aware and understand the issues that we face.”  

Giving back to the community as an investment in the future. Dr. Boles hopes that, by investing in Barton, he can encourage students to reach for their highest potential. “To me, Barton College is the the most effective way that I can reinvest in young people and future of the economy, not just of Wilson, but of the economy of the United States, because a lot of these students will move to other areas and hopefully do great things, and continue to make our economy the greatest in the world.” Making college more affordable makes it more accessible and more encouraging for students to achieve a degree. 

When asked why he chose to make a planned estate gift, Dr Boles said “I think it’s a great place to do it, at least what you can contribute, to contribute here. I think giving is certainly a very personal, individual endeavor, and everybody has to make up their own mind as to how best to use their funds. But I think that anybody that can afford to give would see a great return on their investment if they would choose to invest some of their wealth in Barton college.” An investment in Barton is an investment in the future.

If you are inspired to learn more about estate giving, please contact Tom Maze, Assistant Vice President for Leadership Giving at (252) 399-6533 or