With $1.6 million planned gift, James Dutton elevates UNCG Volleyball

UNCG Volleyball is known for its vocal fans, giving the team a boost at key moments.

One such fan, James Dutton, with a $1.6 million planned gift, will help turn the volleyball program into a perennial power.

  • $1.1 million of the planned gift will establish the James Dutton Endowed Scholarships in Volleyball, providing two full-cost-of-attendance scholarships annually for members of the UNCG Women’s Volleyball team.
  • $450,000 of the planned gift is designated for a UNCG Volleyball Enrichment Fund.
  • $50,000 will support the UNCG Volleyball team’s operating budget. 

This $1.6 million commitment marks the largest gift by one donor in UNCG Athletics history.

“I have seen this volleyball program grow. I’ve admired its tenacity and passion for winning,” Dutton said. “Last season, they surprised a lot of people around the SoCon by taking the regular-season title when they had relatively few veteran starters returning. I want to help these Spartan student-athletes reach even greater heights.”

UNCG Chancellor Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr. said, “James Dutton’s generous support – as a longtime enthusiastic fan and magnanimous benefactor – is lighting the way for women’s volleyball and Spartan Athletics. He will be helping generations of student-athletes excel on the court and in the classroom.”

Dutton grew up near UNCG, in a turn-of-the-century home on Tate Street. He knew the campus well, attending Curry School, a teacher training school near the heart of the campus. The Curry School Phantoms’ class lessons were regularly supplemented by those led by bright undergrads and graduate students in the UNCG School of Education. The Phantom alumni, he notes, remember their school days on the campus fondly. 

Before his undergraduate years at UNC Chapel Hill and afterward, Dutton took courses at UNC Greensboro. 

He began playing competitive volleyball in his forties, and he continued playing for another 20 years. Now at age 80, he intends to make his most powerful set-up assist on the court yet.

UNCG Athletic Director Brian Mackin said, “This transformative gift will take the UNCG Volleyball program to a new level. Its impact on our student-athletes will be tremendous.”

Volleyball coach Corey Carlin noted, “It’s pretty incredible to have someone give this level of financial support to any volleyball program, so we are extremely thankful and fortunate to receive such generous support for the program and our students. We are proud that Mr. Dutton’s name and legacy will carry on indefinitely through the scholarships that will bear his name.”

This planned gift is part of UNCG’s Light the Way: The Campaign for Earned Achievement. This comprehensive fundraising campaign seeks to raise $200 million to increase access, elevate academic excellence, and enhance the tremendous impact of UNCG’s programs. 

Contact David Landers, Director of Planned Giving, to learn about how to create a lasting legacy at UNCG through planned giving. Visit lighttheway.uncg.edu for additional information.