Unusual Gift to UNC Charlotte Builds New Admissions Center
Dr. Lucius Gage was a well-respected Charlotte physician and equestrian. At his home in Waxhaw, he created a sanctuary for wildlife, cultivated beautiful gardens, and enjoyed training and riding his three horses.
Connected to UNC Charlotte through his best friend, beloved biology professor Dr. Herbert Hechenbleikner, Dr. Gage wanted to leave his property to the University, but was concerned about the possibility of his horses outliving him. UNC Charlotte's then Director of Planned Giving, Carl Johnson, shared with Dr. Gage a way he could continue to enjoy his property throughout his life, while ultimately helping the University. He donated his farm to UNC Charlotte through a retained life estate gift, with a twist. The retained life estate deeded the property to UNC Charlotte while retaining Dr. Gage's right to remain on the property for the rest of his life. The twist was the horses could also stay there, should they outlive him.
Dr. Gage died in 2011. All but one of his horses predeceased him. The surviving horse, Kita, continued to wait at the same spot by the house every morning for Dr. Gage to greet her, as she had done for the past 30 years. After she died, UNC Charlotte sold the property in accordance with the agreement, which specified funds should be used where they were most needed.
An obvious candidate for the funds was soon selected. The University had a long-standing need to upgrade its Admissions Department which had outgrown its space, preventing it from optimally serving prospective students and their families. The planning began, and in August 2019 the Gage Undergraduate Admissions Center was dedicated, tripling the amount of available space. This allowed Director Claire Kirby and her admissions team to provide multiple campus tours per day during peak times. Its location adjacent to the University's main entrance and dedicated parking make campus visits much easier for high school groups, prospective students, and their families.
Thanks to his planning and forethought, Dr. Gage was able to have an enormous impact at UNC Charlotte. He retained his assets until he no longer needed them, and then used them to leave a lasting legacy. UNC Charlotte is forever grateful.