The Robert W. Winston Distinguished Professorship was established in 1986 by Charles M. and James H. Winston in honor of their father, Robert Watson Winston Jr. Income from the fund will support faculty members in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Their gift of $333,000 was supplemented with $167,000 in state funds from the Distinguished Professors Endowment Trust Fund to create a $500,000 endowed professorship.

The Winston family’s long association with the University dates back to the mid-1800s. Robert Watson Winston Sr. and his brother, Francis, were the first students to enroll at the University after it re-opened during Civil War Reconstruction. Another Winston brother, George, succeeded Kemp P. Battle as president of the University from 1891 to 1896.

Robert Watson Winston Sr. was born in Bertie County in 1860. He earned a B.A. from the University in 1879. He was a prominent attorney and judge. At age 60, he came back to UNC to earn a degree in journalism. He then became a writer.

His son, Robert Jr., was a member of the Class of 1912. While attending the University, he served as captain of the football team and was a star of the track team. Robert Jr. is given credit for having been one of the first people to run the 100-yard dash in ten seconds. He is also credited for having played in a football game with a ruptured appendix. Incidentally, the team won that game.

Robert Jr. was a lawyer who graduated in law from the University. He also attended the Sorbonne after serving much of his duty in France as a Captain in World War I.

Robert Jr. and his wife, the former Anne McKimmon, had three children: Jane, Charles (B.A. ’53) and James (B.S. ’54).

Charles McKimmon Winston was born in 1929. A businessman, entrepreneur and real estate developer, he was a co-founder of several successful restaurants, including The Angus Barn in Raleigh and Darryl’s, a national chain. He sold The Angus Barn to his partner and sold Darryl’s to General Mills Restaurant Group. He then formed the company WJS, which eventually owned 10 mid-priced hotels in North Carolina and Georgia. In 1994, he and his son Robert parlayed that string of hotels into Winston Hotels Inc., a public, multimillion dollar real estate investment trust. Charles Winston now is president of The Winston Group, which includes Winston Hotels Inc.

At the University, Charlie Winston has been a member of the Board of Visitors and a director-at-large of the General Alumni Association. He was also a member of the board of the N.C. Educational Foundation. He and his wife, the former Florence Barclay, have three children: Marion, Charles Jr. and Robert Watson III (B.A. ’84).

James Horner Winston was born in 1933. He now lives in Jacksonville, Fla. He is president and owner of LPMC, a Jacksonville-based private investment company. Jim Winston is also president of Omega Insurance Company, a property/casualty insurance company doing business in Florida, and president of Citadel Life and Health Insurance Company. Further, he is chairman of the board of White Oak Land Company, which is involved in real estate development, including the development of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Amelia Island, Fla.

Jim Winston has been active in the community having served as president of the Jacksonville YMCA, Chamber of Commerce and the city’s symphony. He served a number of years as a trustee of Jacksonville University and the Jacksonville Episcopal High School. Jim Winston has also served on the University’s Board of Visitors and the General Alumni Association. He is currently serving on the Arts and Sciences Foundation Board.

Jim Winston is married to the former Mary Burgman. They have two children, Mary and James Jr. (B.A. ’81, Ph.D. ’91).

The Robert W. Winston Distinguished Professor

2001 – Present: Virginia H. Gray