Irwin Belk

Posted on August 25, 2017

Irwin “Ike” Belk is the retired former CEO of the Belk Department Store chain, which was founded by his father, William Henry Belk, in 1888. Under his leadership, Belk Inc. became the largest, privately owned department store chain in the United States. In addition to his corporate work, Belk was a member of the United States Olympic Committee for 45 years, and in 1999, served as a delegate to the United Nations General Assembly. Throughout his career, Belk, along with his wife Carol, made donations totaling in the millions of dollars to more than 30 colleges and universities in North Carolina and South Carolina, and was a major backer of college sports in the Carolinas. Belk arguably became the biggest individual philanthropist in the sport of track and field, building more than thirty-five tracks throughout the country and serving as a Board member for the USA Track and Field Foundation. Belk has sports facilities of various kinds named after him at multiple universities in North Carolina, including the Irwin Belk Recreation Track at UNCG. The Irwin Belk Athletic Scholarship at UNCG, was also established and named in his honor.

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