On one of the most historic days in athletics department history, Liberty University took time to honor one of its long-time financial supporters.
During Liberty's first-ever FBS football game, last Saturday, against in-state foe Old Dominion, the Williams Stadium West Tower was renamed the Carter Tower in memory of Worth Harris Carter, Jr., in appreciation of his love and generous support of Liberty University and Liberty Flames Athletics.
Born on August 18, 1937, in Richmond, Va., Carter graduated from the University of Richmond in 1958 and attended the University of Virginia School of Law from 1958 to 1960.
After starting his career as a Federal Reserve bank examiner, he founded a small community bank in 1974 in Rocky Mount, Va., with eight employees and $1.2 million in assets. Over the ensuing 30 years, Carter would go on to establish a total of 10 community banks throughout Virginia and North Carolina. In 2006, he merged the 10 banks into Carter Bank & Trust with 123 branches, nearly 1,000 employees, and $4.5 billion in total assets.
Carter's work ethic was truly legendary; his only hobby was Carter Bank, where he continued to serve as CEO and chairman of the board until his passing on April 7, 2017, at the age of 79. At the time of his death, Carter Bank & Trust had become Virginia's second largest community bank. The bank was also one of Liberty Athletics' largest corporate sponsors and the longest-tenured luxury suite holder. In addition, Carter was himself one of the largest individual annual donors to the Flames Club.
Carter Bank & Trust helped underwrite much of Liberty University's growth and operations dating back to the late 1980's, providing the university's first long-term mortgage financing in 1997. In recognition of Carter's legendary and innovative contributions to small-town banking in Virginia, and his support of Liberty University, he was awarded an honorary doctorate of business from the university in 2012.
Upon Carter's death, he established the Worth Harris Carter, Jr., and Katherine S. Carter Endowment Scholarship Fund to provide assistance for deserving Liberty University students from the areas of Virginia and North Carolina served by his bank.
Liberty University President Jerry Falwell said, "I can attest to the fact that Liberty University would not have survived the financial struggles it faced in the 1990's, if Worth Carter had not believed in the school and the incredible potential it had. His willingness to loan to Liberty when the big banks all said 'no' was key to Liberty stabilizing its finances and growing to become one of the most successful and prosperous universities in the nation."