James William (Bill) Kirk grew up on his parents’ dairy farm that adjoined the land that is now the UNC Charlotte campus. Mr. Kirk was a graduate of Newell High school. He served six years in the Naval Reserve and two years in the Army during the Korean War. After the war, he served as a substitute agricultural teacher. He worked at Alexander Tank & Equipment,General Motors, and was a rural mail carrier in Charlotte for 30 years. He truly enjoyed and loved his family and his community.
Mr. Kirk was a life-long member of Mallard Creek Presbyterian Church, where he served over the years as an Elder, Deacon, Sunday School Teacher, Superintendent, and all-around volunteer. He was involved in the Church’s famous barbecue. Being engaged in community service was important to Mr. Kirk. He helped organize the Newell Volunteer Fire Department, where he retired with 25 years of service, including several years as President. He was active in the University City Civitan Club where he also served as President. Mr. Kirk also had a life-long love of gardening. He was well known in his community and on his mail route for sharing home grown tomatoes and other fresh-picked produce. He continuously yearned for the opportunity to share his bounty of produce and service with others.
UNC Charlotte was always dear to Mr. Kirk. He and his wife Nancy raised their daughter Kim Kirk Steffan in a home adjacent to the university. During the early days of UNC Charlotte, he assisted Ms. Bonnie Cone with setting up for special events. While he was unable to attend college as a young man due to family obligations, he proudly earned his undergraduate degree in Business Administration from UNC Charlotte at the age of 56. While going back to school later in life was, in some ways, more challenging than going directly from high school to college, Mr. Kirk found it both enjoyable and rewarding. He later served on the Alumni Board of Governors and was elected to the Alumni Hall of Fame.
The fund proceeds from the James William Kirk endowed scholarship will be used to provide scholarship assistance to non-traditional students. Academic merit should be considered when awarding this scholarship. Preference will be given to North Carolina residents.