Charlotte couple gives $1.25 million to Winthrop

Winthrop University received one of the 10 largest gifts it has ever received Friday.

Larry and Vivian Carroll of Charlotte made a $1.25 million dollar donation to the College of Business Administration.

Both Carrolls, originally from Rock Hill, have long worked in the financial world. The donation will purchase a modern financial trading center and set up an endowment to be spent on the business school.

Brien Lewis, acting vice president for university development and alumni relations, said it was one of the top five academic gifts the school has received.

"It is a very significant gift for us," Lewis said.

The largest gift recently, Lewis said, was $1.9 million given to the school to build Winthrop Ballpark.

The Carrolls' gift won't go to the construction of any buildings. But a recently built auditorium will be named after Vivian Carroll, a 1973 graduate of the school and an active alum.

Larry Carroll set up the gift as a surprise to his wife at an alumni meeting she was attending on the campus Friday, Lewis said.

"He wanted to do something to honor her at her alma mater," Lewis said.

Larry Carroll is president of the investment firm Carroll Financial Associates in Charlotte.

Vivian Carroll retired from Merrill Lynch in 2001 after 20 years in the financial planning business.

Most of the money, $1 million, will be used to set up the endowment, which will pay out approximately $50,000 per year to the business school.

Lewis said the other $250,000 will be used to begin the new financial trade center, which will house equipment similar to those used in investment firms.

"It helps complete our strategy of producing future business leaders," said Winthrop President Anthony DiGiorgio in a statement released Friday.