Wingate University is a private comprehensive university with nearly 2,700 students. It has three campuses in Wingate, Charlotte and Hendersonville, in North Carolina, United States. It was founded by Baptists in 1896 as Wingate School, an independent, co-educational institution and later became a four-year college. In 1996, Wingate College became Wingate University. The university offers 34 undergraduate majors, 37 minors and career concentrations, numerous pre-professional programs, graduate degrees in business, accounting, education, physician assistant studies and sport administration, and doctorates in pharmacy, physical therapy and education. Wingate University is listed sixth among Best Value colleges and universities in the South based on quality and net cost according to the recently released ranking of the nations top schools in U.S. News & World Reports 2012 Best Colleges. Wingate student athletes compete in 22 NCAA Division II sports, and the University has won the South Atlantic Conference Echols Athletic Excellence Award for the past seven years.