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JCSU mourns the loss of former board member Cary Mitchell

Cary Mitchell headshot

Charlotte, N.C. / April 13, 2022 - Johnson C. Smith University mourns the passing of Cary Mitchell ’83. He was a dedicated alumnus who worked faithfully to advance his alma mater. We are proud of his accomplishments as a renowned clothing designer, including creating the look of the NBA Charlotte Bobcat’s uniform. He made his mark as the personal designer to many famous athletes and celebrities.

JCSU President Clarence D. Armbrister expressed his sadness at the loss of a member of our JCSU Family, who cared deeply for and supported the University with great enthusiasm, “I understand that Cary’s passion for clothing design began when he was a student at JCSU, I am proud to know how well he served the University and so many worthwhile charities. His willingness to give back is also shown by his five-year term of service on the JCSU Board of Trustees,” said Armbrister. “His journey as a student who embraced his talent for clothing design, making it into a thriving career, all while remembering and honoring the communities from which he came including, of course, our Institution, is a true example of what we hope all our students become. On behalf of the entire JCSU Family, I extend my heartfelt condolences to Cary’s family, friends and classmates.”

A native of Richmond, Va, Mitchell visited JCSU and according to Golden Bulls Athletic Director, Coach Steve Joyner, Sr. ’73, he fell in love with the school. Mitchell was a student assistant on the basketball team and graduated with a degree in Health and Physical Education in 1983. 

After graduating, Mitchell turned an interest in clothing into a career, designing men’s suits and starting his own custom apparel company, Cary Mitchell Designs. Through his company, Mitchell provided attire for numerous athletes including star players from the NBA, NFL and MLB. He served as a consultant to the Charlotte Bobcats when they designed their uniforms. 

Mitchell was also well known for his philanthropy which had deep roots in the Charlotte community. He worked to uplift the Black community and had an interest in supporting HBCUs.

“Cary Mitchell cared deeply about community, but especially about the Black communities in Charlotte and Richmond,” Nick Wharton, president and chief executive officer of the Charlotte Area Fund, told the Richmond Free Press.

He served with distinction as a member of the Board of Trustees at Johnson C. Smith and was an ardent supporter of the United Negro College Fund. Mitchell also supported Big Brothers, Big Sisters, the Levine Museum of the New South and the Dell Curry Foundation as well as several other non-profits in both Richmond and Charlotte. 

Mitchell will be missed by the JCSU Family but his contributions to JCSU and the city surrounding the University will endure. His funeral will be on Friday, April 15 at Charlotte’s Victory Christian Center.

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