In October 2023, Wayne Souza (Class of 1973) pledged a transformative gift to North Carolina Wesleyan University to advance the University’s nationally accredited program in Exercise Science. In 2021, the program moved into Wesleyan’s new Indoor Sports & Education Facility (ISEF) and recently has hired two new faculty members. The undergraduate degree in Exercise Science now accounts for NCWU’s second most popular major among traditional, incoming first-year students.
“I have a passion to give back to my alma mater. When presented this opportunity, it gave me a chance to not only give back and lend a hand, but to pull forward both NCWU students and boost an incredible program.” stated Wayne Souza in a recent interview.
This gift has allowed the University to launch a significant upgrade in equipment and facility. It also created the Wayne Souza Chair of Exercise Science. Dr. Meir Magal has been named the inaugural Souza Professor.
“I want to thank Mr. Souza for this very generous gift, I am honored to be named the Inaugural Souza Professor of Exercise Science! This charitable donation has allowed the Exercise Science Department to equip ISEF with cutting-edge resistance training equipment, enabling our students to gain invaluable experiential learning and research opportunities and engage in strength training with the University’s athletic teams.” expressed Dr. Magal.
Dr. Magal came to the United States from Israel to attend the University of Southern Mississippi where he played NCAA Division I Tennis and earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Exercise Science, as well as a Ph.D. in Human Performance. In 2002, Dr. Magal joined the faculty of North Carolina Wesleyan. In his 22 years at Wesleyan, Dr. Magal has won multiple awards including the Exemplary Teacher Award and the Jefferson Pilot Professorship. In 2011, he was named a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).
Dr. Magal has authored or co-authored more than 20 peer-reviewed articles as well as numerous book chapters. He served as an Associate Editor on the 10th edition of ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription and as Co-Editor of the 6th Edition of ACSM’s Fitness Assessment Manual. In addition, he also serves on the Editorial Board of ACSM’s Health and Fitness Journal and ACSM’s open-access journal, Exercise, Sport, and Movement. He has been particularly active in mentoring research with undergraduate students, serving as Chair for more than fifteen senior honors projects and a co-author with undergraduate students on multiple papers and conference presentations.
He currently serves as Program Director and Professor of Exercise Science and as Chair of the School of Mathematics and Sciences.
Dr. Joe Lane, Provost of North Carolina Wesleyan, noted, “Dr. Magal represents the epitome of the engaged teacher, scholar and advisor whom we want to develop and highlight on the North Carolina Wesleyan faculty. We are proud to honor him as the inaugural Souza Chair, and we look forward to the incredible work that he and his colleagues will accomplish with our students in the years ahead.”