Six Remarkable WPU Alumna to remember this International Women’s Day

Mar 8, 2022

Since its founding in 1857, William Peace University (WPU) has been the home for thousands of remarkable women.

Each woman has courageously carved her own path forward, confidently making her mark on the world. Many of these women have been trailblazers in politics in the early 1900s or in nonprofits in the 2020s. 

Numerous stories of courage could be shared to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8. For now, here are six:

Sara Jo Manning 58 60

When Sara Jo Manning 58 60 graduated from what was then called Peace College, she knew she wanted to support her alma mater. She began her commitment with a $5 gift each year. Decades later, Manning’s act of support grew in size and time. She established the Manning Music Fund (2007), and most recently, she created the Manning Immersive Learning Experiences Fund. 

Manning has courageously supported the University year after year and has impacted thousands of students. She continues to regularly visit campus. In February 2022, Manning attended a Motown concert at the North Symphony with WPU Students. Her fund gives students the opportunity to be immersed in cultural activities in and out of the classroom. Prior to the concert, composer and Associate Professor of the Practice of Music at Duke University, Anthony Kelley, visited WPU to share his explanation of the music with students. 

You can read more about Manning here.

Gail Godwin 57

“One is tempted to speak in hushed, valedictory tones when talking about Gail Godwin,” the Washington Post writes about author Godwin 57. 

An author for more than 50 years, she has written 14 novels, two short story collections, four non-fiction books, and ten libretti. Her most recent novel, published in 2020, was featured in The Washington Post. She has five best-sellers novels and three finalist novels for the National Book Award.

Carrie Lougee Broughton 

Peace Institute graduate Carrie Lougee Broughton was the first woman to be appointed as head of a North Carolina state department. Broughton was appointed as the fourth State Librarian. 

She served from 1918 to 1956, a time when women were not even considered for positions like that. However, Broughton’s courageous and exceptional character was noticed by those around her. Endorsements from citizens and organizations, like the North Carolina Library Association and the North Carolina Library Commission, lead to her appointment. 

Gertrude Dills McKee

The first woman to be elected to North Carolina State Senate, Gertrude Dills McKee, was a graduate of Peace Institute. McKee, determined to be in leadership roles, led numerous clubs and organizations. In 1930, the Democratic party nominated McKee to run. After she won her first election, Mckee then went on to be elected two more terms.

Gale McKoy Wilkins 11

Gale Wilkins ‘11 is the Executive Director of the afterschool program Project Arrow, the first nonprofit of its kind. It provides an evidence-based Life Coaching and Leadership program for middle, high school, and first-year college students. Her service for youth and families garnered her recognition as the 2021 School of Professional Studies  Alumni of the Year.

Wilkins’ story has humble beginnings in rural North Carolina. She completed her undergraduate degree in 2011 through WPU’s School of Professional Studies. Now, Wilkins serves on the Alumni Association Board

You can read more about Wilkins in the latest issue of  PEACE Magazine in April. 

Fortune Feimster 02

Fortune Feimster 02 is a Netflix star and comedian. She’s practiced in the confidence needed to take the stage.

The 2021 Alumna of the Year has had her own Netflix special, “Sweet & Salty”. She has also been featured in Lionsgate’s  “Bar and Star go to Vista Del Mar” and Netflix’s “Yes Day” and “Friendsgiving.” Along with this, Feimster is a series regular on NBC’s “Kenan” and “The Netflix Afterparty” with David Spade. You can read more about Feimster here.


These are just a few of the many courageous stories of WPU Alumnae — there are countless more that could be shared. If you know of a story of an alumna that should be shared or want to share your own story, submit your suggestion here

Give Courageously to Peace

Thanks to the generosity of William Peace University supporters, current and future WPU students have access to the resources needed to learn through immersive experiences, build upon their courage and develop the confidence needed to turn passion into purpose.
Roses float in the campus fountain after an alumni event.
a student uses a laptop on a green bench at William Peace University

Give Now

Support future Pacer success. 


Become a Corporate Partner

Find out how your organization can collaborate with Peace.


Whether you’re hoping to attend WPU or hosting an event, you’re welcome to visit WPU! 

Wedding at WPU
Phantom in downtown Raleigh

Conferences and Events

Host your conference, event, or wedding at WPU.

Location and Directions

Get directions, our address, a campus map, and hotel discount information.


Learn about WPU and all it has to offer so you can guide your students to the best fit for their next step. 

Admissions Info

Meet and connect with our Admissions team.

Schedule a Visit

Learn about our processes and schedule a visit.


Our success as an institution has always been rooted in the strength of our community. As an integral part of that community, we invite alumni to stay informed and connected. 

Alumni outside at WPU
Roses float in the campus fountain after an alumni event.
Building at WPU

Get Involved

Stay connected to Peace.


Contribute to the success of future Pacers.

General Info

Read about alumni benefits.


Families are an integral part of a student’s path to WPU. Find answers to your questions here. 

Two WPU students work together on a project during class

Student Success: Why Choose WPU?

Learn about the value of an education at WPU.

Billing and Due Dates

Questions about your student’s enrollment or billing? Start here.

Current Students

Already a Pacer? Here’s your quick path to information, links, and other useful stuff.

Group of students talking
Students high-fiving each other

Current Students

Missing something? Can’t find a link? Start here.

Current Parents and Families

Is your student a Pacer? Here’s where to get information and contacts.

Future Students

Welcome to William Peace University! We offer programs for both traditional undergraduate students and online/hybrid classes through our School of Professional Studies. Find your path to WPU here.

Three WPU students walk through a brick archway on campus.
Three students discuss their work during class.
Older gentleman at a computer

First Time in College

Your WPU education will help you build practical skills for your future.

Transfer Students

Transfer up to 90 credit hours from any institution. 

Working Professionals

Enhance your existing career.

A WPU student works on a video game in the new esports and gaming lab on campus.
Woman in army green typing at computer
Two female international students


If you previously attended WPU and are ready to return, start here. 


Learn more about how to apply the GI bill.

International Students

Find out how to attend WPU.


WPU has a long history as one of the city’s oldest universities. Find out more about our institution in the heart of downtown Raleigh. 

2023 Student Showcase
Staff Pumpkin Painting


Through 160 years, William Peace University has evolved to meet the changing needs of the students we serve.


William Peace University is a small, private institution located in downtown Raleigh, NC.

Work at WPU

Join our team and see why William Peace University was voted one of the Triangle’s Best Places to Work!

DEI Staff
Design Rendering of WPU

Contact Us

Contact the University

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Learn about DEI at WPU.

Mission, Vision, and Values

Learn about WPU core tenets. 

Student Life

Whether you want to know more about on-campus events or see our residence halls, get a sense of what life is like as a student at WPU.

WPU Student on bouncy slide
A WPU student sits with his friends while eating at Belk dining hall.
WPU Safety Officer

Clubs, Activities and Events

Discover what’s fun at WPU.

Housing & Dining

When people say that WPU “feels like home,” we think that’s the ultimate compliment.

Safety & Security

The Office of Public Safety is committed to providing a community-friendly approach to enhancing campus safety for students, faculty and staff.

Dining room at Peace
A WPU student sits with his friends while eating at Belk dining hall.
Health and wellness at WPU


Cheer on your Pacers at their next home game.

Student Support Services

Find out how the WPU team supports the whole you.

Health and Wellness

Learn about physical and mental health services available to students.


WPU offers a mix of more than 30 degree programs and additional minors. Our courses are four credit hours each, and every course features immersive learning experiences.

A student in WPU's online School of Professional Studies works on her homework.
2023 Internship Showcase

Immersive Learning

Find out about WPU’s unique approach to learning.

Center for Student Success

Peer tutoring, a first-year success program, and an internship program are just part of why Pacers succeed. 


Start here to find out how to apply, visit, and learn more about WPU.

Before you apply:

Admissions team
students walking on campus
A student reviews scholarship and payment information in the financial aid office.

Connect with an Admission Couneslor

They’ll be your guide through the process.

Visit Campus

Get a feel for campus life.

Understand Costs

Find out about Financial aid and other options to pay for college.