- Associated Press - Friday, October 3, 2014

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - A Charlotte couple has donated $2 million to the University of North Carolina Charlotte to help start a marching band in time for the school’s move up to big-time NCAA football next year.

UNC Charlotte alumni Vickie and Gene Johnson made the announcement Thursday at the site of a future marching band center that will be named for the couple, The Charlotte Observer (http://bit.ly/1rI7F3r) reported.

School officials plan to have a 150-member marching band ready next fall, when UNCC’s football program moves to the Football Bowl Subdivision, the top level of NCAA football.

A student drum line has been performing at football games.

“We have seen, firsthand, the impact that the drum line has had on both students and alumni,” Gene Johnson said. “And we are very excited to help expand this tradition.

School officials said part of the Johnson’s gift will be used for a marching band scholarship fund. They expect the band to eventually have up to 350 members.

Gene Johnson, from the class of 1973, has been president of the alumni board and a member of the board of trustees. Last May, he became the first graduate to be awarded an honorary degree.

Vickie Johnson, a 1971 graduate, has two degrees from the school and has served on the alumni board of directors.

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Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com

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