Phail Wynn Jr. received his undergraduate degree from the University of Oklahoma, and then served six years as an officer in the U.S. Army, including a combat tour in Vietnam. He earned his master's and Ph.D degrees from North Carolina State University and his MBA from the Kenan-Flagler School of Business at the University of North Carolina. He was inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma, the national business honor society.
When Wynn was named president of Durham Technical Community College in 1980, he became the first African-American community college president in the North Carolina System. Through his stewardship, Durham Tech became a leader in providing training and instruction in various high-technology areas.
Wynn is a member of the board of directors of the Triangle Community Foundation; a member of the board of governors of Research Triangle Institute,; and a member of the corporate board of directors of SunTrust Banks and N.C. Mutual Life Insurance Company. He is a founding trustee of the Kenan Institute for Engineering, Technology and Science at N.C. State and also serves on the board of directors of the Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina.