After serving with the U.S. Attorney and District Attorney offices in Mississippi, Judge Wingate became the first African American appointed to that state's federal bench in 1985. He continues to serve as Federal Judge for the Southern District of Mississippi. Earlier, he served in the U.S. Navy's Judge Advocate General's Corps and taught at Golden Gate University, Mississippi College School of Law, Mississippi Judicial College, and the University of Houston Law Center. He has won several national and local service awards and has been active in community affairs in Jackson, Mississippi, where he lives. He graduated from Grinnell in 1969 with a B.A. in philosophy and received a law degree from Yale in 1972. He received an honorary degree from Grinnell in 1986.