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University of North Carolina
at Wilmington
University of North Carolina Wilmington
Motto Discere Aude
Motto in English Dare to Learn
Established 1947
Type State University
Endowment $55 million (2008)
Chancellor Rosemary DePaolo
Faculty 851
Staff 1,316
Undergraduates 12,195
Postgraduates 1,206
Location Wilmington, North Carolina, USA
Mascot Sammy the Seahawk

The University of North Carolina at Wilmington (also known as UNCW and UNC Wilmington) is a public, coeducational university located in Wilmington, North Carolina.



The school opened its doors for the first time on September 4, 1947, as Wilmington College. At the time the school operated as a junior college, offering freshman-level courses to 250 students during the first school year, and was under control of the New Hanover County Board of Education. Wilmington College earned accreditation from the North Carolina College Conference in 1948 and became a member of the American Association of Junior Colleges. Further accreditation came in 1952 when the institution was so honored by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

In 1958 Wilmington College was placed under the Community College Act of North Carolina, thereby passing control from the New Hanover County Board of Education to a board of trustees. The college was now state-supported and under the supervision of the North Carolina Board of Higher Education.

Wilmington College became a senior college on July 1, 1963, when the North Carolina General Assembly passed legislation allowing the school to offer a four-year curriculum and award bachelor's degrees. Six years later, July 1, 1969, the name of the school was changed to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, making UNCW the fifth campus of the University of North Carolina system. On August 22, 1977, UNCW was authorized to offer its first graduate programs at the master's level.[3] Currently, UNCW has over 12,000 students enrolled and nearly 500 full-time faculty members. The school offers seventy-three bachelor's degrees, thirty master's degrees, and two doctoral degrees.[4]

Student Life


Campus Life

The wide variety of programs in liberal arts, biological sciences, fine arts, and the university’s esteemed film studies program draws a variety of undergraduate and graduate students from across the United States. The close proximity to Wrightsville Beach is witnessed as a primary draw for incoming freshman, though the allure dies down noticeably for upper classmen.

Teal is the official school color of UNCW, with navy and gold as alternate colors. The school color has become a point of pride for students, which is widely illustrated with spirit shirts bearing slogans such as “Feel My Teal” and exclusive teal-colored Rainbow Sandals being offered through the university bookstore.

In recent years, UNCW has progressed beyond its aging reputation as a “party school”, and improved academics at the university have given it the appeal as a rising star in the public university system of North Carolina. By 2008, the average SAT score for incoming freshman was 1156, with an average GPA of 3.74.[1]

UNCW has struggled to diversify its student body, with only 11% of enrolled students referred to as “Minority”. As such, the university has implemented a “commitment to diversity” as one of its “strategic goals”, and many on-campus events have been held in this pursuit. However, this issue is somewhat offset by UNCW’s impressive enrollment of female students, which make up nearly 60% of the student body.

There is a leading superstition on campus that stepping on the school seal located outside Randall Library will prevent a student from graduating on time.

Student Facilities

In 2000, the Student Recreation Center was opened to students, staff, and faculty members. It houses three basketball courts, a host of exercise machines, a weight training area, an indoor running track, and an indoor climbing wall. It also includes a group exercise room which supports multiple clubs and activities, including Yoga, Pilates, and an Aikido club.

Lumina Theater, named after the boardwalk theater that was once found on Wrightsville Beach, offers a professional movie theater experience to the UNCW community. Opened in August 2006, the Lumina Theater features 360 stadium seats, a 15.5' x 30' screen, Dolby Digital surround sound, 35mm capabilities and a digital projection system. Lumina screens blockbusters, independents, cult classics, art films, international films and student films throughout the academic year, four or more days a week, except during University holidays and breaks. Some notable Lumina events included a multi-part, high-definition screening of BBC's Planet Earth series over the span of several weekends, and a yearly 24-hour lock-in.

Residential Accommodation

Galloway Hall is the oldest dorm on the campus and has the typical arrangement of shared bathrooms for the entire hall. Galloway is typically considered to be a freshman dorm and has a social atmosphere. It underwent extensive renovations in 2006 and the elevators were renovated in 2008.

Graham-Hewlett and Belk dormitories are configured in a suite-style arrangement with eight to ten individuals sharing a bathroom. Belk is the only dorm on campus which is exclusively female, as all other dorms are coed. Starting in 2008, Graham, Hewlett, and Belk Halls are arranged to hold additional students, with every other room housing three students (as opposed to the usual two). This has been done to accommodate the increasingly larger freshmen classes and prevent outsourcing housing to local hotels, as was done in the past when housing was overbooked.

Constructed in the 1980s, Schwartz Hall has shared bathrooms but is distinguished by its unusual square layout in contrast with the typical hall style dorms. One floor in Schwartz are designated as "study floors" and require the residents to abide by stricter regulations.

The newer dormitories include Honors, International, and Cornerstone Hall -- which are arranged with a courtyard between them to form what is referred to as "Tri-house". These dormitories were constructed in the late 1990s and early 2000s and are considered to be the most luxurious and well-maintained freshmen residences on campus.

In addition to the dormitories, UNCW also has on campus apartments and suites. There are 13 apartment buildings which can serve as home to 400 students. The Apartments house 4 students, who all have separate bedrooms but share a bathroom, living room, and kitchen. The apartments were extensively renovated in 2002 and now boast marble counter tops, tiled bathrooms, and new appliances.

The Suites, built in the late 1980s have two separate floor-plans which are divided by a breeze-way and set of stairs. There are 7 suite buildings which can also house 400 students. Each floor of the suites consists of a singles and doubles 'pod' The doubles pod consists of 6 bedrooms housing 12 students. The singles pod consists of 10 private bedrooms housing 10 students. All residents of the Suites share bathrooms, living rooms, and kitchens. As of 2008 the Suites have not been renovated. Starting with the 07-08 school year, the suites now house various sororities and the apartments house fraternities in addition to their previous function of housing the university's sports teams. The idea is for the suites and apartments to eventually become completely Greek.

The University has recently completed the construction of Seahawk Village, a luxury apartment complex designed to compete with off-campus accommodations. Seahawk Village comprises six (6) apartment buildings and a club house with swimming pool. The complex is constructed in the Neo-Georgian architectural style that is consistent with campus. The Village includes a mix of 2,3, and 4 bedroom apartments with a total of (524) beds. The apartments are fully furnished and provided with wireless internet, cable TV, and local telephone service. They feature a full service kitchen and washer and dryer in each apartment.

In the Fall of 2006, as a part of UNCW’s initiative to expand on-campus housing for 40% of undergraduate students, the “Seahawk Landing” residence facility was opened, featuring living arrangements similar to that found in the Seahawk Village facility, with expanded amenities such as a sandwich/coffee shop, convenience market, and small-scale recreation facility located on local site.

In 2008, construction began on the third phase of this residential expansion, which has been dubbed “Seahawk Crossing”. Construction of these facilities, which includes the construction of a multi-level parking deck, involved leveling several acres of long-leaf pine forest, which promulgated a vociferous, but ultimately unheard student movement to block the destruction of what became known as “fast times forest”. As of December 2008, extensive progress has been made on the site, and the facilities opened August 2009.

Off-Campus Housing

There are many apartments and condos that UNCW students live in. The Seahawk Perch which is maintained by the Dean of Students Office oversees off campus students.

Campus Dining

UNCW has several options for campus dining. The primary venue for dining on campus is Wagoner Hall, which is affectionately referred to as the "Wag" by students. Wagoner Hall serves as a standard dining hall setup, with various stations offering a variety of foods, including a salad bar and assorted desserts. Wagoner Hall is also host to "Wagsgiving", an annual Thanksgiving feast arranged for students.

The newly renovated University Union now houses The Hawk's Nest where students can choose from: Jole Mole which serves Mexican cuisine, the Tuscan Oven which serves pizza and breadsticks, the Hawk Wok which serves Asian Cuisine including broth bowls and many other delicious dishes, the Varsity Grill which serves hamburgers and chicken sandwiches, there is a Sushi Station where you can custom make your sushi, Chick-fil-A and Quiznos.[2]

As is typical with most college campuses, UNCW's dining services are entirely controlled by Aramark, whose contract demands the inclusion of meal plans in most, but not all, residential fees.

Greek life

Greek life at UNCW is prominent, but in no way dominant of social life on-campus. In 2007, to address the lack of official fraternity and sorority housing (allegedly due to an old Wilmington anti-brothel law) sororities and fraternities were moved into the University Suites and University Apartments respectively.

Phi Sigma Pi functions as the university’s co-educational honors fraternity, but does not participate in UNCW’s Pan-Hellenic council.




Academic Profile

The university is organized in to five colleges:

  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • Cameron School of Business
  • School of Nursing
  • Watson School of Education
  • Graduate School

The university has 73 undergraduate degree programs, 30 masters degree programs, and two doctoral programs.

Randall Library

William Madison Randall Library supports the mission of the UNCW through the provision of information resources, services and programs relevant to the needs of its students, faculty and staff. It also serves as a rich culture to serve the people of the United States of America. To accomplish this mission, the library provides (1) diverse collections of informational resources in multiple formats; (2) efficient access to informational resources; (3) assistance and instruction in identifying, evaluating and interpreting information; (4) a safe and comfortable facility which stimulates intellectual curiosity and reflective thinking; and (5) programs that connect scholars and interested individuals with information and expertise to inspire lifelong learning such as the library workshop series.

2008 - 2009 Rankings

In 2008, Forbes ranked UNCW second among the public universities in North Carolina, behind only UNC Chapel Hill[3].


  • 3rd "Best Value" for in-state students among public universities in North Carolina.
  • 25th "Best Value" for in-state students among public universities in the United States.
  • 35th "Best Value" for out-of-state students among public universities in the United States.

Among its peer institutions (public master's universities), UNC Wilmington ranks fourth nationally (behind James Madison, College of New Jersey, and Truman State).[4]

U.S. News & World Report:

  • Top 10 (currently 6th) public master's universities in the south for the past decade.

UNC Wilmington climbed to 6th among the top public master's universities in the South in 2008 (the university was ranked 7th in 2007). The university also saw a jump in their overall ranking among both public and private master's universities in the South, climbing from 20th to 14th.[5]

The most recent 26th edition (2004) of Barron's Profiles of American Colleges lists UNCW at the "very competitive" level, whereas the Carnegie Foundation classifies UNC Wilmington as "more selective". Only four UNC institutions are rated "very competitive": NC State, Appalachian State, UNC Asheville, and UNC Wilmington. UNC Chapel Hill is the only institution rated at the higher "most competitive" level.

Among UNC system institutions, UNCW has the 2nd-highest 4-year graduation rate (42.8), 3rd-highest 6-year graduation rate (65.1), and 4th-highest freshman-to-sophomore retention rate (83.1).[6]


Logo uncw.png

The UNCW athletic teams for both men and women are known as the Seahawks. They are a member of the NCAA's Division I and compete in the Colonial Athletic Association. There are 19 varsity athletic teams for men and women. UNCW has the best student-athlete graduation for non-football playing Division I public universities in the state, with 74 percent.

UNCW is best known for their baseball teams, which have made several recent trips to the NCAA Regionals.

The Men's Basketball team has won the CAA Championship in 2000, 2002, 2003, and 2006.

In their first trip to the NCAA Tournament, they lost to the 2nd seeded Cincinnati 64 to 47.

In their second trip (2002), the 13th seeded Seahawks shocked the 4th seeded Trojans of USC with a 93-89 overtime win. They were defeated by Indiana in the second round, 76-66.

The third trip (2003) had the Seahawks face off Maryland. Aaron Coombs sank 2 free throws with 5 seconds left, giving the Seahawks a 72-73 lead and putting them in position to pull off a tourney surprise for the second year in a row. Instead, Maryland won the game 75-73 with the help of a nearly half court buzzer beater 3-point shot. Freshman John Goldsberry set an NCAA Tournament record by shooting 8 for 8 on 3-point shots.

In 2006 they earned a 9th seed, their highest ever seed, and faced off against the underrated #8 seed George Washington Colonials. GW was slotted to get a #4-#7 seed, so the Seahawks had a tougher 1st round opponent than most #9 seeds. Despite an excellent 1st half, the Seahawks blew a 18 point lead in the second half and lost in overtime 88-85.

In 06-07 they posted a dismal 7-22 record. Next year in th 07-08 season their record was 20-13 and missed post season play.

Men's Swim team has won the CAA title for 8 consecutive years, from 2002 through 2009.

Men's Track & Field team won their CAA record 9th team title in 2008.

UNCW's athletics facilities are regarded as some of the best in the southeastern part of the state. They include Brooks Field for baseball, the Trask Coliseum for basketball, the Seahawk Natatorium for swimming and Boseman Field (named after local state Senator Julia Boseman) for softball.

Also, in 2009 the men's tennis picked up the CAA championship defeating Virginia Commonwealth 4-3.


Notable alumni

Chief Executives


  • Thomas Tristram Hamilton, Jr. (1947-1949)
  • John T. Hoggard (1949-1958)
  • William M. Randall (1958-1968)
  • William H. Wagoner (1968-1969)


  • William H. Wagoner (1969-1990)
  • Dr. James R. Leutze (1990-2004)
  • Rosemary DePaolo (2004-present)

Notable Professors

Prof. Joseph Arthur Chambers, Thomas S. Kenan Distinguished Professor of Jazz.

Dr. Clyde Edgerton, Professor of Creative Writing, Noted Southern Author

Dr. Thomas Simpson, Senior Adviser to The Federal Reserve Board of Governors and U.S. Treasury

Dr. Gerald Shinn, founder of the Albert Schweitzer International Prizes

Dr. Stephen Harper, Progress Energy/Betty Cameron Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship:

Dr. Russell Herman, Physics

Dr. Milan Dluhy, Former Senior Policy Analyst U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare

Recent Publications:

  • Extraordinary Entrepreneurship, John Wiley & Sons, 2005; ; (S. Harper)
  • The McGraw-Hill Guide to Starting Your Own Business 2nd edition, McGraw-Hill, 2004; ; (S. Harper)
  • Traversing the Execution Minefield, Industrial Management, 2003; Oct pp. pp. 8–13 ; (S. Harper, Thomas Porter)
  • Tactical Implementation: The Devil is in the Details, Business Horizons, 2003; Jan-Feb pp. pp. 53–50 ; (S. Harper, Thomas Porter)
  • Entrepreneurs Beware: Use Caution in "Professionalizing" Your Firm, Business Forum, 2003; Spring pp. pp. 29–35 ; (S. Harper)
  • The Forward-Focused Organization, AMACOM - The American Management Association, 2001; ; (S. Harper)
  • Reality Check: Should You be the Leader of an Emerging Venture? , , ; ; (S. Harper)


External links

Coordinates: 34°13′35.76″N 77°52′40.97″W / 34.2266°N 77.8780472°W / 34.2266; -77.8780472


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