• Clayton Hamerski

UNC Wilmington Turns 72

Today is UNCW's 72nd birthday! As a Seahawk, I wanted to share a couple of things that I appreciate about my alma mater.


Founded in 1947 as Wilmington College, the school was originally based near New Hanover High School. The school was later relocated to its current location on South College Rd in 1961, in part due to the work of the Board of Trustees, which included former Mayor B.D. Schwartz.

Most Recent Chancellors:

Jose Sartarelli 2015 - Present

William A. Sederburg 2014 - 2015

Gary L. Miller 2011 - 2014

Rosemary DePaolo 2003 - 2011

James R. Leutze 1990 - 2003

Student Involvement:

Even though we don't have a football team, UNCW students do a great job of keeping school spirit. Students at have long been a large part of the decision making process at UNCW, with organizations like the Student Government Association as the focal point for students in clubs and organizations to interface with faculty and staff. Many projects have been undertaken by student leadership in conjunction with the university. The best example is the Clocktower, which was a gift from the Class of 2000, lead by SGA Student Body President, Shane Fernando.


Some truly amazing people have served as UNCW faculty over the years, giving much back to the community and becoming engrained in it as they teach. One such person was former Mayor Pro Tempore, City Council member, Wilmington native, and political science professor, Dr. Earl Sheridan, whom I had the honor of nominating for the Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award in 2018.

From the 1982 Fledgling yearbook. Photo of the Political Science program, including Dr. Sheridan (Far Right)

Dr. Earl Sheridan is a native of Wilmington, North Carolina, having graduating from John T. Hoggard High School in 1971. He received his Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from Appalachian State University in 1975 and his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville in 1980. Following his graduation, he began teaching Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in 1980. From 1992-2000, he served as chair of the UNCW Political Science Department, and was chosen by his peers to serve another term as Department Chair in 2013.

Dr. Sheridan is presented with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award May 16, 2018.

An active member of his community, Sheridan served as President of the New Hanover County chapter of the NAACP from 1987 to 1996. He also served on the 1898 Memorial Foundation, the Board of Directors of the Domestic Violence Shelter and Services, and the Commission of African-American History for the City of Wilmington.

In 2005 he was elected to the Wilmington City Council. As Council Member, he served on the Thalian Hall Board of Trustees, the Board of the Cape Fear Regional Community Development Corporation, and the Wilmington Metropolitan Planning Organization. He was re-elected to a second term on the City Council in 2009, and subsequently voted Mayor Pro Tempore by his colleagues on the Council.

He finished his third and final term in office on December 5th, 2017, and retired from UNCW in 2018. On May 16, 2018, Sheridan was awarded with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award, which is the highest honor that the governor of North Carolina can bestow on a citizen, for exemplary public service. The award was presented to him at a Wilmington City Council meeting by his friend, colleague, and former student at UNCW, Mayor Bill Saffo.

Upcoming Developments:

In 2018, the university began construction on the Veteran's Hall (previously referred to as the Allied Health Building), which is projected to be completed next year. This new facility will contain Health and Human Services College, the Center for Healthy Living, other programs related to health and social services, and a space for Veterans.

Additions to Cameron Hall, Randall Library, Trask Coliseum, and an additional housing village are also in progress as of 2019 (see below).


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1001 Military Cutoff Rd Ste 101 Wilmington, NC 28405