Alderman Hall circa 1960s

Former Leaders

T.T. Hamilton T. T. Hamilton (1900-89)

President of Wilmington College, 1947-49

Principal of New Hanover High School, Thomas Tristram Hamilton Jr. was on the committee that helped found Wilmington College, which operated until 1958 as a unit of New Hanover County Board of Education.

He was named president of Wilmington College in 1947, when classes were held in Isaac Bear Building on Market Street, across from New Hanover High School. The doors of the new college opened at 4 p.m. Sept. 4, 1947, with 238 students, the majority of whom were veterans. The first associate of arts degree was awarded to Hugh Fox on April 2, 1949; a total of 14 degrees were awarded that year.

During Hamilton’s tenure, the college became accredited by the North Carolina Conference and the State Department of Education and joined the American Association of Junior Colleges.

Hamilton left Wilmington College to become director of secondary education for the state of Virginia. He passed away Dec. 13, 1989. In honor of his service to the institution, the UNCW Board of Trustees named a street on campus for Hamilton.

John T. HoggardJohn T. Hoggard (1899-1965)

President of Wilmington College, 1949-58

Dr. John T. Hoggard was instrumental in the founding of Wilmington College in 1947. He directed operations of the college as chairman of the New Hanover County Board of Education from 1947-52.

He delivered the first commencement address at Wilmington College on May 24, 1949.

On Aug. 4, 1949, he assumed the presidency of the college and the chairmanship of the board of trustees in 1952. In 1958, Hoggard retired as president but retained his position as chairman of the board of trustees until his death in 1965.

Under his leadership, Wilmington College grew from a small local junior college to a four-year state institution of higher education. Hoggard was active in acquiring the 610-acre tract of land on Highway 132 that became the permanent site of the college. One of the college’s three original buildings was named in his honor and dedicated on Nov. 19, 1961.

In 1952 he established the Hoggard Award Medal, recognizing the academic and social performance of the graduating student who, in the opinion of the faculty, had shown the most improvement during his or her years at the college.

When the state authorized Wilmington College to grant baccalaureate degrees in 1963, Hoggard actively recruited new faculty and also helped with the curriculum.

Aside from education, Hoggard’s interests and careers included business, medicine and politics. He was as a physician and surgeon, serving his country in World War I. He practiced medicine in Aulander, Atkinson and Wilmington until he retired from the profession in 1949.

Hoggard’s major business interest was banking. He helped organize the Morris Plan Bank of Wilmington, which later became the Bank of Wilmington. He served as vice president of the bank for many years and was also local chairman of the board of directors of the North Carolina National Bank. Other business interests included founder and president of the New Hanover Housing Corporation; founder of Toms Drug Company, a Wilmington drugstore; partner in Hoggard Brothers of Aulander; and director of Cooperative Savings and Loan Association in Wilmington.

Hoggard was active in the Wilmington Board of Finance, Brigade Boys’ Club of Wilmington, Kiwanis Club, Free and Accepted Masons, Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, Cape Fear Club, Cape Fear Country Club, Woodmen of the World, American Legion, Chamber of Commerce, Wilmington Historical Society, Phi Chi, Phi Kappa Alpha, BPOE, Carolina Yacht Club, Surf Club and the Democratic Party.

William M. RandallWilliam M. Randall (1899-1984)

President of Wilmington College, 1958-68

In 1951, Dr. William M. Randall and his family were passing through Wilmington on their way to the University of Georgia where Randall was the director of libraries. They were hospitalized after an automobile accident during which time Randall was approached by H. M. Roland, superintendent of schools, and J. T. Hoggard, Wilmington College president, and offered the job of dean.

“A well known scholar in the field of library science, Randall, with his rich and varied experience in higher education, shaped the future of the college. … His presence and influence change the image and philosophy of the college from that of an extended high school to that of a full-fledged, first-rate college. One of his first moves to facilitate this was a drive for full-time college faculty, thereby reducing the college’s dependence upon high school teachers.” (From These Beginnings: Wilmington College 1946-69)

Under Randall’s leadership the college in 1952 received its first state aid, two $5,500 grants for the next two years. He instituted the scholarship program, recommending trustees budget three percent of tuition be budgeted for scholarships.

Enrollment requirements were tightened in 1957. “Students who wanted to be admitted to the university parallel program needed to score a minimum of 300 on the verbal and 300 on the mathematics portions of the SAT.” (From These Beginnings: Wilmington College 1946-69)

Prior to leading Wilmington College, Randall was a professor of library science and assistant dean of students at the University of Chicago and an academic dean at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. He also served as a traveling fellow for the General Education Board, managing editor of Library Quarterly, consultant for the Carnegie Corporation of New York, intelligence officer stationed in the Middle East during WWII where he utilized his Arabic language skills and a member of the commission sent to reorganize the Vatican Library by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

The library at UNCW was named in Randall’s honor in 1969.

William H. WagonerWilliam H. Wagoner (1927-99)

President of Wilmington College, 1968-69

Chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, 1969-90

Dr. William H. Wagoner began his career in higher education on July 1, 1968, when he was named the fourth president of Wilmington College. After one year, the college became part of the University of North Carolina system, and Wagoner was elevated to the position of chancellor.

During Wagoner’s 22 years of leadership, the small community college grew into a graduate degree-granting institution and became a vital link in the UNC system of higher education. The student body grew from 1,240 in the fall of 1968 to 6,003 in the fall of 1989. The faculty of 93 in 1968 expanded to 397 by the fall of 1989.

The basic organization structure of the university was established under his leadership, with the formation of the Cameron School of Business, School of Education, the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Nursing and the Graduate School. UNCW’s pre-eminence in marine science was begun as a vision of Chancellor Wagoner and his trustees to capitalize on the university’s proximity to estuaries and the Atlantic Ocean to build its specialty area of expertise. The cooperative Ph.D. degree program in marine science with NC State University was begun under his tenure.

The physical plant of the modified Georgian campus expanded greatly under his leadership, including the addition of such major structures as Trask Coliseum, Randall Library, the University Union and first residence halls. Kenan House was given to UNCW to become the chancellor’s official residence in 1969, and Wagoner lived there with his family until 1990. He set the tone for conservation of environmentally sensitive portions of campus when he set aside 10 acres for the Bluethenthal Wildflower Preserve in 1974.

Other highlights of Wagoner administration were the day Wilmington College became part of the university system, meeting Mother Teresa when she came to campus in 1975 to accept the first Albert Schweitzer International Prize in the Humanities and becoming a graduate degree-granting institution.

A native of Washington, N.C., Wagoner earned a bachelor of science degree cum laude from Wake Forest College in 1949, a master of arts from East Carolina University in 1953, studied as a teaching fellow at UNC-Chapel Hill from 1956-58, then earned his Ph.D. from UNC in educational administration and political science in 1959. He served in the U.S. Navy in 1945-46.

Wagoner’s retirement in 1990 came after a career in education that spanned more than 40 years, beginning as a high school chemistry, physics and public speaking teacher in Washington. He worked in Elizabeth City public schools administration from 1953-56 and later became superintendent. In 1961 he became superintendent of schools for New Hanover County.

Following Wagoner’s retirement from UNCW in 1990, the road in the front of campus and the dining facility at the rear of campus were named in his honor.

James R. LeutzeJames R. Leutze

Chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, 1990-2003

Under the dynamic leadership of Dr. James R. Leutze, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington strengthened its undergraduate teaching and overall academic excellence to become one of the top 10 public regional undergraduate universities in the South. It became recognized nationally for its marine biology program and internationally for its technological initiatives in global learning.

During Dr. Leutze’s tenure, enrollment rose from nearly 7,000 students to approximately 10,600. Even as UNCW's admission standards rose, the number of freshmen admitted continued to grow.

Under his leadership, the university successfully completed its first capital campaign in 1998, raising $25 million for scholarships, professorships and programs supporting UNCW’s educational and service missions. The university’s endowment grew from $4.8 million to nearly $21 million, and the operating budget increased from $58.8 million to more than $134 million.

Likewise, the campus itself grew during Dr. Leutze's tenure to include more than 90 classroom, residential, administrative and support buildings. It continued to grow over the next several years as UNCW undertook its largest construction effort ever using the $108 million higher education facilities bonds approved by voters in 2000.

A native of Charleston, S.C., Dr. Leutze holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, a master’s degree from the University of Miami and a doctoral degree from Duke University. He served in the U.S. Air Force, rising to the rank of captain, and worked as a legislative assistant for Sen. Hubert Humphrey.

As a professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Dr. Leutze was recognized for his excellence in undergraduate teaching. He was named chair of the Curriculum for Peace, War and Defense and, in recognition of his teaching and research, was appointed the first Dowd Professor of War and Peace. Prior to coming to UNCW in 1990, Dr. Leutze was president of Hampden-Sydney College.

Dr. Leutze created the international affairs program, Globe Watch, which aired for 15 years on public television networks nationally and internationally. Four public television documentaries were produced by the university as a result of his deep interest in addressing environmental issues and their global implications for economics and society: River Run: Down the Cape Fear to the Sea, Treasure Coast: The Natural Heritage of the North Carolina Shore, Currents of Hope: Reclaiming the Neuse River and Paving the American Dream: Southern Cities, Shores and Sprawl.

Dr. Leutze was a prolific researcher and writer. He has published numerous books and articles on international affairs and national security, including Bargaining for Supremacy: Anglo-American Naval Collaboration 1937-41 and A Different Kind of Victory: The Biography of Admiral Thomas C. Hart.

Under Dr. Leutze’s leadership, UNCW initiated several technological advancements to take a leadership role in the global learning society of the 21st century. These initiatives and the university’s emphasis on regional and global outreach and the development of partnerships provided the basis for UNCW’s involvement in a virtual university pilot project with Japan and other countries. He was appointed by former Gov. Jim Hunt to lead the Digital Communities Project that was spearheaded by the Japanese Industry Development Association, several university presidents and governors of prefectures in Japan.

The governor also appointed Dr. Leutze to chair the N.C. Rural Internet Access Commission, a 21-member group that makes recommendations regarding efforts to provide economically depressed areas with high-speed Internet access. Dr. Leutze was a member of the North Carolina Progress Board and served on the board of directors of the Kenan Institute-Asia, the Daniel D. & Elizabeth H. Cameron Foundation and the Donald R. Watson Foundation. He was a trustee of the George Marshall Foundation.

As chancellor, Dr, Leutze built a firm foundation for the university to grow and excel as it met the challenges of the 21st century and the increasing demand for quality higher education.

Rosemary DePaoloRosemary DePaolo

Chancellor of the University of North Carolina Wilmington, 2003-11

In recommending Rosemary DePaolo for the position of UNCW chancellor to the UNC Board of Governors In April 2003, then-UNC President Molly Corbett Broad said, “She has consistently demonstrated a passionate commitment to undergraduate education, as well as a deep understanding of the special relationship between public institutions and the regions they were founded to serve.” Those strengths were the hallmarks of Dr. DePaolo’s tenure at UNCW.

She introduced seven strategic goals that would become the university’s roadmap to excellence. A detailed plan was developed, progress was charted all along the way, results were compared to other high-quality universities and efforts constantly were refined to create an academic experience second to none.

Under Dr. DePaolo’s leadership and through the continued focus and commitment of faculty and staff, UNCW made consistent and steady progress as an institution, gaining an outstanding regional reputation, receiving national attention in many areas and achieving or exceeding its seven strategic goals in just seven years.

The university’s accomplishments during Dr. DePaolo’s tenure include:

  • Freshman SAT – from 1097 to 1170, UNCW’s highest ever at the time and the third highest in the UNC system.
  • Student-faculty ratio – from 18.7-1 to 16.6-1
  • Four-year graduation rate – from 40.7 to 43.5 percent
  • Six-year graduation rate – from 59.1 to 68.5 percent (UNC System average is 59 percent; national average is 56 percent)
  • University endowment – nearly tripled from $23.3 million to $66 million
  • Student body diversity – from 8.9 percent to 13.5 percent
  • Percentage of students housed on campus – from 23 to 38 percent
  • Research expenditures – from $12.8 million to $18.3 million
  • Merit scholarship awards – from $430,223 to $1,165,675
  • Undergraduates receiving merit scholarships – from 278 to 425
  • Minority six-year graduation rate – from 56.9 to 61.5 percent
  • Campus expansion – more than two dozen buildings constructed or renovated

In 2010-11:

  • For the first time ever, U.S.News and World Report ranked UNCW in the top 5 of public master’s universities in the South. It was ranked in the top 10 for 12 years straight.
  • UNCW was included in the prestigious Fiske Guide to Colleges for the second year in a row.
  • Princeton Review placed UNCW on its “Best in the Southeast” list for the seventh consecutive year.
  • Princeton Review also listed UNCW’s Cameron School of Business as one of the 300 outstanding institutions featured in its 2011 “Best Business Schools” guidebook edition.
  • The university’s overall quality and affordability earned it 17th place in the nation on the Forbes Magazine list of “America’s Best College Buys.”
  • G.I. Jobs named UNCW as one of the nation’s most “military-friendly” schools for the second year in row.
  • And, according to Poets & Writers magazine, UNCW’s master’s program in creative writing ranks second among all non-fiction programs in the nation.

According to former UNC President Erskine Bowles, “Rosemary DePaolo has been an absolutely extraordinary chancellor for UNC Wilmington and a strong, effective advocate for the entire southeastern region of our state. Under her leadership, the campus has experienced dramatic growth – in enrollment, in the academic quality of the student body, in the breadth and national stature of its academic programs and in the expansion of campus facilities,” he said when she announced her retirement in October 2010.

Under Dr. DePaolo’s leadership, UNCW developed into a powerhouse of education, opportunity, innovation and change. Its regional economic impact was estimated at $500 million. Add $130 million in construction projects and more than $1 million in the annual value of its students’ volunteerism, and the university’s tremendous impact on the community during her tenure is obvious.

In addition, research funding quadrupled. and construction began on a marine biotechnology facility under construction is designed to greatly enhance the state’s growing marine biotechnology industry.

UNCW developed a model partnership with Coastal Carolina Community College and Camp Lejeune, opening up numerous opportunities for veterans, active military and their families to meet their higher education goals. To support the needs of southeastern North Carolina, doctoral degrees in marine biology and educational leadership were added and the College of Health and Human Services established.

During Dr. DePaolo’s tenure, UNCW’s student-athletes excelled in the classroom and in competition. They maintained one of the highest collective graduation rates in both the UNC system and the CAA. From 2003 through spring 2011, UNCW student-athletes won 24 CAA championships including first-time titles in men’s soccer, women’s soccer, men’s tennis, women’s golf, men’s golf and baseball. The Seahawks had 24 CAA Coach of the Year honorees, and nine student-athletes were named CAA Player of the Year. Six teams received a Public Recognition Award from the NCAA. Eighteen student-athletes were named CAA Scholar Athlete of the Year in their respective sports, and three collected CAA Scholar Athlete of the Year for the conference overall.

In one of the nation’s worst economic periods, UNCW saw private financial support grow significantly. The university launched a $65-million-dollar comprehensive fundraising campaign in February 2011 with nearly 89 percent of the goal already raised. From July 2005-June 2011, donors created more than 200 scholarships, doubling the number that had been available. In addition, UNCW’s endowment nearly tripled during Dr. DePaolo’s tenure, from $23.3 million to $66 million.

To give the staff a more effective voice in university and system operations, Dr. DePaolo championed the formation of a Staff Senate, which has since become a model for other universities.

As chancellor, Rosemary DePaolo inspired the university to formulate a strategic plan and focus on measureable goals. She helped to refocus its mission to provide powerful teaching, conduct meaningful research and engage in much-needed community outreach, allowing UNCW students, faculty and staff to soar to new heights.

Gary L. MillerGary L. Miller

Dr. Gary L. Miller is the fourth chancellor and seventh leader of the University of North Carolina Wilmington. After his arrival at UNCW in July 2011, Dr. Miller spearheaded the university’s focus on three core values: a commitment to the journey of learning, a deep love of place and dedication to the power of ideas and innovation to change lives.

His initiatives have included forming the Chancellor’s Office for Community Partnerships, supporting a number of programs focused on applied learning and the undergraduate academic experience, developing the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, establishing the University Innovation Council, and guiding the growth of the CREST Research Park, among many other endeavors. During his tenure, the university has launched an innovative online nursing program, opened a $30 million-marine biotechnology business development and research building, and received reaccreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Dr. Miller serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors for the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities (CUMU), a national higher education organization consisting of public and private colleges across the country that value the importance of teaching, research and service to their communities. He is a member of the National Campus Compact Board and the Executive Board of the North Carolina Campus Compact. He is chair of the Colonial Athletic Association Council of Presidents

Dr. Miller also serves on the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) Committee for Economic and Workforce Development. He is a member of a collaborative steering committee focused on a post-collegiate outcomes initiative funded by the Gates Foundation. The initiative’s partners include the AASCU, the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU), and the American Association of Community Colleges (AACU). He previously participated as a member of the task force that developed the student learning outcomes component of the Voluntary System of Accountability, a joint project of the APLU and the AASCU.

A dedicated educator, Dr. Miller has extensive experience in academics, research and administration. His professional expertise incorporates the breadth and depth of American higher education, from his own learning experiences as a student at the College of William and Mary and as a faculty member at Mississippi State University, Weber State University and the University of Mississippi to his work as a dean at the University of the Pacific and, prior to UNCW, as Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs and Research at Wichita State University.

Dr. Miller has published more than 40 peer-reviewed scientific papers and one book. His research centered on the areas of population, community and behavioral ecology, with much of his work focused on reproductive biology and mating systems of wolf spiders. His research has been published in Ecology, Animal Behaviour and Oecologia, among others. He is the former associate editor of the Journal of Arachnology.

A Virginia native, Dr. Miller holds bachelor and master’s degrees in biology from the College of William and Mary and a Ph.D. in biological sciences from Mississippi State University. He is married to Georgia Nix Miller. They have three grown children and several grandchildren.


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