Alumni Association Awards

Distinguished Alumni Award 2017 Honorees

The UNCW Alumni Association recognizes alumni and friends for their outstanding achievements and their services to the university and community. Award recipients are honored each year during Homecoming. Congratulations to the 2017 award recipients!

Distinguished Young Alumnus of the Year: Darion Jeralds '10, '14M

Darion JeraldsDarion Jeralds graduated cum laude from UNCW as the Outstanding Graduate for Operations Management in 2010. While at UNCW, he was a member of the men's basketball team and was honored as the CAA Scholar Athlete of the Year in 2009. After graduation, he was hired as a Sourcing Specialist for GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy Americas. In this role supporting nuclear manufacturing, he captured savings of more than $4 million. In 2012, Darion was promoted to Commodity Leader, where he executed contracts for deflation, terms and intellectual property, while managing a budget of more than $20 million. In May 2014, he earned an MBA from UNCW and was promoted to Commercial Sourcing Program Leader. As a program leader, Darion was responsible for organizational simplification, strategic analytics and commercial programs, including innovation and supplier diversity. During this role Darion was recognized with the JJ Murphy Extra Step Award, a prestigious honor presented to GE leaders who demonstrate substantive effort in utilizing small and diverse businesses in the US. In 2015, he joined the GE Advanced Supply Chain program and began working toward a second master's degree in supply chain management from Pennsylvania State University. In 2016, he became the Senior Sourcing Manager for Global Nuclear Fuel. In this role, he leads a global team to execute supply chain fulfillment, cash flow and cost out targets. Darion's community outreach activities include serving as a volunteer youth basketball coach, March of Dimes Ambassador Family, Communities in Schools and a Work on Wilmington project leader.

Distinguished Alumnus of the Year: Chad Porter '98

Chad PorterAfter graduating from UNCW, Chad Porter ’98 attended East Carolina University and obtained his master’s in physical therapy, returning to Wilmington to practice at Coastal Rehabilitation Hospital. He continued his quest to help others by working in real estate before starting his financial planning practice, Porter Financial Group. A member of the elite Zig Ziglar International Team, he now travels the country as a lead motivational speaker and trainer to corporations ranging from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies. Chad has faced many adversities in his life, including a life-altering accident at 15, when a ski boat propeller destroyed both of his legs, amputating one of them below the knee. No stranger to perseverance, he fought through this adversity and went on to play varsity basketball in high school and won many intramural championships at UNCW in various sports. Chad serves on the board of directors for Access of Wilmington and Vice Chairmen of the Board for the Miracle League. He has been involved from the early stages of the project and continues to go out on Saturdays and pitch to more than 150 athletes. Chad has donated countless hours locally and nationally talking with students about making the right choices and how to cope with life’s challenges. Chad is a mentor to countless youth in our community and has been highly involved helping the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He recently spearheaded a huge movement in the Wilmington community, organizing relief efforts for Hurricane Matthew victims. He loves his community and UNCW, and does all he can to make each of them a better place.

Distinguished Citizen of the Year
: Chip Mahan

Chip MahanChip Mahan is the founder, CEO and chairman of the board of directors of Live Oak Bank. He is a founding member of nCino and serves on its board of directors. Prior to his work with Live Oak Bank, he served as chief executive officer and chairman of the board for S1 Corporation and founder of Security First Network Bank, the world’s first internet bank. Under his leadership, S1 Corporation grew to a $234-million software and services provider in only six years, averaging more than 200 percent growth. At its peak, S1 had a market capitalization of $7.8 billion.   Before founding Security First Network Bank and S1 Corporation, Chip launched Cardinal Bancshares, also serving as its chairman and chief executive officer. He built Cardinal into an institution with $800 million in total assets and took the company public in 1992. He spent several years with Citizens Union National Bank & Trust Co., serving as president, COO and vice chairman, becoming chairman and CEO in 1984. In 1986, he formed an investment group that purchased Citizens Union and subsequently sold it to BankOne Corp. of Columbus, OH. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Washington and Lee University. Chip is actively involved in humanitarian and community activities. He co-founded Phoenix Hometown Hires and serves on numerous boards and advisory committees. In 2014, he was recognized with the Lower Cape Fear Stewardship Development Award for Outstanding Stewardship for creating a superior workplace environment while preserving the longleaf pines and live oaks growing on the site.


Alumni Awards for Professional Schools

Cameron School of Business - Outstanding Alumni Awards

The UNCW Cameron School of Business annually presents the Alumni of the Year Awards to recognize CSB alumni who have achieved honor and distinction within either their professional or personal lives. Standards for consideration include distinctive records of achievement with recognition and reputation which extend well beyond the immediate environments in which they live and work. This record of distinctive achievement should extend over a substantial period of time to assure continuity of performance, stability and maturity. Nominations are accepted from alumni, faculty, staff and friends of the Cameron School of Business. Nomination forms are posted in the fall and the award is given at the Alumni & Retired Faculty Mixer in the spring.

School of Nursing Outstanding Alumnus Award

The UNCW School of Nursing Outstanding Alumnus of the Year Award is presented at the annual Nurses Day Banquet in May. Alumni who are chosen must have graduated in 2010 or prior and exemplify the spirit of excellence in nursing directly working with patients along with providing service to their community. Nominations are accepted from alumni, faculty, staff and community members. Nomination forms are posted in the spring.

Watson College of Education Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award

Each year the UNCW Watson College of Education Alumni Chapter recognizes an alumnus who has made significant contributions to education and who represents the commitment to excellence typified by the Watson College of Education. Nominations are accepted from alumni, faculty, staff and community members. Nomination forms are posted in the spring and the award is given at the WCE graduation reception in May.

J. Marshall Crews Distinguished Faculty Award

The J. Marshall Crews Distinguished Faculty Award honors a faculty member who exhibits the qualities of service and leadership that Dr. Crews personified throughout his life. Nominations may be submitted by any faculty/staff member, alumnus/alumna, student or community member. The recipient will be awarded a $500 stipend. Nomination forms are posted in the spring and the award is given at the fall faculty meeting in September. See a list of past recipients and other faculty award winners.

2016 J. Marshall Crews Award Winner - Dr. Stephen Harper

Dr. HarperDr. Stephen Harper was named the 2016 recipient of the Alumni Association J. Marshall Crews Award.  Lolita Bryant, Alumni Association Awards and Scholarship Committee Chairperson presented the award to Dr. Harper at the UNCW Fall Faculty Meeting on Tuesday, September 6.  Dr. Harper was chosen for the award based on qualities of service, leadership and student support personified by Dr. Crews.

The Alumni Association annually presents two awards to graduating seniors at the Cornerstone Award Luncheon prior to May graduation. Any UNCW student, staff, or faculty member can nominate a student for consideration. The nomination system is currently closed. Deadline for nomination submission will be announced Spring 2017. Visit the award website for more details.

William A. Bryan Senior Leader Award

This award is presented to the member of the senior class who best exemplifies the ideals of service to others, collaboration, leadership and devotion to UNCW. The graduating senior must have a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or higher, be in good standing with the university and exhibit integrity and creativity. The award winner receives an inscribed clock from the Alumni Association.

Rachel Freeman Service Leadership Award

This award is presented to the member of the senior class who best embodies the ideals of service to others, commitment to social justice and collaborative leadership. Recipient receives a cash award of $250 sponsored by the UNCW Alumni Association. The purpose of the award is to recognize the senior on campus who best exemplifies the ideals of service to others, commitment to social justice and collaborative leadership and who has demonstrated their commitment to social justice though community service and servant leadership.