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UNC System President Visits the Watson College on Tour of UNCW’s Campus

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Somer Lewis, Dean Dempsey, and Margaret Spelling

Margaret Spellings, president of the University of North Carolina system, visited the Watson College of Education during her tour of the UNCW campus on April 22. UNCW was the 13th stop on Spelling’s 100-day tour of the UNC campuses. During each campus visit she meets with students, faculty, staff and campus leadership to listen, learn about and experience first-hand what makes the UNC system the greatest public university in the country. 

On her blog, she wrote about her visit, calling UNC Wilmington a “Beachside Powerhouse.” Here is an excerpt:

The tour of UNC Wilmington actually marks the second time I’ve had the pleasure of visiting “UNC by the Sea,” as one campus trustee called it. Chancellor Zito Sartarelli’s installation in March gave me a glimpse of the pride and beauty of this place, not to mention a chance to see Zito’s energy and drive up close. He’s the right man for the job, a leader with ambition and spirit of service for a campus that is growing and thriving.

UNC Wilmington is a relatively young institution, founded in the years after World War II to serve the booming population of returning veterans looking to put their GI Bill benefits to good use. Thanks to the far-sighted investment of local and state leaders, the original Wilmington College has grown into a regional power, welcoming nearly 15,000 undergraduates and boosting a strong coastal economy.

The visit was a great opportunity to celebrate the passage of the Connect NC Bond, which is going to transform UNCW’s College of Health and Human Services with a new building and new opportunities for collaborative teaching. By bringing nursing, social work, clinical research, and a host of other health science disciplines into closer contact, the new facility will help students learn the same way they will work — partnering with other agencies and health providers to offer a more comprehensive approach to patient care. With an aging population and chronic health needs in the eastern region, North Carolina’s investment in quality health education going to pay dividends for decades to come.

And that’s only the latest in UNCW’s long history of bolstering the region through veteran’s education, marine research, and teacher preparation. I met with students in the Watson College of Education, a beautiful building that catalogs decades of North Carolina history in a series of exhibits in the main hall. On their way to high-tech classrooms that offer the latest in hybrid learning and advanced instructional design, students pass displays of faded school desks and a model of a one-room schoolhouse. It’s a fantastic reminder that the means of teaching always evolve, but the ideal of a sound public education remains timeless.

Read President Spellings's entire blog entry on the UNC system website.