2016 Awardees WILL BE Announced Soon!
Distinguished Alumnus of the Year
Recognizes alumni who achieved honor and distinction with reputations that extend well beyond the environments in which they live and work.
Young Alumnus of the Year
Recognizes outstanding alumni who have graduated within the last 10 years from UNCW.
Distinguished Citizen of the Year
Recognizes those individuals that exemplify the characteristics of uncommon and outstanding service to the community as well as the university.
Alumni Association Awards
Distinguished Alumni Award 2015 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.
Distinguished Alumnus - Lt. Col. Robert W. Rideout Jr. ’95
Lt. Col. Robert W. Rideout Jr. ’95 serves as a hearing office chief administrative law judge with the U.S. Social Security Administration and as a judge advocate with the U.S. Army Reserves. Before his appointment as an administrative law judge, Rideout was a deputy commissioner for the N.C. Industrial Commission, hearing adjudicating workers’ compensation claims. He has also served as an assistant public defender and later as an assistant district attorney. Rideout was promoted to lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves in 2014. He is a combat veteran, with tours to Iraq and Afghanistan. Rideout has received numerous awards including two Bronze Star, three Meritorious Service Medals, four Army Commendation Medals, and three Army Achievement Medals. Rideout has received two Presidential Volunteer Service Awards for his work with the N.C. Committee for Employers Support for the Guard and Reserve. He served as coordinator for legislative affairs for the committee. Rideout earned a bachelor’s degree in history at UNCW.
Young Alumnus - Ryan P. Crecelius ’06
Ryan P. Crecelius ’06 is the owner of Wilmington-based residential brokerage firm Nest Realty. Early in his career, Crecelius established a unique brokerage firm that included philanthropy in an effort to promote social change. In 2013, Crecelius was named one of the top 100 most influential people in the real estate industry. He was recently elected as the vice president of the Wilmington Regional Association of Realtors Board of Directors. The association represents more than 2,000 members. Crecelius serves on the North Carolina Legislative Committee, and is a regular speaker at UNCW’s Cameron School of Business on the topics of entrepreneurship and corporate social responsibility. He received his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and completed his real estate courses while attending UNCW.
Distinguished Citizen - Joshua “Josh” B. Vach ’87
Joshua “Josh” B. Vach ’87 is the owner of several restaurants (K-38 Oleander, K-38 Porter’s Neck, Tower 7, Café Del Mar, K Bueno Cocina and Las Olas). Vach earned his bachelor’s degree in economics at UNCW, and is a longtime supporter of the Surfrider Foundation. He founded the Tower7/WBLivesurf Scholarship Fund. The merit scholarship, created by Vach, encourages students to participate in initiatives that focus on a healthy coastal community and sustainability. Vach is also a supporter of no-kill shelters in the region and the Hope for Helen charitable event in Wrightsville Beach.
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.
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 an undergraduate or graduate student by February for consideration.
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.