70 Years of Excellence

Stories - Our First 70 Years

UNCW has achieved remarkable success in just 70 years thanks to the generations of students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends who define what it means to be a Seahawk. We’re honored to recognize many of them in the stories featured below, on the WE ARE UNCW website, and in UNCW Magazine.

Professor Usilton in front of campus building

Larry Usilton

Musings on the 70th Anniversary of UNCW

When I arrived on campus in 1971 as the newest member of the History Department, UNCW was a very young institution nestled among the pines adjacent to a not so-very-congested, two-lane South College Road. The old-timers affectionately referred to the school as “Wilmington College,” while the youngsters knew it as UNC by the Sea or UNC by K-Mart.

Steve Harper sits on fence overlooking pond

Stephen Harper

40 Years of Teaching Excellence

Stephen Harper’s career at UNCW has spanned six chancellors, four deans and more than 40 years of teaching students the finer points of business and entrepreneurship. Coincidentally, Harper, the Duke Energy/Betty Cameron Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship in the Cameron School of Business, will celebrate his 70th birthday just two months after UNCW observes the 70th anniversary of the date it first opened its doors, Sept. 4, 1947.

Ottilie Mensah sits in a rocking chair on campus

Ottillie Mensah '19

A Student Set to Soar

No stranger to leadership positions, Ottillie Mensah ’19 sees her new role as president of the Student Government Association as another way she can make a difference at UNCW.

“I think we as students sometimes don’t understand how much power we cultivate. Students are the reason this campus is here,” said Mensah. “The Student Government Association empowers students to use their voices and speak up. We may not see an immediate impact, but laying a foundation now is imperative for change to occur.”

Carol Ellis sits in front of fountain

Carol Ellis

A Golden Seahawk

Carol Ellis’ journey at UNCW started when she was a student studying music and history at Wilmington College, a three-building campus, in 1961. In 2016, she celebrated her 50-year tenure as a UNCW employee.

“It’s been a privilege to be part of an institution that has grown in size and has maintained the quality,” Ellis said. “My family used to joke and ask, ‘Who stays at the same job anymore?’ I obviously have been very fortunate with the people I work with and the opportunities I’ve had. I call it a blessing.”

Two hands wearing class of 1965 ring

A Look Back at the Class of 1965

From the Winter 2015 Issue of UNCW Magazine

The modern university that UNCW has become took root while the Class of 1963 was on campus, when the College Road location was new (the groundbreaking was held in 1961), and the traditions of a four-year university were just starting to take shape.
(more: PDF | text )

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