About UNCW

seahawk sculpture

Seahawk Points of Pride

  • The University of North Carolina Wilmington is dedicated to learning through the integration of teaching and mentoring with research and service. UNCW nurtures a campus culture that reflects its values of diversity and globalization, ethics and integrity, and excellence and innovation. 
  • A public institution with more than 18,000 students, the university is focused on supporting and enhancing the student-centered learning experience that has been a hallmark since its founding in 1947. UNCW offers an array of programs at the baccalaureate and master's levels and doctoral programs in strategic areas of importance to our region. See academics for more information about the university's educational programs. 
  • Wilmington College, as the university was formerly known, was founded in 1947 by local leaders and citizens dedicated to providing higher educational opportunities to students in southeastern North Carolina, notably veterans returning home from World War II. UNCW is recognized nationally as a military-friendly university and works closely with Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River to offer programs designed for military personnel and their families. More than 2,100 current students and approximately 8,000 alumni are military-affiliated. Veterans Hall – the only building so named in the country – acknowledges the university’s longstanding support of America’s military community. 
  • UNCW has been part of the University of North Carolina System since 1969. 
  • The university’s efforts to advance research and scholarly activities earned UNCW the elevated designation of “Doctoral Universities: High Research Activity” institution by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education in 2018. 
  • The university has seen growth of doctoral degrees in applied coastal and ocean sciences, educational leadership, marine biology, nursing practice, pharmaceutical chemistry and psychology; and advanced many distance learning options, including clinical research, an accelerated RN-to-BSN program and an Executive MBA.   
  • During the 2020-21 academic year, UNCW researchers developed 317 creative project proposals that were submitted to external sponsors, requesting more than $87 million. Campus was rewarded with $13.6 million in new sponsored projects, hitting a six-year high. Further, innovation and commercialization activities generated an additional quarter million dollars in revenue. Read more about the people, programs, partners and the power of UNCW research in the annual research magazine. 
  • In addition to the cutting-edge science conducted at the Center for Marine Science and MARBIONC, UNCW students and faculty have also accomplished much related to psychology, artificial intelligence, geospatial intelligence training, national drug courts, creative writing, coastal engineering and international trade and exchange. UNCW’s first nanosatellite, SeaHawk-1, was launched in December 2018. 
  • U.S. News & World Report ranked UNCW among the nation’s top public national universities for the past three years. See our rankings for more results.  
  • Like No Other: The Campaign for UNCW  launched in February 2021. Thanks to the generosity of thousands of alumni, students, employees and donors, the university is moving ever closer to its goal to raise at least $100 million in philanthropic support for scholarships, professorships, programs and other university priorities. During the campaign, the university has received the largest private philanthropic gifts in UNCW history to date – a $10 million gift from David Congdon ’78, and his wife, Helen, and a $5 million corporate gift from Quality Chemical Laboratories, and its founder Dr. Yousry Sayed (a current member of the UNCW Board of Trustees) and his wife Linda, ’78, ’85M.   
  • In July 2020, UNCW launched the Chancellor’s Renewal and Change Accountability Committee to work alongside the university’s administration to develop strategies and drive change. Accomplishments to date include increased space for Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion centers from 3,160 total square feet of space to 6,223 square feet, additional funding for diversity scholarships – a $1 million fund has been fully pledged – and key cultural collaborations within the greater Wilmington community. UNCW has committed to invest nearly $1.5 million annually for five years to increase representation of underrepresented populations at the university.    
  • Over the past few years, UNCW has undertaken approximately $450 million in campus construction – 23 buildings constructed or restored, four parking lots finished, multiple roofs replaced, and two multiple-unit, modular structures built. The University Film Center is UNCW’s newest building. The space boasts a 4,000-square-foot soundstage and state-of-the-art 80-seat movie theater. In 2020, UNCW paid homage to its founding as a school for World War II veterans with the opening of Veterans Hall. The 145,000-square-foot facility houses the College of Health and Human Services and faculty and staff from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the Office of Military Affairs.  
  • The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges reaffirmed the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s reaccreditation in 2013, which will remain in effect until the next review in 2023. 
  • The foundation of UNCW’s educational experience is Applied Learning, a multi-disciplinary model that incorporates faculty- and staff-facilitated learning opportunities, such as internships, study abroad, community-based projects, research, directed independent study options and other educational opportunities. Applied Learning inspires students to focus on creative inquiry, critical thinking skills, and written and verbal communication. 
  • The university takes a leadership role in the long-term growth of the region. UNCW actively supports economic development through the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which works to identify and nurture high-growth companies in southeastern North Carolina, and advanced biotech, coastal and marine research at the Center for Marine Science. 
  • UNCW has formed numerous partnerships with schools, governmental agencies and nonprofits that provide students with internships, volunteer opportunities and research experiences. Examples include D.C. Virgo Preparatory AcademyPathways to Excellence agreements with North Carolina community colleges, creating a path to guaranteed admission for their students; and collaborations with universities throughout the world. Programs such as family-friendly arts activities and MarineQuest introduce children and teenagers to UNCW.  
  • Former UNCW basketball standout Devontae Cacok '19 became the first Seahawk to be part of an NBA championship team in 2020 as a player for the Los Angeles Lakers. He now plays for the San Antonio Spurs of the NBA. 
  • UNCW student-athletes compete at the NCAA Division I level. Student-athletes finished the 2021-22 school year with a 3.39 cumulative grade point average. The UNCW men’s basketball team was crowned the 2022 CBI Tournament Champions (the school's first postseason title in men's basketball). The men's tennis team captured the school's eighth conference title in the last 13 years by winning the 2022 CAA Men's Tennis Championships. The UNCW softball team was named the 2022 Colonial Athletic Association Champions.
  • UNCW will celebrate its 75th anniversary at the beginning of the fall 2022 semester and welcome its seventh chancellor and tenth leader, Dr. Aswani K. Volety