Campus Life


Courtyard of the Fisher University Union with contruction workers insideFisher Student Center and Fisher University Union

Herbert and Sylvia Fisher Student Center Grand Opening Fall 2006.

The University of North Carolina Wilmington named the new student center in honor of alumni Herbert and Sylvia Fisher, whose ties to their alma mater extend back more than 50 years to the early days of Wilmington College.

The Fishers, lifelong Wilmington residents, have established a $2 million endowed fund to maintain the student center and enhance its programs. Their contribution to name the Herbert and Sylvia Fisher Student Center is the largest outright gift from individual donors in UNCW history.

"We are honored to help the students at UNCW," said Herb Fisher, founder of Coastal Realty. "The Wilmington community has been very good to us, and this is a way we can return some of those good deeds."

Chancellor Rosemary DePaolo said, "With their historic gift, Herb and Sylvia Fisher have truly found a way to make a difference for each student at UNCW. The Fisher Student Center will serve as a symbol of their loyalty to their alma mater, their love for the Wilmington community, and their sincere commitment to helping UNCW provide all students with the most powerful learning experience possible."

About the Fishers

Herbert and Sylvia Fisher sitting down Herb, Class of 1953, and Sylvia, Class of 1950, attended Wilmington College when classes were held in the Isaac Bear Building on Market Street. Sylvia Fisher was the college's first Homecoming Queen. In 1950, Herb Fisher opened the Varsity, a pharmacy, grill and soda shop, a block away from the college. It quickly became the place "where young folks meet and eat," Fisher recalled.

"When I ran the Varsity, the students at that time did not have a student union," he said. "They would fill the Varsity up completely, even standing shoulder to shoulder, because they wanted to be with their friends."

The Varsity served as the unofficial student center until the 1960s when the college moved to its present location on College Road. Fisher maintained the shop until 1973, when he closed the Varsity to concentrate on managing Coastal Realty. Although he no longer saw the students on a daily basis, Fisher maintained an interest in UNCW. His son Carlton, also with Coastal Realty, is a member of the Class of 1983. Carlton volunteers on the UNCW Foundation Board, a nonprofit organization formed to assist the university with fundraising.

Several years ago, the Fishers established a scholarship for undergraduate students enrolled in the Watson School of Education. Herb Fisher has included a provision in his will for a $250,000 contribution to the scholarship, and he gave $200,000 to refurbish the field house at Brooks Field, the baseball stadium. It is called the Herbert Fisher Field House.

"Herb and Sylvia Fisher have meant so much to UNCW for so many years," said Vice Chancellor Mary M. Gornto, Division for University Advancement. "It is a tremendous privilege for this university to name our student center for them."

Warwick Center

The Warwick Center facility is home to the largest multi-use venue on campus, the Warwick Center Ballroom, as well as several smaller meeting spaces able to accommodate groups as small as 2 persons to as large as 550! 

Contruction on the Burney Center

Burney Center

The Burney Center opened to the public in March, 2008 and features a 9,300 square feet ballroom,with five different configurations available. Over 500 guests can be seated for a banquet and nearly 1,000 guests can be seated auditorium style. This ballroom has 5 projectors with HDMI capabilities and an excellent sound and lighting system. In addition, a large lobby area serves as a pre-function space, two green rooms and an office can be used in support of events.


Construction Pictures

March 2007 contruction of the Burney Center March 2007 Burney Center Contruction outside March 2007 Burney Center ContructionNovember 2007 Construction of the Burney Center January 2008 Burney Center Ballrooms Burney Center LobbyFisher University Union Boseman Gallery construction Hawks Nest Stage Area Fisher University Union Varsity ConstructionBookstore renovation