Office of the Chancellor

Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli with portrait


Sept. 30, 2020

Dear Seahawk Community,

With nearly half of the fall semester behind us, I want to recognize the enormous effort that faculty, staff and students have invested in making the most of challenging circumstances. Although we have been faced with difficult decisions, we have managed, as a campus community, to shift the university’s Best for the Nest plan as necessary to address numerous situations caused by the pandemic.

Earlier this month, UNCW set in motion a proactive plan to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 on campus by de-densifying residence halls. As we close out September, 99% of our on-campus residents now live in single rooms. UNCW is providing great online, hybrid and in-person courses; exciting virtual community events; advanced research opportunities; internships and other applied learning experiences; and so much more. It hasn’t been easy to adjust to new living and learning environments, but thousands of Seahawks have done exactly that, and I couldn’t be prouder of them and our university.

On Dec. 12, we will honor our spring, summer and fall 2020 graduates with special virtual ceremonies. As much as we wanted to hold these events in person, it just made the most sense, from a health and safety standpoint, to create stellar virtual celebrations. We have also decided to delay the start of the spring semester until Jan. 20 to allow more time between winter break and the first day of classes, a plan designed to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Learn more about our spring semester calendar here. Although it is too soon to determine exactly how our courses may take shape, the university is planning to offer a robust combination of online, hybrid and in-person classes again in the spring. 

Earlier this month, U.S. News and World Report ranked UNCW among the Top 100 Public National Universities for 2021. Within the UNC System, only UNC Chapel Hill and NC State were included on that Top 100 list. UNCW achieved another distinction in September, setting a new enrollment record of 17,915 students, including a record 3,265 total graduate students.

Of course, our plans for 2020-21 hinge on the course the pandemic takes in the months to come. The lessons the UNCW community learned from hurricanes past – to be flexible, collaborative and open to creative problem-solving ideas – have served us well in the storm caused by the coronavirus, and I have no doubt we will continue successfully weathering this situation together.



Jose V. Sartarelli


Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli
University of North Carolina Wilmington
601 South College Road
Wilmington, NC 28403-5931
Tel 910.962.3030
Fax 910.962.4050