Monthly Chancellor's Message
Chancellor Volety poses with other Seahawks

Message from Chancellor Aswani K. Volety

Dear UNCW Community, 

This month provided some perfect opportunities to both look back at UNCW’s accomplishments and glance ahead to our future as students, faculty, staff, alumni, fans and friends. One of the highlights was Homecoming 2023, my first as chancellor, as more than 1,500 alumni and their families returned for celebrations like no other. 

It was wonderful to see our alumni, current students and others in the Seahawk community come together for a full slate of events. The crowd warmed up with the TEALGate party on Hoggard Lawn before cheering on the men’s basketball team in their win against Northeastern in Trask Coliseum. The weekend concluded with the Homecoming Brunch hosted by AAGA and celebrating the 60th anniversary of Black student life at UNCW. 

I also attended the ribbon-cutting openings of two campus facilities that will provide students new spaces to gather and find their place at UNCW. The new Fraternity and Sorority Life Village and Multipurpose Room gives the traditions of Greek life on campus a new focal point. The Asian Heritage Cultural Center offers an inclusive and welcoming space to strengthen cross-cultural relationships across campus and in the community. By providing academic support, broad programming and student resources, both add invaluably to UNCW’s campus life.  

We also welcomed a new leader to campus this month, as Michael Oblinger was announced as the university’s seventh athletic director. A former student-athlete himself, he brings nearly 20 years of experience to the athletics program. He has a tough act to follow, coming after Jimmy Bass—AD since 2010—who has overseen UNCW teams that have won more than 30 CAA championships. We’re on our way to another strong CAA season, adding championships for both men’s and women’s swimming and diving and key wins at the first CAA Indoor Track and Field Championships

Our athletic wins are only the start of UNCW’s accolades. In just one example, our Department of Theatre received the North Carolina Theatre Conference College/University Awardin recognition of its outstanding academic programs, excellent productions, mentoring of students and community engagement. 

To encourage continued excellence, we are deeply involved in the process of creating the next 10-year strategic plan for the university. The campus and greater Wilmington community are taking an active role in determining where UNCW sees itself in another decade and what we hope to accomplish. With such inspiring events throughout the university community, I’m excited to see how we will all be a part of where they lead us in the future. 

Yours in Seahawk spirit,

Aswani K. Volety


Above: Chancellor Volety joined faulty and alumni for the TEALgate celebration before the men's basketball game against Northeastern University during Homecoming 2023.


Men's and women's swimming and diving teams

UNCW captured both the men's and women's Colonial Athletic Association Swimming & Diving Championship titles last week for the second time overall and the first since 2006. For the Seahawk men, it was the program's 15th conference title and its second straight. For the women, it was their fourth and first since that 2006 season.


Michael Oblinger

Following a national search, Michael Oblinger has been named Athletics Director at UNCW. Now Deputy Director of Athletics-External Relations at the University of Connecticut, Oblinger will join the Seahawks on April 1.

Chancellor Volety signs a teal girder for the library expansion project

Chancellor Volety signed a teal girder before it was placed as the final beam in UNCW's library expansion project as part of the project's "topping out" milestone.

Alderman Hall

UNCW’s Division of Student Affairs is recognized as one of the “most promising places to work” in higher education. The division is one of 27 across the country named by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, in conjunction with the American College Personnel Association.

Dr. Yishi Wang and Dr. Karl Ricanek Jr.

UNCW faculty members (left to right) Dr. Yishi Wang and Dr. Karl Ricanek Jr. were named to the new class of some of the world's best emerging academic inventors. The National Academy of Inventors announced 95 faculty, scientists and administrators to the 2023 class of Senior Members.

Dr. Md Shah Alam and Paul Dimling

In December, $11 million in National Science Foundation Convergence Accelerator grants were dispensed to 16 multidisciplinary teams to address challenges related to food and nutrition security. UNCW is the recipient or co-recipient of two of the 16 awards. Dr. Md Shah Alam (left), research associate professor at the Center for Marine Science, is the principal investigator for one of those.

Dr. Maia Butler

Dr. Maia Butler, associate professor in the Department of English and faculty fellow in the College of Arts and Sciences, is the recipient of a Mellon Fellowship in Democracy and Landscape Studies. Dr. Butler will be in residence in the Garden and Landscape Studies Program at Dumbarton Oaks, a Harvard University research institute in Washington, D.C., in fall 2023.

Sean Palmer and Mayor Bill Saffo

People gathered in Lumina Theater to kick off Black History Month on Feb. 1. Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo, pictured above (right) with Upperman African American Cultural Center Director Sean Palmer, read aloud a proclamation marking Black History Month.

BEA Festival of Media Arts logo

Three UNCW communication studies student productions have been honored by the Broadcast Education Association Festival of Media Arts with an Award of Excellence. Winners will be recognized at the BEA’s annual conference April 15-18.

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Alejandra Sotelo '00, Recipient of the Distinguished Diversity Award

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Marcia J. Avedon, Ph.D. '83, Distinguished Alumna of the Year

The Alumni Association Distinguished Awards are presented to individuals in recognition of their extraordinary achievement, outstanding character and exemplary service to the university and community. The awardees above were recognized during the university's Homecoming celebrations Feb. 10-12.

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OFFICE OF THE CHANCELLOR | UNC Wilmington | 601 S. College Road, Wilmington, NC 28403 | 910.962.3000