Homecoming Highlights; UNCW Honors Research and Scholarship

Monthly Chancellor's Message
Sammy C. Hawk is in the middle of a cheering crowed of students at the Homecoming men's basketball game.

February 2020

Message from Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli

Dear Seahawk Community, 

February offered UNCW the opportunity to celebrate Homecoming 2020, with generations of Seahawks teaming up to enjoy reunions, TEALgate, the AAGA luncheon and so much more! Congratulations to Distinguished Alumni Award recipients Julie Andrews ’13, Ashlee Balena ’95 and Mark Scalf ’80. We also honored Sheila Boles, the first women’s basketball scholarship student-athlete at UNCW, raising her No. 25 jersey to the rafters of Trask Coliseum. 

While on campus, alumni had the opportunity to see and hear that our enrollment is among the fastest growing in the UNC System, and we continue to maintain strong retention and graduation rates. The university has $400 million in building and renovation projects in the works, and later this year, we plan to open Veterans Hall, two new residence halls, the Central Parking Deck and the fully restored Dobo Hall, which was severely damaged by Hurricane Florence. Earlier this month, the Student Government Association hosted a tree-planting day, an effort that symbolizes UNCW’s commitment to emphasizing sustainability as our campus evolves to support the future. 

With the semester in full swing, students, faculty and staff ramped up their engagement with community partners in February, sponsoring an opera symposium, hosting an arts clinic for fifth graders, and collaborating with the North Carolina Biotechnology Center on a new biotech venture challenge. UNCW honored outstanding faculty researchers this month, recognizing their commitment to scholarship, knowledge discovery and innovation. 

This month also marked the 40th anniversary of a signature program, UNCW’s MarineQuest. Over the years, this great marine science and environmental awareness program has inspired more than 200,000 children and teens to develop their STEM skills. 

Our student-athletes, coaches and fans have had a lot to celebrate lately. Our track and field teams captured first place in five events at a major meet in Florida. The men’s basketball team scored a big win over William & Mary for Homecoming, and the men’s swimming and diving team placed second at the Colonial Athletic Association Championships. Swimmers Will Countie ’20 and Gianmichel D’Alessandro ’21 earned silver medals at the championships, and diver Courtney Klausen ’23 tied for first in the women’s 1-meter board competition.

Go Seahawks!

Jose V. Sartarelli



Justine Reel (left); Chancellor shaking hands with James Blum (second from right); Stuart Borrett. They are in frong of a large screen naming new members of the Million Dollar Club.

UNCW toasted research and scholarship during a reception in the Burney Center. Pictured (left to right): Justine Reel, interim director of the Office of Sponsored Programs and Research Compliance; Chancellor Sartarelli; James Blum, one of three new inductees into the James F. Merritt Million Dollar Club; Associate Provost for Research Stuart Borrett. To see a full list of faculty and staff recognized for their work, click here.

Logo for 40th Anniversary of MarineQuest,

WATCH: MarineQuest at UNCW has brought marine science and biology programs to more than 200,000 children and teens over the past 40 years, encouraging them to get their hands dirty and their feet wet in pursuit of discovery.


Runners dressed for cold weather run through a balloon arch during the Homecoming Fun Run.

Homecoming 2020 was packed with events for students, alumni, faculty and staff. The College of Arts and Sciences 5k and 1 Mile Run helped warm up a chilly morning.

Homecoming Queen Ricki Nelson (left, wearing a tiara and sash and holding a bouquet of flowers) and Chancellor Sartarelli stand courtside at the men's basketball game in Trask, with a crowd in the stands.

Chancellor Sartarelli congratulated Homecoming Queen Ricki Nelson. For more Homecoming 2020 highlights, view the slideshow.

Two women seated side by side on an antique sofa covered in red and a man standing between the two behind the sofa. Left to right, Young Alumna of the Year Julie Andrews '13; retired Seahawk baseball Coach Mark Scalf '80, Distinguished Alumnus of the Year; and Ashlee Balena'95, Distinguished Citizen of the Year.

UNCW honored three outstanding alumni during Homecoming: (left to right) Distinguished Young Alumna of the Year Julie Andrews '13; retired UNCW baseball Coach Mark Scalf '80, Distinguished Alumnus of the Year; and Ashlee Balena '95, senior lecturer in the Department of World Languages and Cultures, Distinguished Citizen of the Year.

A group of people including a child surrounds Sheila Boles (center), in a navy jacket wearing a teal and yellow corsage. She is also holding flowers with a clear wrap.

UNCW retired the No. 25 jersey of Sheila Boles '77 (center) during halftime at the women's basketball game on Homecoming Weekend. Boles was UNCW's first women's basketball scholarship student-athlete and later served as varsity boys basketball head coach and athletic director at John T. Hoggard High School in Wilmington.



Savannah Miller smiles. Her backdrop is a mountain and a forest of trees in Alaska.
A bearded Wilson Okello laughs with his eyes shut and claps his hands.
Holding up signs with their graduation years in front of a teal curtain with the Seahawk logo repeated over and over: Left to right, Judy Matthews Russell, Jay Russell, Gavin Russell and Dawn England Russell.


Assorted cast members in turn of the (20th) century attire stand on stage. In the foreground is a woman dressed in a blue habit-like gown with an elaborate veil and headpiece holds hands with a man dressed like a sea captain. People standing in the background stare and seem shocked or touched

The Department of Theatre presented "Comedy of Errors," a re-imagined production of the Shakespeare play.

Two women wearing gardening cloves crouch down to pat down dirt around a long leaf pine seedling.

The Student Government Association and volunteers from other campus groups teamed up to plant longleaf pine trees along the front of campus.

Manny Lloyd in a denim jacket and yellow shirt stand in front of a birthday balloon and colorful packages in the Upperman Center.

The Upperman African American Cultural Center hosted a party to celebrate its 25th birthday.

Students dressed in business attire on one side of a series of tables shake hands with representatives of local businesses and organizations across the tables.

The UNCW Career & Internship Fair provided students the opportunity to network with prospective employers.

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