Monthly Chancellor's Message

May 2020

Message from Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli

Dear Seahawk Community, 

As May comes to a close, I feel great pride in our university and the students, families, alumni, faculty, staff, friends and community partners who make it special. Due to the coronavirus, it was a difficult month at the end of a difficult semester, and yet we prevailed. Although we had to postpone commencement, we celebrated the Class of 2020’s accomplishments in new ways, including a photo mosaic (pictured above), a special Kudoboard, personalized phone calls from faculty, a “Dear Seahawks” notecard campaign from staff, and much more! We look forward to welcoming this legendary group of Seahawks and their families back to campus August 7-8, when we have rescheduled commencement. 

As different as this semester has been in many ways, some very important things have remained the same – the excellence of the programs and people who define the UNCW experience. Faculty researchers Mike Mallin and Larry Cahoon are working with community partners to improve the water quality of Wilmington’s Greenfield Lake. University College staffer Najee Wise won a national award for academic advising. Sustainability officer Kat Pohlman and Lindsay Lake ’21MFA joined Wilmington’s Clean Energy Task Force. Ashton Cloer ’22 and Ryan Walsh ’22 were named Hollings Scholars, a distinction that comes with prestigious scholarships presented by NOAA. And eight UNCW Athletics teams earned NCAA Public Recognition Awards for their success in the classroom.

These Seahawks, and thousands more, inspire me as we prepare to return for the fall semester. A Planning Team, facilitated by Dean Charlie Hardy of the College of Health and Human Services, has developed guidelines for re-opening campus in a safe and effective way for our students, faculty and staff. As we finalize our initial steps to return, we will share details with the Seahawk community. I have no doubt that the months ahead will bring numerous challenges, but we will return – carefully and thoughtfully – and our campus community will be better and stronger because of the experiences we have all endured.

Go Seahawks!

Jose V. Sartarelli



Top: Photographs submitted by the UNCW Class of 2020 make up this mosaic. Click on the photo to take a closer look.


UNCW Associate Vice Chancellor for Community Engagement and Executive Director of the Office of the Arts at her desk.

WATCH: In response to COVID-19, UNCW has been working with community partners to identify and fill unmet needs. We are, as the video's title says, "One Community."

Images from a Zoom meeting in the background. Text, in white: Congratulations Class of 2020!

WATCH: Wings up, Seahawks! Members of the UNCW Class of 2020 get an enthusiastic sendoff and are reminded that they will have a strong impact as they move on to their next chapter.

Commencement program cover on top of an image featuring teal rolls of paper representing diplomas.

More than 2,700 Seahawks, including about 2,200 undergraduates, 500 graduate students and 25 doctoral students, earned degrees in Spring 2020. They join the ranks of nearly 90,000 UNCW alumni.

Sammy in cap and gown on a teal background. Text, in gold: Click here to see kudos for UNCW's Class of 2020!

UNCW leaders, faculty, staff, alumni and parents offered congratulatory messages to the graduating class.


UNCW’s English Language Center Receives Ten-Year CEA Accreditation                               


Paula Reid portrait on teal background.
Jordan Weber standing on a platform by the pool, motioning to several people who are in the pool.
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OFFICE OF THE CHANCELLOR | UNC Wilmington | 601 S. College Road, Wilmington, NC 28403 | 910.962.3000