UNCW Homecoming 2015: Celebrate Feb. 13-15

Friday, January 30, 2015

Wilmington, N.C. – Hundreds of Seahawks will converge on the University of North Carolina Wilmington campus Feb. 13-15 to show their love for “The Dub” during Homecoming 2015. The weekend is packed with events for students, alumni and UNCW supporters.  

The schedule of events includes reunions, TEALgate and basketball games. Campus events include the Homecoming Step Show, Reel Teal Film Festival, and many sports activities.

During Homecoming, the UNCW Alumni Association will also recognize distinguished alumni for their outstanding achievement and service in their careers and to their communities. Lindsay LeRoy, director of Alumni Relations, said this year’s distinguished alumni award recipients are examples of the different ways Seahawks impact the world around them. 

“Time as students at UNCW has ended for our three honorees, but they have carried their experiences forward as alumni and are impacting their communities in a big way,” LeRoy said. “Their contributions include hiring fellow Seahawks, serving as examples of whom our students aspire to become, advocating for UNCW and financially contributing to make a difference in the lives of our current students.  These gentlemen exemplify what it means to be a Seahawk of excellence.  We are incredibly proud to have them as our alumni.”

Lt. Col. Robert W. Rideout Jr. ’95 will receive the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award. He serves as a hearing office chief administrative law judge with the U.S. Social Security Administration and as a judge advocate with the U.S. Army Reserves. Before his appointment as an administrative law judge, Rideout was a deputy commissioner for the N.C. Industrial Commission, hearing adjudicating workers’ compensation claims.  He has also served as an assistant public defender and later as an assistant district attorney. Rideout was promoted to lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves in 2014. He is a combat veteran, with tours to Iraq and Afghanistan.  Rideout has received numerous awards including two Bronze Star, three Meritorious Service Medals, four Army Commendation Medals, and three Army Achievement Medals.  Rideout has received two Presidential Volunteer Service Awards for his work with the N.C. Committee for Employers Support for the Guard and Reserve. He served as coordinator for legislative affairs for the committee. Rideout earned a bachelor’s degree in history at UNCW.

Ryan P. Crecelius ’06 is the 2015 Young Alumnus of the Year. Crecelius is the owner of Wilmington-based residential brokerage firm Nest Realty.  Early in his career, Crecelius established a unique brokerage firm that included philanthropy in an effort to promote social change. In 2013, Crecelius was named one of the top 100 most influential people in the real estate industry. He was recently elected as the vice president of the Wilmington Regional Association of Realtors Board of Directors. The association represents more than 2,000 members. Crecelius serves on the North Carolina Legislative Committee, and is a regular speaker at UNCW’s Cameron School of Business on the topics of entrepreneurship and corporate social responsibility.  He received his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and completed his real estate courses while attending UNCW.

Joshua “Josh” B. Vach ’87 will be presented with the 2015 Distinguished Citizen of the Year Award. Vach is the owner of several restaurants (K-38 Oleander, K-38 Porter’s Neck, Tower 7, Café Del Mar, K Bueno Cocina and Las Olas). Vach earned his bachelor’s degree in economics at UNCW, and is a longtime supporter of the Surfrider Foundation. He founded the Tower7/WBLivesurf Scholarship Fund. The merit scholarship, created by Vach, encourages students to participate in initiatives that focus on a healthy coastal community and sustainability. Vach is also a supporter of no-kill shelters in the region and the Hope for Helen charitable event in Wrightsville Beach.