Home is Where the Seahawks Are – Annual Homecoming Celebration Feb. 3-5

Friday, January 27, 2017

(NOTE: Tickets for this year's TEALgate are sold out and walk-up registrations are not available.)

UNCW alumni, family and friends are invited to “come home again” for the Homecoming 2017 celebration, Feb. 3 to 5.

Signature events for the weekend include an Alumni Champagne Brunch, a Student Affairs reunion, the African American Graduate Association Luncheon and a TEALgate party before the CAA-champion Seahawks take on Delaware inside Trask Coliseum.

“Homecoming is a celebration for alumni of all ages and backgrounds to return to Wilmington to show their Seahawk spirit,” said Kim Gargiulo, assistant director of alumni relations. “It’s a great opportunity for alumni to reconnect, inspire the next generation of Seahawks and cheer on our teams together with pride.”

Student events will be held throughout the week, including a late-night breakfast, “Dub Idol” and step show. In addition, alumni can enjoy a 10 percent discount at the campus bookstore and work out in the Student Rec Center.

Social media users who tag their posts with #UNCWhomecoming and #UNCWHC17 may see them displayed on the Homecoming website and during various events.

Many events require registration and/or tickets, but most activities are free and open to all. A complete schedule and details are available online.

Over the weekend, the UNCW Alumni Association will also recognize three distinguished alumni for outstanding professional achievement and personal commitment to community engagement.

The 2017 distinguished alumni award recipients are:

Distinguished Young Alumnus of the Year:
Darion Jeralds '10, '14M

Distinguished Alumnus of the Year:
Chad Porter '98

Distinguished Citizen of the Year
Chip Mahan

More about the distinguished alumni honorees:

Darion Jeralds '10, '14M
Darion Jeralds graduated cum laude from UNCW as the Outstanding Graduate for Operations Management in 2010. While at UNCW, he was a member of the men’s basketball team and was honored as the CAA Scholar Athlete of the Year in 2009. After graduation, he was hired as a Sourcing Specialist for GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy Americas. In this role supporting nuclear manufacturing, he captured savings of more than $4 million. In 2012, Darion was promoted to Commodity Leader, where he executed contracts for deflation, terms and intellectual property, while managing a budget of more than $20 million.

In May 2014, he earned an M.B.A. from UNCW and was promoted to Commercial Sourcing Program Leader. As a program leader, Darion was responsible for organizational simplification, strategic analytics and commercial programs, including innovation and supplier diversity. During this role, Darion was recognized with the JJ Murphy Extra Step Award, a prestigious honor presented to GE leaders who demonstrate substantive effort in utilizing small and diverse businesses in the U.S. In 2015, he joined the GE Advanced Supply Chain program and began working toward a second master's degree in supply chain management from Pennsylvania State University. In 2016, he became the Senior Sourcing Manager for Global Nuclear Fuel. In this role, he leads a global team to execute supply chain fulfillment, cash flow and cost out targets.

Darion’s community outreach activities include serving as a volunteer youth basketball coach, March of Dimes Ambassador Family, Communities in Schools volunteer and a Work on Wilmington project leader.

Chad Porter '98
After graduating from UNCW, Chad Porter attended East Carolina University and obtained his master’s in physical therapy, returning to Wilmington to practice at Coastal Rehabilitation Hospital. He continued his quest to help others by working in real estate before starting his financial planning practice, Porter Financial Group. A member of the elite Zig Ziglar International Team, he now travels the country as a lead motivational speaker and trainer to corporations ranging from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies.

Chad has faced many adversities in his life, including a life-altering accident at 15, when a ski boat propeller destroyed both of his legs, amputating one of them below the knee. No stranger to perseverance, he fought through this adversity and went on to play varsity basketball in high school and won many intramural championships at UNCW in various sports.

Chad serves on the board of directors for Access of Wilmington and as vice chairman of the board for the Miracle League. He has been involved from the early stages of the project and continues to go out on Saturdays and pitch to more than 150 athletes. Chad has donated countless hours locally and nationally, talking with students about making the right choices and how to cope with life’s challenges. Chad is a mentor to countless youth in our community and has been highly involved helping the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He recently spearheaded a huge movement in the Wilmington community, organizing relief efforts for Hurricane Matthew victims. He loves his community and UNCW, and does all he can to make each of them a better place.

James S. (Chip) Mahan II
Chip Mahan is the founder, CEO and chairman of the board of directors of Live Oak Bank. He is a founding member of nCino and serves on its board of directors.

Prior to his work with Live Oak Bank, he served as chief executive officer and chairman of the board for S1 Corporation and founder of Security First Network Bank, the world’s first internet bank. Under his leadership, S1 Corporation grew to a $234-million software and services provider in only six years, averaging more than 200 percent growth. At its peak, S1 had a market capitalization of $7.8 billion. 

Before founding Security First Network Bank and S1 Corporation, Chip launched Cardinal Bancshares, also serving as its chairman and chief executive officer. He built Cardinal into an institution with $800 million in total assets and took the company public in 1992. He spent several years with Citizens Union National Bank & Trust Co., serving as president, COO and vice chairman, becoming chairman and CEO in 1984. In 1986, he formed an investment group that purchased Citizens Union and subsequently sold it to BankOne Corp. of Columbus, OH. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Washington and Lee University.

Chip is actively involved in humanitarian and community activities. He co-founded Phoenix Hometown Hires and serves on numerous boards and advisory committees. In 2014, he was recognized with the Lower Cape Fear Stewardship Development Award for Outstanding Stewardship for creating a superior workplace environment, while preserving the longleaf pines and live oaks growing on the site.

-- Caroline Cropp