UNCW Receives $10 Million Gift, Largest in University History, to Establish New School

Thursday, December 06, 2018

The University of North Carolina Wilmington has received a $10 million gift commitment from alumnus David Congdon ’78, and his wife, Helen. This represents the largest outright gift commitment in university history; with it, UNCW will establish the “David S. Congdon School of Supply Chain, Business Analytics and Information Systems,” supporting these programs within the Cameron School of Business. The Computer Information Systems Building will also be rededicated as David S. Congdon Hall.

“Generous and innovative philanthropic leaders like the Congdons help the university address the most pressing needs of the region, building workforce expertise and benefiting local industries,” said Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli. “We are confident that this commitment will serve as a catalyst to inspire other donors who want to transform the lives of students and help us engage faculty, alumni and the community to expand, explore, and address the issues important to our region.”

David Congdon graduated from UNCW in 1978 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and was named the 2008 Cameron School of Business Alumnus of the Year. He has spent his entire career, which began when he was a teenager and continued after graduation, with Old Dominion Freight Line Inc. The company was founded in Richmond, Va., in 1934 by his grandparents. Its headquarters was relocated to High Point, NC, in the early '60s where the Congdon family has resided since. David’s experience has included dockworker, truck driver, mechanic, industrial engineer and various executive positions leading up to his promotion to the role of President and Chief Operating officer from 1997-2015. He was named CEO in 2008 and currently acts as Executive Chairman of the Board. Congdon has been recognized in the Triad and by Fortune magazine for his business and community leadership, and he serves on a number of community and industry boards.

It is anticipated that the Congdons’ gift will have a substantial impact in facilitating scholarships and professorships; providing research support; creating and maintaining corporate sponsorships; advancing program technology and equipment; and making capital improvements to the Computer Information Systems Building.

“The Congdons’ transformational investment will provide an opportunity to increase access to high-achieving students, recruit and retain world-class faculty, and invest in state-of-the-art technology,” said Cameron School of Business Dean Robert Burrus. “This investment will help spark the careers of students who plan to work in industries that are rapidly growing and that pay high starting salaries.”

A key initiative of UNCW’s Strategic Plan is working to ensure that students are employed within six months after graduation. With the implementation of these program enhancements, students will be better prepared to help businesses make smarter decisions and fill a growing void within the workforce. The Cameron School of Business is focused on technical, analytical and interpersonal skills students will need to lead, and the Congdons’ commitment will expand that mission.

The Congdons’ significant commitment caps off a record-breaking year for the university. The university set all-time enrollment records, with total enrollment surpassing 16,700 and a 16 percent increase in graduate student enrollment. UNCW was also named 5th among peer institutions for number of students studying abroad by Open Doors and 7th in the nation for online bachelor’s programs by U.S. News and World Report. In 2018, UNCW tied for 6th in the nation in NOAA/Hollings scholarships; awarded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the prestigious awards are named in honor of U.S. Senator Ernest F. Hollings, who was instrumental in the creation of NOAA.
-- Christina Schechtman