UNCW Mourns the Passing of Former Provost Charles L. Cahill

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

It is with sadness that we share the news that Charles L. Cahill, longtime provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, has passed away at age 88.
Cahill’s UNCW career spanned 32 years. Both the Charles L. Cahill Grants for Faculty Scholarship and Cahill Drive were named in his honor.
Born on February 23, 1933, in El Reno, Oklahoma, during the Dust Bowl days, Cahill attended a small high school and was one of about 40 in his graduating class, he said in a 2003 interview published in the Randall Library’s Archives and Special Collections.
A basketball scholarship took him to Oklahoma Baptist University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a master’s degree in biochemistry. He earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Oklahoma.
He said he owed his career in academia to a professor, James R. Scales, who pushed him to do well as an undergraduate. Scales became president of Oklahoma Baptist and later Wake Forest University, and was a lifelong friend who recommended Cahill for the vice chancellor’s job at UNCW.
Chancellor William Wagoner named Cahill vice chancellor for academic affairs in 1971 and added the provost’s title in 1985. He returned to the faculty in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in 1992 and served until 2003.
Jack Manock, who served as director of the Office of Research Administration and is president of the Order of Isaac Bear, said Cahill was instrumental in the early growth of the university.
“Charles was always very straightforward and honest, and if he said something was going to get done, it did get done,” Manock said. “He was very talented, and he was very, very smart. And I will miss him. I considered him to be a very good friend.”
Survivors include his wife of 67 years, the former Dorotha Ann Cleek.
Services will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, June 24 at Winter Park Baptist Church.