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UNCW Alumni

March 30, 2017

Mike Barton '68, Hope Campbell '91 and Chris Dentiste '85 were honored as the 2017 Cameron School of Business Outstanding Alumni during CSB’s annual Business Week. The recipients joined other alumni and faculty for a recognition breakfast on March 29.

Robert Appleton was the sixth faculty member of the business department at Wilmington College in 1967 and retired from UNCW's Cameron School of Business in 1999. Mike Barton was one of Appleton’s students, whom he introduced as “a true entrepreneur.”

Barton studied accounting and went on to found three companies in the fields of healthcare, hospital management and physician practices after earning an M.B.A. from Georgia Southern University. Though he currently resides in Tennessee, he never forgets his time at UNCW.

“Not to be mushy, but I’m overwhelmed and amazed at all that has happened in my life and to the campus since the day I set foot on it. The campus had three buildings and no grass,” he said.

It was a few years after graduating with a degree in business management before Hope Campbell mustered the courage to tell her dad and uncle she wanted to join the family business. She is now the President of Clearwater Enterprises Inc., one of her family’s businesses that oversees Camp Clearwater, North Carolina’s largest family campground.

Campbell feels like her time at UNCW allowed her to “come home” in many ways.

“I’m a third-generation family business owner taught you don’t ‘risk the farm’ and the ship doesn’t go down on your watch,” she said. “Had it not been for my education, I wouldn’t have had the boldness to join the family ranks.”

Campbell was among the first group of students to attend classes in Cameron Hall. Two of her daughters are current UNCW students and she sits on the university’s Board of Visitors.

While earning his degree in economics, Chris Dentiste worked in what is now known as the Swain Center. He collaborated with former professor Woody Hall to explore “big data,” a field that was just emerging at the time. 

Today, Dentiste is vice president and CFO of RSA, a division of Dell EMC that provides industry-leading cybersecurity products to more than 30,000 organizations worldwide. In addition to Hall’s mentorship, Dentiste credits UNCW’s small class sizes as one of the factors in his success.

“With only six people in a class, you don’t want to be embarrassed by not knowing the answer,” he said. “After college, I made my way in a field where people expect to be a manager in six months.”

A native of Winston-Salem, Dentiste’s twin sisters also graduated from UNCW. He now resides in Massachusetts and says UNCW taught him to “organize and win” in all he does.

CSB Dean Rob Burrus presented all three honorees with “Soaring Seahawk” statuettes.

“Their careers are the best representation of why we are here,” he said.

-- Caroline Cropp