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Steve and Louise Coggins

Dec. 13, 2017

Steve and Louise Coggins, who moved to Wilmington permanently in 2002 after commuting between Raleigh and their beach house for several years, are busy people. Their jobs – he is a partner in the Rountree Losee law firm, she is a psychotherapist with a master’s degree in social work – take up much of their time, but they nevertheless make time for their true passion, supporting organizations whose missions they embrace. That list includes UNCW.

The couple funded the John P. Bennett, Ed.D. Scholarship in Health and Physical Education to honor the now-retired UNCW professor. The scholarship, now referred to as the Healthful Living Leadership Scholarship, benefits students in the School of Health and Applied Human Sciences who desire to become educators in disciplines related to healthcare or physical education.

“He was a great mentor,” Louise Coggins said of Bennett. He knew when his students were troubled, and they confided in him, she said, noting that he directed some students to her if they needed help working through a difficult situation.

“His unbounded enthusiasm for the university was attractive and infectious,” Steve Coggins added. “I was also drawn to the excellent chancellors at UNCW, including Jim Leutze, who taught me history at UNC-Chapel Hill.”

For this couple, giving is more than a good deed; it is part of who they are. One of the key factors in their decision to leave Raleigh was that without two houses to maintain, they would be able to give more of their income to charitable causes. They have donated time and/or money to literally dozens of organizations throughout their 43-year marriage.

Steve Coggins served on the UNCW Board of Visitors from 2007 to 2013. He currently serves on the board of the Fuller Center for Housing, a Georgia-based nonprofit that rehabilitates homes for people in need. He also serves on the board of the local nonprofit Phoenix Hometown Hires and the N.C. Banking Commission.

Louise Coggins is chair of the CHHS Dean’s Advancement Council and of the board of advisors for the School of Social Work at UNC-Chapel Hill. Both she and her husband are active with Make Way Partners, a ministry dedicated to ending human trafficking. She is the organization’s vice chair. In 2010, Louise Coggins was named Philanthropist of the Year by the Cape Fear chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

They both advocated for UNCW’s new Allied Health Building that will serve a growing number of health programs.

“I am committed to supporting new programs in the health field which are needed to better serve citizens in our community and state, and to continue to grow and improve the many excellent programs and degrees which are already a part of CHHS,” Louise Coggins said.

Added her husband, who noted that the region needs more trained health professionals to serve a growing population: “It is going to end up saving a lot of lives and helping a lot of people.”

-- Tricia Vance