University of North Carolina Wilmington

Coordinates: 34°13′33″N 77°52′24″W / 34.22583°N 77.87333°W / 34.22583; -77.87333
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University of North Carolina Wilmington
Former names
Wilmington College
MottoDiscere Aude
Motto in English
Dare to Learn
TypePublic research university
EstablishedSeptember 4, 1947; 76 years ago (1947-09-04)
Parent institution
University of North Carolina
Academic affiliations
Endowment$103.8 million (2020)[1]
ChancellorAswani K. Volety
ProvostJames J. Winebrake
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students18,030 (2021) [3]
Undergraduates14,448 (2021) [4]
Postgraduates3,265 [4]
Location, ,
United States

34°13′33″N 77°52′24″W / 34.22583°N 77.87333°W / 34.22583; -77.87333
CampusSuburban, 661 acres (2.67 km2)
ColorsTeal, navy, and gold[5]
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division ICAA
MascotSammy C. Hawk

The University of North Carolina Wilmington[6] (UNCW or UNC Wilmington) is a public research university in Wilmington, North Carolina. It is part of the University of North Carolina System and enrolls 17,499 undergraduate and graduate students each year. It is classified among "R2: Doctoral Universities – High research activity".[7]

Founded on September 4, 1947, Wilmington College opened as a junior college, primarily providing education to World War II veterans. The school became a four-year liberal arts college in 1963, following legislation from the North Carolina General Assembly. In 1969, the college became a university and was renamed as the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Today, it has three campuses with the main campus in Wilmington, an extension campus in Jacksonville, North Carolina, and the Center for Marine Science near Myrtle Grove.


Main entrance on South College Road

UNCW opened its doors on September 4, 1947, as Wilmington College. At the time, it operated as a junior college offering freshman-level courses to 238 students during the first school year, 77% of whom were veterans returning from military service following World War II. Under the control of the New Hanover County Board of Education, Wilmington College earned accreditation from the North Carolina College Conference in 1948 and became a member of the American Association of Junior Colleges. Further accreditation came in 1952 from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Arches next to Morton and Leutze halls

In 1958, Wilmington College was placed under the Community College Act of North Carolina, passing control from the New Hanover County Board of Education to a board of trustees as a state-supported college under the supervision of the North Carolina Board of Higher Education.

Wilmington College became a four-year liberal arts college on July 1, 1963, when the North Carolina General Assembly passed legislation allowing it to award bachelor's degrees. Six years later, July 1, 1969, the college was elevated to university status under its present name, becoming the fifth campus of the University of North Carolina system. On August 22, 1977, UNCW was authorized to offer its first graduate programs at the master's level.[1] The university offers 55 bachelor's degrees, 35 master's degrees and four doctoral degrees: Ed.D. Educational Leadership; Ph.D. Integrative, Comparative and Marine Biology; Ph.D. Psychology and a [8] Doctorate in Nursing Practice.[2]


Cameron Hall, the main building of the Cameron School of Business

The university is organized into eight colleges:[9]

  • Cameron School of Business
  • College of Health and Human Services
  • College of Humanities, Social Sciences, and the Arts
  • College of Science and Engineering
  • Watson College of Education
  • Graduate School
  • Honors College
  • University College

The university has 55 undergraduate degree programs, 35 master's degree programs and four doctoral programs.


Academic rankings
THE / WSJ[11]> 600
U.S. News & World Report[12]185
Washington Monthly[13]244

Randall Library[edit]

Main entrance of Randall Library

William Madison Randall Library has two floors. The first floor features computer banks, group work areas, the Technology Assistance Center, and a coffee shop for students. The second floor has a strictly enforced quiet policy.

Construction of the Randall Library annex, July 2023

The library recently began an expansion project in 2019 that is four stories or roughly 117, 980 square feet. The expansion has been delayed for various reasons, one of which being current utilization of the existing perimeter. The project is estimated to be finished in April 2024. In the meantime, the library staff successfully utilize their existing space by offering clubs, programs and recreational areas for staff and students.[14]

Centers, institutes, and extensions[edit]

  • Center for Support of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships
  • Center for Teaching Excellence
  • Center for Marine Science
  • Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
  • Swain Center for Professional and Continuing Education

Student life[edit]

Campus life[edit]

The university offers degrees in humanities, sciences, health, business and professional fields. The university's marine science program draws a variety of undergraduate and graduate students from across the United States.[citation needed] The proximity to the Atlantic Ocean is a draw for incoming freshmen.[citation needed]

Teal is the official school color of UNCW, with navy and gold as alternate colors.

The average high school GPA was 4.13 for incoming freshmen in 2018, and the SAT average score was 1251. [15]

Student facilities[edit]

Chancellor's Walk, the center of campus, around midafternoon

In 2000, the Student Recreation Center was opened to students, staff, and faculty members. It houses three basketball courts, exercise machines, a weight training area, an indoor running track, and an indoor climbing wall. It also includes a group exercise room which supports multiple clubs and activities, including Yoga, Pilates, and an Aikido club. In 2012, the Student Recreation Center completed an expansion of facilities, as well as construction on a new natatorium. This construction doubled the size of the existing Recreation Center.[16]

Lumina Theater, named after the boardwalk theater that was once found on Wrightsville Beach, features 333 stadium seats, a 15.5' x 30' screen, Dolby Digital surround sound, and a digital projection system. Lumina screens blockbusters, independents, cult classics, art films, international films and student films throughout the academic year, several days a week, except during University holidays and breaks. Some notable Lumina events included a multi-part, high-definition screening of BBC's Planet Earth series over the span of several weekends, and a yearly 24-hour movie marathon called Hawk-In.


On campus, the Department of Housing and Residence Life manages thirty-five residence halls and on-campus apartment/suite buildings. The buildings are managed within geographically similar "areas," which are led by a Residence Coordinator (RC) and Assistance Residence Coordinator (ARC). The UNCW Residence Hall Association (RHA) is the overall governing body for the residence halls and is composed of councils from each of the residential areas.[17]

A residential quad on the south-central side of campus, comprising Belk Hall, Graham Hall, Hewlett Hall, Loggerhead Hall, Pelican Hall, Sandpiper Hall and Terrapin Hall, houses almost 2,400 students. Galloway Hall was UNCW's first residence facility on campus. It was the first dorm in the UNC system to be built with air condition and was originally called "Dorm '71." Belk, Graham and Hewlett residence halls are configured in suite-style hall arrangements with up to eight individuals sharing a bathroom. Combined they house 570 first-year students.[18][19] Originally a co-ed facility, Belk Hall was all female for quite some years before returning co-ed beginning in the 2016-2017 academic year. Pelican Hall and Sandpiper Hall were completed in 2020 as a part of the larger housing quad project. The buildings are built to mirror each other, each containing a pod-style layout and 518 first-year bed spaces.[20][21] Loggerhead and Terrapin Halls were completed in 2021 and consist of 775 bed spaces, mainly for first- and second-year students in semi-suite style.[22][23]

Leutze Lake and the campus clock tower at the end of Chancellor's Walk

Schwartz Hall houses 160 residents and is home to mostly first-year students. Adjacent to Schwartz Hall are the University Suites, and the Fraternity and Sorority Village, which consist of seven pod-style buildings housing 400 students. Various fraternities and sororities have personalized suites within this area.[24]

Keystone Hall, Cornerstone Hall, and Innovation House form a residential area known as "Tri-House." All three residence halls were constructed in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Combined the area can house 465 students, with 265 students in Cornerstone Hall,[25] and 100 in Keystone[26] and Innovation House[27] respectively. All three buildings are in a traditional format.

Three on-campus apartment complexes are located at UNCW, Seahawk Village, Seahawk Crossing, and Seahawk Landing. The Seahawks are reserved for graduate students and upperclass students (including sophomores).[28][29][30] Seahawk Village contains two, three, and four bedroom apartments, which house 524 students within six apartment buildings. Additionally, Seahawk Village contains a pool and clubhouse, accessible only to residents.[31] Seahawk Landing contains similar two, three, and four bedroom apartments, with a combined 662 students living in seven buildings. Seahawk Landing contains a pool, accessible only to residents, with a convenience market open to the public.[32] Seahawk Crossing contains a slightly different layout, containing four, six, and eight person apartments with a combined 662 students within four apartment buildings.[33]

Greek life[edit]

Fraternities and sororities have continued to grow at UNCW with membership now around 9.8% percent of the overall student population,[34] falling slightly below the national average. There are dozens of sororities on campus. The National Pan-Hellenic Council has 6 historically black organizations, three fraternities and three sororities. UNCW also has one Christian sorority.[35]


Entrance of Brooks Field

The UNCW athletic teams are known as the Seahawks. They are NCAA's Division I members fielding 18 teams, 8 varsity athletic teams for men (baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, swimming, tennis, track & field) and 10 for women (basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track & field, volleyball, beach volleyball). UNCW is a member of the Colonial Athletic Association. The men's and women's basketball teams play at Trask Coliseum and the baseball team plays at Brooks Field. The teams' colors include navy blue, teal, and gold.

Notable people[edit]




  1. ^ As of June 30, 2020. U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2020 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY19 to FY20 (Report). National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. February 19, 2021. Archived from the original on February 21, 2021. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
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  19. ^ "Graham & Hewlett Halls". Retrieved May 22, 2023.
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  21. ^ "UNCW: Housing and Residence Life: Sandpiper Hall". Archived from the original on September 26, 2020. Retrieved September 17, 2020.
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  23. ^ "Terrapin Hall". Retrieved May 22, 2023.
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  33. ^ "Housing and Residence Life - Seahawk Crossing". Archived from the original on March 17, 2021. Retrieved September 17, 2020.
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