UNCW Magazine Spring 2022

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SPRING • 2022

Q & A: Up Close with Jason Mott

UNCW Bids Farewell to Retiring Chancellor Sartarelli

Living History Amplifies Voices Once Silenced

Chancellor Honored with Dedication of


Spring 2022 Volume 32 Number 1



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Produced by the Office of University Relations

EDITOR Jennifer Glatt ’21M ART DIRECTOR Shirl New DESIGN Kyle Prey PHOTOGRAPHY Jeff Janowski CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Joe Browning Caroline Cropp ’99, ’06M Sarah Fetters Susan Finley Venita Jenkins Megan Kauzlaric Krissy Vick CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Gabriella de Souza Harry D. Lee Left Side Up Films LLC Dr. Katey Lesneski Amy Long Mummi Markússon Bradley Pearce Marley Smith CONTRIBUTING DESIGNER April Lepak CLASS NOTES Caroline Cropp ’99, ’06M Division for University Advancement EDITORIAL ADVISORS Missy A. Kennedy ’01 Eddie Stuart ’05M Andrea Weaver BUSINESS MANAGER Kelly Baker EDITOR EMERITA Marybeth Bianchi

UNCW Magazine is published for alumni and friends of the university by the Office of University Relations, University of North Carolina Wilmington, 601 S. College Rd., Wilmington, North Carolina 28403. Correspondence may be directed to uncwmagazine@uncw.edu. UNC Wilmington is committed to and will provide equal educational and employment opportunity. Questions regarding program access may be directed to the Compliance Officer, UNCW Chancellor’s Office, 910.962.3000, Fax 910.962.3483. UNCW does not discriminate on the basis of sex. Questions regarding UNCW’s Title IX compliance should be directed to titleix@uncw.edu. 107,000 copies of this public document were printed at a cost of $66,118 or $0.617 per copy (G.S. 143-170.1). Printed by Hickory Printing Solutions, an RRD Company.

DEAR SEAHAWK COMMUNITY, As I considered my final UNCW Magazine message to you, I reflected on the many powerful memories we created together over the past seven years. When I retire on June 30, I will depart with a mixture of sadness and joy in my Seahawk heart, knowing that I will miss this great university and that I will leave it even better than I found it when I arrived in July 2015. Of course, I accomplished nothing by myself. All of you came together to push UNCW’s trajectory of success into high gear. We established 20 new degrees, including the nation’s first undergraduate coastal engineering program. We set enrollment and fundraising records, transformed the campus through construction and renovation projects, and successfully navigated hurricanes and a global pandemic. We evolved into a doctoral university with high research activity and expanded our commitment to master’s and doctoral programs. We achieved national recognition for our quality and affordability; UNCW is one of just three UNC System schools included among the Top 100 best public universities in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report. If there’s one thing I’ve learned as UNCW Chancellor, it is this: never underestimate a Seahawk. Jason Mott ’06, ’08M didn’t get a lot of interest initially in the manuscript that eventually won the 2021 National Book Award (page 12). He never gave up on completing Hell of a Book. UNCW students, faculty and staff also excel at finding inventive ways to address complex situations. Seahawks are studying the use of cacao for conservation (page 14), enhancing the health of our oceans through coral restoration (page 16), and exploring the concept of a life well-lived through the lens of losing a beloved parent (page 6). While the overall rate of campus construction and renovation is slowing down after years of rapid growth, UNCW is embarking on a new project at Randall Library destined to shape learning at this university for years to come (page 10). When I first came to UNCW, I shared my favorite quote from the great scientist Albert Einstein as inspiration for our work together. He said: “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” We stood on the strong foundation created by previous generations and built a growing national research university in Wilmington because we imagined that we could. Where will UNCW go in the future? Wherever all of you, working in collaboration with the next Chancellor, want to go. Even the sky cannot limit the future of this university – we already have SeaHawk-1, a nanosatellite, orbiting the Earth! Serving as UNCW Chancellor has been the opportunity of a lifetime. Thank you, thank you, thank you for supporting my wife Kathy and me. While our time at UNCW is coming to a close, our heartfelt commitment to this great university will never end. With best regards,

Jose V. Sartarelli Chancellor

1947 2022

On September 4, 2022, UNCW will celebrate 75 years of service to the Wilmington community. 3



The Leonard Legacy The student recreation center is now officially known as the “Pat Leonard Student Recreation Center” in honor of the late UNCW Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, who passed away on June 2, 2020. “Pat dedicated herself to generations of students at UNCW. The recreation center is one of many special buildings, projects and services she championed during her decades here,” said Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli. “Her skill as a leader and mentor, combined with her sense of humor and her selfless care for others, shaped and supported our Seahawk spirit for years, and we are honored to recognize her memory by naming the student recreation center for her.” Leonard joined UNCW in 1983 as the associate dean of students. She was named dean of students in 1987 and became vice chancellor in 1996, a position she held for 24 years. She was the longestserving vice chancellor at UNCW. – Caroline Cropp ’99, ’06M

- David B. Allen Natatorium Making a Splash UNCW’s Seahawk Natatorium, home of the university’s highly successful swimming and diving teams, will be renamed the David B. Allen Natatorium to commemorate the remarkable 37-year commitment of Dave Allen as head coach of the program from 1977-2014. A formal dedication ceremony will be announced at a later date. Allen’s name became synonymous with the UNCW swimming and diving program following a successful career full of impressive accomplishments. – Joe Browning



Excellence by Degrees UNCW continues to grow with the times, as evidenced by new degree offerings, three of which launch in fall 2022. UNCW is officially the first institution in the UNC System to offer undergraduate degrees in cybersecurity and intelligent systems engineering. Both programs are designed to meet current and future labor demands in a growing, critical industry. Just as the physical security and infrastructure of organizations, cities and the nation must be maintained and strengthened, cybersecurity must be taken seriously. These degrees will arm students with specialized skills to connect and protect cyber and physical systems. Creating, supporting and equipping innovative academic programs is a priority of UNCW’s ongoing comprehensive campaign, Like No Other: The Campaign for UNCW. The bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity is housed in the Department of Computer Science within the College of Arts and Sciences and the Congdon School of Supply Chain, Business Analytics and Information Systems within the Cameron School of Business. The intelligent systems engineering program is offered by the Department of Computer Science. Taking full advantage of UNCW’s envious coastal location and extensive research infrastructure, the new Applied Coastal

and Ocean Sciences Ph.D. program will offer interdisciplinary courses and research experiences in coastal and ocean sciences, entrepreneurship and technology development. “This degree will increase the number of highly trained doctoral students working to solve critical coastal problems and engage undergraduate students in various ways, thus helping meet our commitment to undergraduate education,” said Dr. James J. Winebrake, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. Students will have access to the high-tech Mariculture Facility on Wrightsville Beach, MARBIONC and the Shellfish Research Hatchery at the 170,000-square-foot Center for Marine Science. The North Carolina Board of Governors approved the Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at its April meeting. Scheduled to launch in fall 2023 (pending final approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges), the new doctoral program will build on the existing successful master’s program in chemistry, particularly the pharmaceutical chemistry concentration. UNCW’s doctoral program tally is now at six. The others are Integrative, Comparative and Marine Biology (Ph.D.), Educational Leadership (Ed.D.), Psychology (Ph.D.) and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).

– C.C.



SHOW AND TEAL “The film is my way of turning grief into art. It captures the beauty of North Carolina and tells a story about the ingredients that make life worth living which my dad instilled in me… family, community, music, food and nature.”

Photo credit: Left Side Up Films LLC

When Grief Becomes Art By Susan Finley

Combining elements of narrative, documentary and visual poetry to explore questions of how to fully live, Betsy Bertram, a student in Watson College’s Elementary Education extension program, recently created a featurelength documentary with filmmaker Matthew Chenet. The film, “Captain Scott B and the Great Adventure,” is about Betsy's journey through grief after losing her father in 2017. It premiered at the Carrboro Film Festival in November. Bertram wrote and co-produced the film, which examines how to cultivate a deep connection with the natural world, and, above all, how to enjoy the brief and wondrous time we spend on this planet. “When we started this project four years ago, we had no idea what we were headed towards as a world. I feel that in the time of COVID, there has never been a more important time to talk about grief and loss, and how we move through it and reconnect with joy,” Bertram said. “The film is my way of turning grief into art. It



captures the beauty of North Carolina and tells a story about the ingredients that make life worth living which my dad instilled in me… family, community, music, food and nature. The film is a culmination of my writing, Matt’s vision and my dad’s wild camera footage. It’s an homage to the importance of adventure, a quest for the remembrance of everyday magic and a reflection on the meaning of a life well-lived.” Bertram’s experiences in developing the film led her to enroll in WCE’s elementary education program in 2021. “With my teaching degree, I hope to bring an outdoor, nature-based learning program into the public education system to offer all children the opportunity to connect with the natural world.” Captain Scott B and the Great Adventure’s universal message around grief, loss and resilience brings people together in a collective, healing experience that reminds us to seek the wonder in the present moment. To learn more, visit captainscottb.com.

SEAHAWKS GIVE SUCCESS Dr. Charles J. Hardy, CHHS Founding Dean, Transitions from Administration to Faculty Founding Dean Charles J. Hardy has decided to step away from the role of dean of the College of Health and Human Services and transition to the faculty. Following a robust and distinguished 39-year career in higher education across three institutions, Dr. Hardy is looking forward to shifting his focus from the executive leadership of the college and is enthusiastic about returning to his roots in the classroom. “Being part of building a community around health and human services has just been a joy,” Dr. Hardy said. “It really doesn’t seem like work. It seems like a purpose, a passion, a calling. We are always focused on our vision of enhancing the health and quality of life of individuals, families and communities in this region. To have grown up in southeastern North Carolina and be able to come back, lead and make a difference…it’s been incredibly humbling to be a part of the journey.”

A tradition nine years strong, Seahawks Give proved to be another success for the UNCW community. In just 24 hours, from noon April 5 – noon April 6, 1,842 donors – alumni, students, parents, friends and employees – showed their support during the annual tradition. In support of Seahawks across campus, including student organizations, sports clubs, student-athletes, academic areas and unrestricted funds, $294,424 was raised. The dollar amount was the second highest in event history and more than $600,000 has been raised during the last two years alone. Each gift counted towards Like No Other: The Campaign for UNCW and helps develop future leaders who will put their UNCW education to work here in southeastern North Carolina and beyond. Thank you to our dedicated alumni, students, parents, employees and friends. Without you, these results would not be possible. – Sarah Fetters

Dr. Justine Reel, associate dean and professor in the College of Health and Human Services, will serve as the interim dean for CHHS for the 2022-23 academic year, beginning July 1, 2022. – Megan Kauzlaric




Athletics Roundup • Seahawks soared to win the school’s first postseason title in men's basketball at the CBI Championship. • The men’s tennis team captured UNCW’s eighth CAA conference title in the last 13 years. • Four Seahawks earned major Colonial Athletic Association honors in swimming and diving. Freshman Nic Newis and Courtney Klausen, a junior, were honored as the league's divers of the year, while freshmen Sam O'Brien and Katie Knorr were recognized as the Rookie Swimmers of the Year for the men and women, respectively. • Head Swimming and Diving Coach Bobby Guntoro was honored as the Coach of the Year at the CAA meet after leading the Seahawk men to their 14th conference title; their first since 2012. Diving Coach Beau Bunn was recognized as the league’s Diving Coach of the Year on both the men's and women’s sides. • The beach volleyball team set a school record with 25 victories and advanced to the semifinals of the ASUN Tournament.

Read more Athletics news at uncwsports.com



Seahawks Retire Cacok’s Jersey on Special Night Devontae Cacok, UNCW’s record-setting basketball star who has taken up residence with the San Antonio Spurs of the National Basketball Association, was back on campus on Feb. 19 for a special reason: to have his No. 15 raised to the rafters. Cacok took his place among the school’s hoops immortals following a four-year career from 2015-19 and departing as the school’s all-time leading rebounder and fourth leading scorer. Cacok became the fifth Seahawk to have his jersey retired, joining John Goldsberry, Brett Blizzard, Bill Mayew and Brian Rowsom as Seahawk luminaries. “Devontae is so deserving of this honor, and we couldn’t be more proud of him,” said UNCW Head Coach Takayo Siddle. “He’s always had a relentless work ethic and strives to get better every time he walks on the court.” “I’m thankful for all of the people who helped me get to this point,” Cacok said. “I was blessed to have a support system of coaches, family, friends, and all of you right here. This couldn’t happen without you.” – J.B.

“If you aren’t having fun and engaging with interesting experiences that uplift you, you won’t get much out of life.”

– Abbey Starling Nobles ’14

Southeast Region Teacher of the Year

Alumna Teacher Takes Top Honor Abbey Starling Nobles ’14 wishes she had a recording of when she was named Southeast Region Teacher of the Year. “I was so shocked I think my jaw dropped for 15 minutes while people were talking about me! I was so honored,” Nobles said. An English teacher at New Hanover High School, she sees the award as “a team win…a win for NHHS, a win for our students and win for our staff.” Nobles holds degrees in English with a concentration in secondary education and international studies with a Spanish minor. After applying to several schools her senior year of high school, she said, “UNCW chose me. I received the Teaching Fellows scholarship specifically to the university. Being from Wilmington, I thought I needed to leave my hometown to get a plethora of new experiences, but I was wrong.”

Once she arrived on campus, she didn’t look back. Her hometown took on new life as she dove into her studies. She also traveled abroad, worked two jobs on campus and joined Physical Grafeeti, the hip hop dance team, leading her mom to ask if she was ever going to come home! Nobles advises future Seahawks to “look at their college experience as a shopping spree and fill your cart with every experience you possibly can, meet people, talk to people you don’t know, get to know your local community, enjoy new and challenging experiences, trust yourself and your intuition and do things because they seem FUN!” She recalls now-retired English faculty member Dan Noland telling her, “If you don’t have fun writing it, no one will have fun reading it.” Nobles says the same goes for life. “If you aren’t having fun and engaging with interesting experiences that uplift you, you won’t get much out of life.” – C.C.




Transformational Change Plans are moving forward for the renovation and expansion of Randall Library. With $56 million allocated by the North Carolina General Assembly, the 118,000-square-foot, three-story renovation and expansion project includes 80,000 square feet of new building construction, renovations of the existing building, and the addition of a connecting bridge, like the one that joins Fisher University Union and Fisher Student Center. The groundbreaking ceremony was held May 19. “This expansion allows us to grow in new directions to meet the demands of today’s students and faculty,” said Dr. Lucy Holman, associate provost for teaching, learning and library services and dean of the Randall Library. “With increased technology and a variety of adaptable learning and event spaces, the new library will continue to be the intellectual heart of the campus and serve as a model of learning on display.”



Plans also include consolidating all special collections and university archives into one new space: The Center for Southeast North Carolina Archives and History. “We are working with community partners to become a hub of local history for our seven-county region,” said Dr. Holman. The center will have a centralized reading room for researchers to study a wide variety of historical documents related to local politics, economics, the environment, civil rights, the local events of 1898, legislative records, local news coverage and more. The library will also have expanded tech spaces including digital maker spaces, virtual and augmented reality labs and a data visualization lab. – Krissy Vick

“I am grateful for the opportunity to build a future grounded in honesty, framed by hope and secured with faith.”

Roseboro Named Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Donyell Roseboro has been named chief diversity officer at UNCW. She has served as the interim chief diversity officer since July 2020. Under Dr. Roseboro’s leadership, the university has launched several initiatives, including a new Bridge Program (transitional support to college students from underrepresented populations), NextGen Post-Doctoral Fellowships (for doctoral candidates who hope to join UNCW faculty), and the Diversity and Inclusion Fellows Program. She oversaw major renovations of Centro Hispano and the Upperman African American Cultural Center. Dr. Roseboro also worked with the Chancellor’s Renewal and Change Accountability Committee that reviews the university’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. “Serving as the interim CDO has reinforced my love for this university and its people,” said Dr. Roseboro. “It has restored my belief in our collective power for good. The commitment I have witnessed from students, staff and faculty inspires me to strengthen this work with intent and purpose. This is an architectural process. I am grateful for the opportunity to build a future grounded in honesty, framed by hope and secured with faith.” – V.J.



The Altogether Factual, Wholly Bona Fide Story of a Big Dreams, Hard Luck American-Made Mad Kid.

Up Close with Jason Mott By Venita Jenkins

Jason Mott ’06, ’08M describes his latest novel, Hell of a Book, as the Rocky Balboa of all his books. Every time he thought the novel was “down for the count, it would come back swinging.” When Mott first pitched the project, he said no one would support a story about a Black author on a cross-country book tour. He continued to work on the book, drawing from recent headlines and his personal experiences to create a story that addresses race and racism. The novel he thought would never be published became, of all things, the 2021 National Book Award winner.



What inspired the idea for Hell of a Book? It started back in 2013 when I was on the book tour for The Returned. When I finished the tour, I told my agent that I wanted to write a story about an author on a book tour. She wasn’t a big fan of the idea. I wrote about half of a manuscript then put it away. Every few years, I would bring it up, and it was shot down by my agent and editor. Around the time of the death of Freddie Gray and the Baltimore riots (2015), I had a friend living in Baltimore, and we talked about Freddie Gray and being Black in America. I had a lot of thoughts I needed to put down, and my friend said I should write something about it. I started writing my thoughts on being Black, little anecdotes from my childhood, certain points of my life, things that have happened. Eventually, I had about half a book of my thoughts. I combined the two manuscripts and sent it to my agent. She loved it.

Hell of a Book Accolades • Longlisted for the 2022 Carnegie Medal for Fiction How did you come up with the title for your book?

• 2021 National Book Award for Fiction

Funny little trivia fact, I have never titled a single novel I wrote. Every novel has been titled by either my agent or my editor because I’m really bad at titles.

• 2021 Joyce Carol Oates Prize

• 2021 Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction • 2021 Aspen Words Literary Prize

What do you want readers to take away from reading Hell of a Book? The book delves into so many different things. At its core, it’s about the admission and acknowledgment that the experiences of minorities and people of color in America are inherently different than they are for white Americans. That is something that needs to be discussed and worked toward to solve.

Which of the characters do you relate to the most and why? As a writer, every character has some part of you within them, but this novel is very much semi-autobiographical. There are lots of my personal experiences in this book. I feel more vulnerable and more exposed.

Do you feel like you took a risk writing this book?

What do the words “literary success” mean to you?

This is the riskiest book I’ve ever written. I left my publisher to write this book, which was terrifying. We had creative differences and different goals for my fourth novel. I knew I wanted to write something very different from what I had been writing, and I knew my publisher wanted me to keep writing the kind of things I had been writing. We were at an impasse.

Literary success is simply saying anything you want to say the way you want to say it. It’s never about sales, and it’s never about awards or any of those things. The National Book Award was never a goal of mine. My goal is to learn something from every project, do something better the next time around and continue growing as a writer. I’m not going to pretend it’s not awesome to get that recognition and that kind of validation. That should never be your goal because it becomes a trap. You’re trying to write towards what you think people want you to say instead of what you want to say.

It was kind of the book nobody wanted, and I was banking my life on it. Even after the book came out, it did okay, but it didn’t do as phenomenally as everyone had hoped. This is the kind of book I’ve wanted to write for a long time. So that alone was worth the risk.

Of your books, which is your favorite? The Returned is always going to be special. It took me from answering phones at Verizon Wireless to being a full-time author. This novel is my favorite for all of the other reasons, not just the accolades, but the fact that it allowed me to write in a voice that I’ve wanted to write in for so long. When I was in grad school at UNCW, I did a thesis about superheroes and the death of my father. That will always hold a very special place for me because it was a personal project. What advice would you give aspiring writers? Be kind to yourself. Writers are always very critical of themselves. They limit their growth because they set impossible expectations. The thing about writing that I’ve learned is writing is a long process. As young writers, we often don’t give ourselves the time to learn and grow. I could not have written this 10 years ago. I could not have written this 20 years ago. It took me until now to have the skill set, the experience and knowledge to get to the point where I could write this book.



CACAO for Conservation By Venita Jenkins

Chocolate is known for its many health benefits. A group of UNCW researchers is exploring another benefit of this decadent treat: rainforest restoration.

Gabriella de Souza ’18, ’22M; Environmental Sciences faculty members Dr. Sheri Shiflett and Dr. James Rotenberg (retired); and Dr. Zachary Long, associate professor in Biology and Marine Biology are working with the Belize Foundation for Research and Environmental Education to study the environmental, social and economic benefits of cacao as a tool for conserving and restoring tropical ecosystems.

The group was awarded the Charles L. Cahill Grant in 2020 for a project titled “Birds and Chocolate Forests: Restoring Tropical Rainforests One Delicious Bite at a Time.” The team’s research examines optimal shade and light needed for growing cultivated wild cacao. De Souza and Dr. Shiflett traveled to Belize in May 2021 to study a rare variety of chocolate trees, Criollo cacao. This native variety has been cultivated by the Mayan community in Belize for centuries, said de Souza. They visited BFREE, a preserve and agricultural forest for Criollo cacao. “Dr. Shiflett and I measured physiological and environmental parameters to determine which factors might be influential to cacao plant health,” said de Souza, who received a bachelor’s degree in biology and environmental sciences from UNCW.



One of the environmental parameters measured was light availability. To do this, de Souza used fisheye lens photography to capture the forest canopy directly above each cacao tree. With Adobe Photoshop, she was able to transform the images to quantify the amount of light passing through the canopy. Black pixels represented vegetation, while white pixels represented the light potentially reaching the cacao plant underneath the canopy. “From there, you can quantify the amount of light that might be reaching that plant,” she said. “The data from this project are important because they can help us conserve a rare and culturally valuable species by identifying the ideal growing conditions for cacao.”

“With climate change, rapidly developing areas and people constantly wanting to clear land for development, it’s essential that rare species like this should be conserved and preserved, not only for cultural importance, but for genetics and science in general.”

Dr. Shiflett noted the research will not only make an ancient variety of cacao more widely available and accessible, but it will also contribute to forest restoration in areas that have been disturbed by a Category 4 hurricane. The idea is to plant hardwood trees which facilitate ample light penetration and provide soil nutrients while growing the cacao in the shaded understory layer. Researchers are also interested in studying which bird species benefit from sustainable cacao agroforestry. Farmers who are curious about sustainable agroforestry would learn new techniques for optimizing their processes, Dr. Shiflett added. “Recent research studies have focused on the climate adaptation benefits of low-to-intermediate shade cacao agroforestry in Africa, but far fewer studies have been conducted in Central America,” she said. “Our work will allow for comparisons of benefits among tropical agroforestry systems.” De Souza felt honored to participate in the research. In fact, the study became her master’s thesis. “With climate change, rapidly developing areas and people constantly wanting to clear land for development, it’s essential that rare species like this should be conserved and preserved, not only for cultural importance, but for genetics and science in general.”

De Souza used fisheye lens photography to capture the forest canopy directly above each cacao tree. With Adobe Photoshop, she was able to transform the images to quantify the amount of light passing through the canopy.





Aquatic By Venita Jenkins

Joe Oliver is living the Earthshot Prize’s mission – applying human ingenuity to catalyze change



Joe Oliver ’06 knew his career choice would be a toss-up between commercial fishing or marine biology. Growing up in a family of fishermen, he developed a love for learning about marine organisms and ecosystems. His experiences as a MarineQuest camper and later as an undergraduate student at UNCW helped him chart his course. It led him to the Grand Bahamas, where he is helping to restore corals and boost their resiliency against ocean warming. Oliver is the director of restoration operations at Coral Vita, which restores reefs by growing and transplanting resilient corals. He oversees the planning and executing dive operations, coral collection, scouting and assessing plant sites, maintaining ocean coral nurseries, and coordinating with the aquaculture and research science directors to ensure a seamless transition from reef to farm and back to the reef.

Members of the Coral Vita team from left to right, bottom row: Gator Halpern (founder), Veronica Cuccurullo, Sam Teicher (founder), Alannah Velacott and Joe Oliver. Left to right, top row: Amir Matouk, Oshiko Reilly, Tyriq Forbes and Dr. Katey Lesneski.

“We’re able to start making large-scale, positive impacts in the world, to help people realize how important marine science and natural resources are and how critical they are to us enjoying our happy, healthy life.” – Joe Oliver ’06

“All my education experiences at UNCW either in the classroom, volunteering or working for different labs helped me build the toolkit that’s necessary for this job,” said Oliver, who earned his bachelor’s degree in marine science. “That’s why I try to encourage my employees, interns and youth to continue their education as much as possible.” In October 2021, Coral Vita received the prestigious Earthshot Prize, the global environment prize launched by Prince William and the Royal Foundation. The award is designed to incentivize change and help repair our planet over the next 10 years. The recognition has helped Coral Vita connect with other organizations and opened doors to ambitious opportunities, such as using robotics to restore coral.

Coral Vita is planning to expand its facilities and outreach programs. Getting to this point has been challenging because of the extensive damage of its coral farm after Hurricane Dorian in 2019, pushing back operations for a year, he said. Oliver never imaged his dreams of working in the marine biology field would lead to a job that would have a worldwide impact. “I’ve always been a determined kid, but this has exceeded where I thought I could be,” said Oliver. “We’re able to start making large-scale, positive impacts in the world, help people realize how important marine science and natural resources are and how critical they are to us enjoying our happy, healthy life.”

“What we do is critical because the scale and the scope of fixes needed for coral restoration are huge,” said Oliver. “We’ve been trying to bail out a sinking ship with an eyedropper.”

Learn more at coralvita.co 17


“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we know now and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

– Albert Einstein

Imagination and success have fueled Chancellor Sartarelli’s tenure By Krissy Vick

University of North Carolina Wilmington Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli has never lacked imagination. In fact, Albert Einstein’s words have been a guiding principle for him throughout his career in higher education and global business.

Dr. Sartarelli will officially retire this summer, effective June 30, 2022, after leading the state’s coastal university for nearly seven years and accomplishing even more than he could have imagined. “Imagination, passion, interpersonal skills, empathy and hard work are all necessary for success,” said Dr. Sartarelli. “At UNCW, we have been able to do things no one believed possible.” He is especially proud of UNCW becoming a doctoral university and growing the engineering program, two ideas that he dreamed would come to fruition. “Chancellor Sartarelli has taken UNC Wilmington to new heights, leading with ambition all while handling serious challenges posed by hurricanes and the pandemic,” said UNC System President Peter Hans. “UNCW has increased its student population by nearly 40 percent in the past decade under the chancellor’s direction, providing quality educational opportunities to more North Carolinians and expanding campus facilities to meet that growth. I’m so grateful for his steady and visionary leadership, and I know all Seahawks join me in thanking him for his service to UNCW and the state.” UNCW cultivated $767 million in funding through various channels under Chancellor Sartarelli’s leadership. The university also set records for annual enrollment and graduation; publicly launched Like No Other: The Campaign for UNCW, which exceeded its original alumni giving goal and is expected to surpass its $100 million goal; increased community, military and international partnerships; enhanced on-campus and online educational offerings; and achieved a new research designation. For the past three years, UNCW has been one of only three UNC System institutions ranked among the “Top 100 Public National Universities,” according to U.S. News & World Report.



The university community has also worked together to overcome significant challenges in the aftermath of Hurricanes Florence and Dorian; to navigate the campus impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic; and to focus more fully on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. Meanwhile, UNCW allocated approximately $615 million in construction projects, adding 23 new buildings – including one of Chancellor Sartarelli’s favorite places on campus, the Veterans Hall complex – and numerous renovation and modernization projects. “The success that our students, faculty, staff and alumni have achieved in recent years has been nothing short of outstanding,” Chancellor Sartarelli said. “I am immensely proud to have served UNCW during such a pivotal time in history, and I thank the Seahawk community for making this great university so special.” UNCW Board of Trustees Chair Gidget Kidd ’91 has worked with Dr. Sartarelli from the outset of his tenure at UNCW. “Chancellor Sartarelli thrives on turning challenges into opportunities,” she said. “The chancellor has inspired the UNCW community to pursue excellence at every level, and the Board of Trustees is very grateful for his service.”



The Sartarellis plan to retire in Naples, Florida, pursuing their hobbies of reading, learning Italian and going to the movies. They also plan to travel to Sicily and take a Viking cruise in Europe. “I have always felt that education changes lives, and that was an incentive for me to pursue higher education,” said Dr. Sartarelli. His own success is rooted in life-changing opportunities provided through education, scholarship and important relationships. The youngest of six siblings, Dr. Sartarelli grew up on a family farm in a rural town in Brazil, population 10,000. He attended a farm school, which closed halfway through his second-grade year. When he was 10 years old, his family earned enough from a prolific tomato crop to move to São Paulo, population 10 million, where he resumed his education. Tomatoes will always be his favorite food, he says, because of the opportunities they created for his family. Sartarelli learned about the American Field Service program, a study abroad program for high school students that still exists today. Having an impeccable academic record, he applied and was accepted. In 1967, Dr. Sartarelli, equipped with a tremendous amount of courage but barely any English, traveled a full day by car and train to arrive in Rio, where he boarded a flight to the United States.

Dr. Sartarelli spent the next decade expanding his education. After studying abroad in Dimmitt, Texas, and traveling the U.S. by bus with fellow students, he returned to Brazil for college, where he considered majoring in engineering but chose business instead. He worked parttime as an English tutor in the evenings so he could be a full-time student at the São Paulo School of Business Administration (Fundação Getulio Vargas). Fortuitously, one of the students he tutored for several years recognizedhis potential and helped with his housing and tuition expenses.

“I am immensely proud to have served UNCW during such a pivotal time in history, and I

After graduating at the top of his class with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing in 1973, Dr. Sartarelli returned to the states as a Fulbright Scholar and attended Michigan State, earning a Master of Business in Marketing and a doctoral degree in business administration. He also met his wife, Kathy, who earned her master's degree in biophysics.

thank the Seahawk

As he contemplated his career path, Dr. Sartarelli recalls sending 143 resumes to both businesses and universities. Weighing his interests in academia and business, he decided to postpone pursuing his path in higher education. Dr. Sartarelli spent the next 30 years in global marketing and management senior leadership, working for three pharmaceutical giants: Eli Lilly and Co., Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Johnson & Johnson.

so special.”

community for making this great university



Accomplishments Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli’s

• UNCW’s growth of enrollment resulted in the largest amount

• Oversaw expansion of the university’s physical campus.

• Focused on retention and graduation culminated with the largest-

• Collaborated with students, faculty, staff and alumni to focus

of support for enrollment growth in the UNC System – $74 million over a six-year period.

ever class of graduates in 2020-21: 5,117 students. Since 2015-16, the number of graduates totals about 27,000 students, about a third of all living alumni of the university.

• Received approval for 20 new programs including undergraduate

degrees in coastal engineering (the first of its kind in the nation), respiratory therapy, cybersecurity and intelligent systems engineering.

• Provided strategic leadership during the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, which caused $134 million in damage to UNCW.

• Helped guide the campus through the worst global pandemic

in a century, state-mandated closures in spring/summer 2020.

• Significantly strengthened the university’s relationships with international institutions, moving from 52 partnerships six years ago to 119 in 2021.

Over the past few years, UNCW has undertaken approximately $615 million in campus construction. more fully on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. UNCW has committed to invest nearly $1.5 million annually for five years to increase representation of underrepresented populations at the university.

• Publicly launched Like No Other: The Campaign for UNCW in February 2021. Thanks to the generosity of thousands of alumni, students, employees and donors, the university is expected to surpass its goal to raise at least $100 million in philanthropic support for students, facilities, faculty, programs and other university priorities.

• Secured the largest private philanthropic gifts in UNCW history

– a $10 million gift from David Congdon ’78, and his wife, Helen, and a $5 million corporate gift from Quality Chemical Laboratories, and its founder Dr. Yousry Sayed and his wife Linda, ’78, ’85M.

At the urging of a close mentor and friend, in 2010, Dr. Sartarelli revisited his interests in higher ed and returned to academia to become the Milan Puskar Dean of the College of Business and Economics at West Virginia University. Under his leadership, the business college improved its academic profile, set enrollment and fundraising records, partnered with other campus units to create six joint degree programs, established three new centers and launched both a Ph.D. in business administration and a fully online executive MBA. Dr. Sartarelli leveraged his international experience as the chief global officer for WVU, focusing on international recruiting efforts and achieving doubledigit growth in international undergraduate applications. With his guidance, WVU forged new partnerships and signed numerous student exchange agreements. Within five years, Dr. Sartarelli’s ambition to lead a university led him from the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia to the crystal coast of North Carolina. Drawing from his previous experiences, his “fire in the belly” passion and his ever-present imagination, Dr. Sartarelli became the sixth chancellor and ninth leader of UNCW on July 1, 2015. As he reflects on retirement, Dr. Sartarelli feels grateful and satisfied that UNCW is well-positioned for his successor.

“From the very beginning, I wanted to make this university bigger and better We made it bigger, made it better,” said Dr. Sartarelli. “Thanks to my predecessors, UNCW already was a strong university when I arrived. I have had the privilege of working alongside dedicated Boards of Trustees, my leadership team, faculty, staff, students and countless alumni, donors and community partners to open new doors of opportunity for the university, the region and North Carolina. I have no doubt that the university’s trajectory of success will continue to soar far into the future.”

2015-22 23


Time Will Tell “Living history” amplifies voices once silenced By Venita Jenkins



UNCW students are used to exploring history, but it’s rare for them to be a part of history. Honors and geophysics students assisted the Third Person Project, a social justice nonprofit research group, with digitalizing historical records and locating the unmarked grave of 1898 Wilmington Massacre victim Joshua Halsey. The applied learning opportunities are an outgrowth of the nonprofit’s Daily Record Project, an initiative dedicated to finding, digitizing and studying the few extant copies of The Wilmington Daily Record, the Black newspaper destroyed during the 1898 massacre. Digitizing Pine Forest Cemetery’s 900-page registry was initiated in an Honors seminar. Once completed, the public will be able to easily locate graves in one of the state’s oldest African American cemeteries, including those of notable Black trailblazers and victims of the 1898 Wilmington Massacre. The Honors students’ work has a “sense of living history,” said Joel Finsel ’14, cofounder of the Third Person Project. “We tried to instill in the students the sense that they were a part of something that was going to be lasting; that scholars were going to come and study these names.” Honors student Pecolia Thomas ’24, a marine biology major, learned about the project through the “Lost African American History in Wilmington” course. “This experience has taught me that your voice can be heard, even when it’s many years later,” said Thomas. “I am sure that many African Americans didn’t believe that their story would be told, but here we are, playing a part in telling their stories, their trials, contributions and history they made in Wilmington.”

Five different systems were used to map the more than 150-year-old cemetery, and a vast section of the property had been mislabeled, said John Jeremiah Sullivan, cofounder of the Third Person Project. Sullivan and Finsel used the records as well as a tip from the cemetery’s groundskeeper, James Lofton, to triangulate the location of Joshua Halsey’s grave. With the help of Dr. Scott Nooner, professor in the Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences, and his geophysics students, the Third Person Project was able to confirm the grave’s location using a groundpenetrating radar. “We tried to map it out in a very careful grid and look for things that are the right depth and the right shape for a gravesite. We identified a very likely location for this gravesite,” said Dr. Nooner. “The project was more than just learning how to use this instrument. It was a connection to the City of Wilmington, to its history and to bring to light things that have been shoved under the rug and not taught correctly. Students felt it was an important thing to be doing.” Geology major Olivia Daynes ’21 said the project provided an opportunity to see how geophysics could be applied to the modern world outside of the scope of geology. “I’m not a Wilmington or North Carolina native, so I appreciated learning more about the place I’ve lived for four years,” Daynes said. “It’s heartbreaking to learn the stories of Wilmington’s past, and I’ll always remember the opportunity I had to make a positive impact.” Dr. Shawn Bingham, director of the Honors College and associate dean of undergraduate studies, particularly appreciates the integrative nature of the work. “This project doesn’t just move students from the tunnel vision of one discipline to more interdisciplinary problem solving, it helps them understand that their learning can take the form of public action with a long-lasting legacy,” he said. Sullivan sees opportunities for further research and to document the stories of individuals buried in Pine Forest Cemetery. “There’s a lot of research to be done, and it can be done in collaboration between the community and the academic world at UNCW,” Sullivan said. “The challenge is to not just memorialize things, but to understand them better.” Learn more at thirdpersonproject.org



Seahawks Take Flight in the Land of Fire and Ice By Caroline Cropp ’99, ’06M

Katie Johnson overlooking the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon, formed at the tongue of Europe's largest glacier, Vatnajökull. Photo credit: Marley Smith



This past December, senior lecturer Amy Long braved the elements to take student researchers to Iceland.

Photo credit: Amy Long

This was her third time traveling to “the land of fire and ice” for her course “Iceland: Sustainable and Renewable Energies, Industry and Tourism.” Her students saw first-hand the progress made in sustainable and renewable energies and industry, while touring the country and meeting with leaders in sustainable adventure travel.

Ljosafoss is the oldest hydroelectric power plant on the River Sog. It began The 2021 cohort met with researchers studying the carbon power production in 1937, bringing electricity to the city of Reykjavik and sequestration potential of Iceland’s started the nation’s transition from soils – data being used to inform coal to renewable energy.

Iceland’s climate change policy and future land-use development and visited Landgræðsla ríkisins (the national Soil Conservation Service) to learn more about the history, culture and ecological impact of the nation’s sheep farming. The group explored Iceland’s gorgeous southern coast with stops at Þingvellir (Thingvellir) and Vatnajökull national parks. They hiked to natural hot springs and on Sólheimajökull glacier (a glacier on top of a volcano), explored waterfalls and canyons, ice caving near the giant volcano Katla.

While talking with restoration ecologist Rannvieg Ólafsdóttir, the class realized UNCW’s Department of Environmental Sciences has the equipment to measure carbon sequestration potential in soils. Using the protocol she shared, they will measure the climate mitigation potential of campus’ natural areas and report their findings to help inform the UNCW Climate Resiliency Plan..



Amy Long joined the Department of Environmental Sciences full time in 2013, after teaching part time in biology and marine biology since 2010. She partners with The GREEN Program, a sustainabilityfocused experiential learning program that offers weeklong courses to Iceland, Peru, Japan and Belize Piggybacking her course with TGP gives students access to industry and research leaders in green energy resources, cutting-edge carbon sequestration facilities, and state-of-the-art geothermal power and hydropower plants.

UNCW students (from left to right) Marley Smith, Katie Johnson, Jess Elliott, Sarah Brazil, Dillon Roberts and Melissa Hastings caving at Vatnajökull glacier.

UNCW students (from left to right) Shelby Diehl, Katie Johnson, Marley Smith and Jess Elliott. The black sands are created by the weathering and erosion of lava fields.

Photo credit: Amy Long

Photo credit: Amy Long



“I always think, ‘This will be my last,’ after we land in the states and the exhaustion of two weeks of exploring southern Iceland is fully realized,” said Long. “But, months since my last return and reflecting on all that we did, I can have my bags packed in 10 minutes to go again!”

Amy Long hiking Sólheimajökull outlet glacier on the Katla volcano. Photo credit: Mummi Markússon

Canyoning in Þórsmörk, the Valley of Thor. Photo credit: Marley Smith




1970s Sam Barbee ’76 published a new poetry collection, Uncommon Book of Prayer. His previous poetry collection, That Rain We Needed, was a nominee for the Roanoke-Chowan Award. Linda ’78, ’85M and Yousry Sayed, Wilmington Society and Clocktower Society members, established The Yousry Sayed Diversity Scholarship, The Aswani K. Volety Fellowship in Arts and Sciences, The Yousry and Linda Sayed Graduate Fellowship and The Yousry and Linda Sayed Scholars Endowment.

1980s Linda Baddour ’80, ’96M was appointed to the Cryoport Board of Directors. Cryoport, Inc. is a global leader in temperature-controlled supply chain solutions for the life sciences industry. Cory Gore ’80 received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the North Carolina Professional Appraisal Coalition and was recognized for six years of service as one of nine members of the NC Appraisal Board.



Jerry L. Allsbrook ’82 and his wife, Cathy J. Rudd, E.L. White Society and Wilmington Society members, established The Allsbrook-Rudd Seahawk Opportunity Scholarship to assist the university in meeting its commitment to maintaining a campus environment that values a rich diversity in its student body. Claire H. Primrose ’83, ’14M, UNCW Society and Clocktower Society member, established The Hugh Primrose Memorial Scholarship for Golf to honor her late husband, Hugh Primrose III, a member of the UNCW golf team from 1974-77. Ellen Milligan ’84, ’94M was appointed a Brunswick Community College (NC) trustee. Lory Morrow ’89 retired as superintendent of Lincoln County Schools. Morrow is a 30-year educator who served as a teacher, school administrator and superintendent of two North Carolina school districts. Currently, she is president of L3 Consulting.

1990s Tracy Calfee ’90 bowled for Team USA in the 2021 International Bowling Federation Masters World Championships in Dubai, UAE, and won two bronze medals in the Mixed Team and Women’s Team events. Deborah Jaycox ’90 was promoted to director of human resources for Phase II Staffing and Contracting, LLC. Based in Prince William County, VA, the VA-Verified Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business helps veterans, military families and the service-oriented entering the “second phase” of their professional life or seeking new opportunities. Jon Mason ’90 was recognized in the 40 Under 40 Awards presented by the Wilmington StarNews and the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce. The award recognizes young professionals serving others to make a difference in the Wilmington community. Scott Stephenson ’90 and his wife, Michelle, UNCW Society and Clocktower Society members, established The Stephenson Family Scholarship to assist undergraduate legacy students pursuing a degree at UNCW.

Nancy Wilkins ’90 completed her MSN in nursing education from Liberty University in 2017 and her DNP in education leadership from American Sentinel University in October 2020. Chris Cates ’92 and Watson Caviness ’91, both graduates of the College of Arts and Sciences, established The Caviness and Cates Building and Development Company Scholarship to support students pursuing a degree in the College of Arts and Sciences. Mike Crocker ’94, UNCW Society and Clocktower Society member, was elected secretary of the UNCW Alumni Association Board of Directors. Line Dempsey ’94 is president-elect for the Council on Licensure, Enforcement and Regulation at Riccobene Associates Family Dentistry, a DSO with more than 50 practices in North Carolina and Virginia. Kimberly Sousa ’94, UNCW Society member, was elected to the UNCW Alumni Association Board of Directors. Chip Millard ’95 was named 2021 Mid-Carolina Conference Women’s Tennis Coach of the Year.


Krista Millard ’95 ran the Shakori 40-mile ultramarathon in December. Krista and her husband Chip ’95 will celebrate 20 years of marriage in May 2022. David Williams ’95M is managing director at Duetsche Bank Wealth Management in Charlotte, NC. Shelley Read Curran ’96 and her husband Joel Curran, Clocktower Society members, established The Joel and Shelley Read Curran Scholarship in Communication Studies. McGavock Edwards ’96 was named partner and senior vice president of strategy and client service at Eckel and Vaughan, a strategic communications agency in Raleigh, NC. Kathy Erickson ’96M is CEO of Wilmington Eye. Julie Andrews ’97, Com Studies Alumni chapter past president, was recognized in the 40 Under 40 Awards presented by the Wilmington StarNews and the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce. The award recognizes young professionals serving others to make a difference in the Wilmington community. Frederick Jaeger ’97 is president of Global Laboratory Services Inc. in Wilson, NC. Charles "Hal" Wilson Jr. ’97, Clocktower Society member, was presented with the inaugural Johnson/Bradley Torch Bearer Award for advancing inclusion, equity and access by the Waters College of Health Professions at Georgia Southern University. Christina Fitch ’98 was named Science Division Chair for the Division of Math and Sciences at Fayetteville Technical Community College (NC). Dr. Jimmy Tate, ’99, ’01M, ’19M, E.L. White Society, UNCW Society and Clocktower Society member and current member of the UNCW Board of Trustees, established The Harvey J. Tate Jr. Memorial Scholarship in memory of his brother, Harvey J. Tate Jr. to honor Harvey’s love for UNCW and outstanding leadership.

2000s Stephania Bloodworth ’00 is vice chair of the UNCW Alumni Association Board of Directors. Scott Geller ’00 celebrated the one-year anniversary of his fractional CFO consulting firm, Capitis Advisors, located in Richmond, VA. Jason Tyson ’00 was named director of communications for the North Carolina Alliance of Public Health Agencies. Jeremie Varnam ’01, ’19C, ’20M was promoted to an associate in chemistry and materials with Structural Integrity Associates, a provider of engineering services for the energy and process industries. Garrett Droege ’02 was named director of innovation and strategy for IMA Financial, Inc., an integrated financial services company. Stephannie Perrin ’02M, ’17M was promoted to vice president, clinical operations at Strata Oncology, Inc., a biotechnology company in Washtenaw County, MI. Chris Frederick ’03, Clocktower Society member, is treasurer of the UNCW Alumni Association Board of Directors. Michael Richardson ’03 is principal of Nancy Reynolds Elementary School in Westfield, NC. Doug ’03 and Erin ’10 Starcke, UNCW Society and Clocktower Society members, established The Doug ’03 and Erin ’10 Starcke Scholarship in Communication Studies. Alison Baringer ’04, Clocktower Society member, is chair of the UNCW Alumni Association Board of Directors. Dr. Lolita Bennett Bryant, ’04, ’11M, the 2022 UNCW Alumni Association Distinguished Citizen Award honoree, established The Dr. Lolita B. Bryant, Abram Bishop and Family Endowed Scholarship for Diversity in Nursing to pay tribute to her family’s legacy at UNCW and to assist the university in meeting its commitment to maintaining a campus environment that values a rich diversity in its student body. (See pg. 37 for more information.)

Dr. Marta Aida Sánchez December 4, 1961 – March 15, 2022

Dr. Marta Sánchez, tenured associate professor in the Watson College, passed away March 15, 2022. Dr. Sánchez received her Ph.D. from UNC Chapel Hill, studying Cultural Studies, Literacies, Immigrant Education and Mexican Fathering. She taught social foundations, and researched education reform in México and experiences of Latino/a children, families and teachers in the New Latino South. She was a Visiting Faculty Fellow in the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke. Dr. Sánchez authored multiple chapters, articles and books, including her 2017 book, Fathering Beyond the Failures of the State with Imagination, Work and Love: The Case of the Mexican Father. She was a managing editor of Urban Review and reviewer for journals including Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership and Malaysian Journal of Learning and Instruction. She was active in the American Educational Research Association, American Educational Studies Association, American Association of Anthropology, and Educational Leaders Without Borders. Dr. Sánchez secured nearly $6 million in grants and served as Co-PI for “The Research Institute for Scholars of Equity (RISE): Conducting Mixed Methods Research to Improve Academic Outcomes Among PK-20 African American and Latino/a Children, Youth and Young Adults.” Dr. Sánchez is survived by her husband Sergio, brothers Heriberto and Joe, and sister Pati. Donations in her memory may be made to the Southern Poverty Law Center, National Museum of Mexican Art, National Museum of African American History and Culture, Museum of the American Indian or Asian Pacific American Center.



classnotes Susan Fritzen ’05M was promoted to chief administrative officer at Fayetteville Public Works Commission. Christopher "Topher" McLarty ’06 was recognized as one of Pro Builder’s 2021 Forty Under 40. Jason Mott ’06, ’08M won the National Book Award in the category of fiction for his newest novel Hell of a Book. The book made Entertainment Weekly’s “Must List,” the NY Post’s “Best Summer Reading Books” and USA Today’s “5 Books Not to Miss,” and was chosen by the Today Show’s Jenna Bush Hager as a “Read With Jenna” pick. Read more about Mott’s accomplishments on (page 12). Laura Dodd ’08 was one of 15 executives recognized for American Banker’s “Most Powerful Women in Banking: Next 2021.”

2010s Suzanne Gooding ’10M was recognized in the 40 Under 40 Awards presented by Wilmington StarNews and the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce. The award recognizes young professionals serving others to make a difference in the Wilmington community. Jeff Lesley ’10M, UNCW Society member, established the Jeff Lesley RE Inc. Scholarship in Business. Leland Pinder ’10 joined CBS 6 News in Richmond, VA. Ryan Tillman ’10, ’12M and his wife, Jennifer Nguyen Tillman ’11, ’13M, welcomed daughter Madelyn Grace in August 2021.

Scott Burgess ’11 launched The Branding Teacher to help entrepreneurs and small business owners launch and market their brands. Stephanie MacConnell ’11 joined Clover Health as senior product portfolio manager. Based in Nashville, the health insurer has offices in San Francisco, Jersey City and Hong Kong. Katherine Rhodes ’11 was promoted to evening and weekend coordinator at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Norlin Library. Elizabeth Wood ’11 was recognized by the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce as the 2020 Nashville Emerging Leader Award Winner in the Medical and Health Care Services category based on professional achievement, demonstrated leadership and community impact.

Justin Booth ’12, UNCW Society and Clocktower Society member, established the Booth Business Scholarship in recognition of the role UNCW played in his career development in commercial real estate. Kevin Brinkley ’12, ’18M was hired by Wells Fargo in the contract lifecycle management sector as a business support consultant. Chris Montero ’12, ’16M, Clocktower Society member and the 2022 UNCW Alumni Association Distinguished Diversity Award honoree, was recognized in the 40 Under 40 Awards presented by the Wilmington StarNews and the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce. The award recognizes young professionals serving others to make a difference in the Wilmington community. (See pg. 37 for more information.)

The E.L.White Society

was established in 2002 and is named for Elvie Linwood White, who made Wilmington College’s first deferred gift, —a will bequest that established a scholarship in 1947. The alumni, friends, faculty and staff who are part of this community are following Mr. White’s example of supporting UNCW through long-term gift planning and have contributed more than $31,000,000 since 2002.

To find out more, scan the code and start your gift planning today!



Davis Byrd ’14 was hired as a financial planning associate at Pathfinder Wealth Consulting in Wilmington, NC. Jessica Canavan ’14M was recognized in the 40 Under 40 Awards presented by the Wilmington StarNews and the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce. The award recognizes young professionals serving others to make a difference in the Wilmington community. Emily Dodd ’14 graduated from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine and is working as an associate veterinarian at a large private practice in Middletown, DE. Jessica Di Biaggio ’15 is director of business development for the Wilmington-Cape Fear Home Builders Association.

Dina Greenberg ’15M published her debut novel, Nermina’s Chance. Aaron Kohrs ’15 was hired as executive director of Foothills Kids Magazine. Riley Stephenson ’15, UNCW Society and Clocktower member, serves on the UNCW Alumni Association Board of Directors. Alexa Sterling ’15 earned a Ph.D. in biological and environmental sciences from the University of Rhode Island. Barnes Sutton ’15, ’17M was recognized in the 40 Under 40 Awards presented by the Wilmington StarNews and the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce. The award recognizes young professionals serving others to make a difference in the Wilmington community.

Justin Parr ’16 was recognized in the 40 Under 40 Awards presented by the Wilmington StarNews and the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce. The award recognizes young professionals serving others to make a difference in the Wilmington community. Mallory ’16 and Vincent D’Angelo ’14 had their dream wedding in Wilmington, NC. Megan Budway ’17 reached the semifinals in season 13 of “American Ninja Warrior.” Jessica Cohn ’17 was promoted to senior acquisitions director at Mascot Books, a full-service, multi-genre, independent book publisher and distributor. Ashton Inman ’17 returned to UNCW to work as a residence coordinator.

Jorey Stanley ’17, secretary of the UNCW’s African American Graduate Association, was recognized in the 40 Under 40 Awards presented by the Wilmington StarNews and the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce. The award recognizes young professionals serving others to make a difference in the Wilmington community. Zane Bennett ’18M was promoted to director of business development at Life Care Services in Des Moines, IA. Amanda Douglas Helms ’18 was selected for the 2021 Great 100 Nurses of NC. Tammy Brigman ’19M joined FirstHealth Cardiology in Rockingham, NC, as an advanced practice nurse practitioner.


William J. Warwick August 2, 1934 – October 3, 2021

Jacqueline Christie Scott Warwick May 26, 1935 – December 10, 2021

UNCW lost two longtime supporters in 2021: William J. Warwick and his wife Jacqueline Christie Scott Warwick. Bill and Jackie were married for 61 years. A respected businessman, Bill was former president of AT&T China. He retired to Wilmington in 1996 and served as an advisor for the Cameron School of Business. His brother, Bob, served UNCW in several capacities, including chair of the UNCW Board of Trustees. Jackie was a homemaker and active member of First Baptist Church in Wilmington. Surviving are their sons, David C. Carlton, William S. Warwick and John J. Warwick; daughter-in-laws Jean Carlton, Kimberly Warwick and Donna Warwick; and five grandchildren, William M. Warwick, Alexander M. Warwick, Logan C. Warwick, Avery E. Warwick and William J. Warwick II. Memorials may be made to the William J. and Jacqueline S. Warwick Scholarship in their honor. Photo credit: StarNews



classnotes Arely Ramirez Diaz ’19, the 2022 UNCW Alumni Association Distinguished Young Alumna Award honoree, was recognized in the 40 Under 40 Awards presented by the Wilmington StarNews and the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce. The award recognizes young professionals serving others to make a difference in the Wilmington community. (See pg. 37 for more information.) Jennie Jackson ’19M was recognized in the 40 Under 40 Awards presented by the Wilmington StarNews and the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce. The award recognizes young professionals serving others to make a difference in the Wilmington community. Micaiah Jackson ’19 was accepted into East Carolina University’s Physical Therapy School.

Karee Levy ’19 began her career as a mortgage banker. Blake Manning ’19 moved back to Wilmington to begin a career at GET400MORE.com, a car-buying service. Cierra Washington ’19 was recognized in the 40 Under 40 Awards presented by the Wilmington StarNews and the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce. The award recognizes young professionals serving others to make a difference in the Wilmington community.

2020s Jessica Aguilar ’20 was recognized in the 40 Under 40 Awards presented by the Wilmington StarNews and the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce. The award recognizes young professionals serving others to make a difference in the Wilmington community.

Samantha Hermann ’20M, Clocktower Society member, is a biologist for the classification and recovery of endangered species with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Emmanuel Mitcham ’20M was recognized in the 40 Under 40 Awards presented by the Wilmington StarNews and the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce. The award recognizes young professionals serving others to make a difference in the Wilmington community. Nicholas Pianovich ’20 was appointed to the UNCW Alumni Association Board of Directors. Shannon Alford ’21Ed.D. married Vivek Shastry on October 15, 2021 at Blacksburg Country Club (VA).

Marissa Franks ’21M was recognized in the 40 Under 40 Awards presented by the Wilmington StarNews and the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce. The award recognizes young professionals serving others to make a difference in the Wilmington community. Kaylee Herbst ’21 is an adapted special education teacher at New Hope Elementary in Chapel Hill, NC. Daniel Duffy ’22 was recognized in the 40 Under 40 Awards presented by the Wilmington StarNews and the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce. The award recognizes young professionals serving others to make a difference in the Wilmington community.

Dr. Amy Helene Kirschke November 15, 1958 – November 27, 2021

Dr.Amy Kirschke, UNCW Professor Emerita in Art and Art History, passed away on Nov. 27, 2021. During her tenure at UNCW, she served as a faculty member and chair of the UNCW Department of Art and Art History. She was the recipient of numerous awards, including the UNCW Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award, UNCW Global Citizen Award and the prestigious international Paul Mellon and Ailsa Mellon Bruce Senior Visiting Fellowship from the Smithsonian’s National Gallery. Prior to joining UNCW, she was a faculty member at Vanderbilt University and served as the summer abroad art historian for Tulane University’s Summer in Paris program, where she received her master’s degree and Ph.D. She also served as a visiting professor of art history at Loyola University New Orleans, where she



earned a bachelor’s. In 2020, she was named director of the School of Visual Arts in Virginia Tech's College of Architecture and Urban Studies. A prolific scholar and acclaimed art historian, she authored Aaron Douglas: Art, Race and the Harlem Renaissance, Art in Crisis: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Art of African American Identity and Memory, which was awarded the 2007 SECAC Award for Excellence in Scholarly Research and Publication and edited Women Artists of the Harlem Renaissance. Dr. Kirschke is survived by her husband, James Benshoff, and daughters Helene, Evie and Marigny. Donations may be made to the Amy Helene Kirschke Scholarship for Diversity in Art and Art History Endowment in her memory.

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In Memoriam Alumni

Leonard Bertram “Bucky” Stein May 28, 1925 – February 13, 2022

Steadfast university donor Leonard “Bucky” Stein passed away at 96. He and his late wife Ruth established UNCW’s Ruth and Bucky Stein Scholarship Endowment. They were married 68 years and are members of the Wilmington Society, honoring lifetime giving to the university. A New Jersey native, he was an entrepreneur, philanthropist and arts patron. He served the U.S. Coast Guard in Alaska and New Jersey during World War II. During the war, his proximity to New York allowed him to enjoy the theater, which he adored. He founded Tireville in Jacksonville, N.C. He and son Howard established Target Tire and Buffalo Tire, which they sold in 2004. Bucky was named to the Tire Industry Association's Hall of Fame in 2015. The breadth of his passions is reflected in the lives he helped transform. UNCW students pursuing degrees from music and environmental sciences to nursing and computer science have all benefited from his gifts. To date, more than 35 Seahawks have been recipients of Stein scholarships. “The Stein family’s generosity has been felt not only throughout the university, but also the region,” said UNCW Vice Chancellor for University Advancement Eddie Stuart ’05M. “He will be truly missed and remembered by many.” He is survived by children, Elliott and Howard Stein, Deborah Mathies and husband Blair Mathies, several grandchildren, great grandchildren, a sister-in-law, nieces and nephews. In addition to Ruth, he was preceded in death by a sister Estelle “Sis” Elion and grandson Justin Stein.

Chefeek M. Philips Jr. ’60

Michael C. Davis ’93

F. Lee Piver ’60

Michael R. Clifton ’94

Eugene E. Bogash ’63

Thomas W. Landis ’94

William M. Ingram Jr. ’67

Charles T. Dennis ’96M

Joseph L. Peterson ’67

Wanda S. Burke ’97

James C. Budd III ’68

Russell S. Reagan Sr. ’97

David R. Emery ’68

Gregg T. Kochakji '97, ’03M

Paula J. Baker ’69

Mariah E. Lynch '98, '00M, ’03M

Skyler O. Griffin ’70

Larry W. Newberry Jr. ’98

Hubert S. Hufham Jr. ’71

Jeffrey T. Greene ’99

Janeice B. Tindal ’71

Jesse F. Harker Jr. ’99

Gloria F. Eaton ’72

G. Wayne Ray Jr. ’01, ’08M

Amy E. Parmele ’73

Karla T. Joyner ’02, ’17M

William M. Smith ’74

Clarissa K. Halks ’03M

Janice S. Kingoff ’77

Aaron M. Klimek ’03, ’05M

Barbara W. Kopp ’77

Joni R. Corak ’05

Glenn W. Potter ’77

Heather M. Johnson ’07

Kathryn R. McKay ’78

Thomas J. Schraml ’07, ’09M

Gerald W. Excell Jr. ’80

Gerard P. Nealon ’08

Meagan A. Paye ’80

Anthony S. Gregorius ’09

Charles M. Thomas ’80

James Townley “J.T.” Alvey ’10

Lisa E. Bloodworth ’81

William J. Sverapa ’10

Richard L. Jones Sr. ’85

Robert W. Knebel ’11, ’12M

Patricia L. Kendall ’85M

Rachel R. Christian ’12

William W. Cottam ’86

Jeanne M. Miller ’14

Charles S. Rideout II ’86

Mildred S. Elledge ’16

Dana L. Carstensen ’87

Harrison J. Seay ’18

Julie V. Bordo ’88

Peter A. Rieth ’20M

Deborah H. Gillikin ’90

Lee C. Cox ’21

Nancy K. Merritt ’90

Aaron K. Rice ’21M

Friends James C. Braye

Lee Martin Sherman

Rodney S. Earle

Philip C. Smith Jr.

Noel K. Jones

L. Bucky Stein* (pg. 35)

Amy H. Kirschke* (pg. 34)

Jacqueline S. Warwick* (pg.33)

Joel J. Mintzes

William J. Warwick* (pg. 33)

Nancy S. Rosselot

Jerry L. Wilkins Sr.

Marta Sánchez* (pg. 31) *expanded obit



Jean and Eddie Lawler

Arely Ramirez Diaz ’19

Dr. Lolita Bryant ’04, ’11M

Chris Montero ’12, ’16M

2022 Distinguished Alumni Awards Five alumni received the highest honor UNCW bestows upon its graduates and supporters during Homecoming 2022. Arely Ramirez Diaz ’19, Jean and Eddie Lawler, Dr. Lolita Bryant ’04, ’11M, and Chris Montero ’12, ’16M were recognized for their extraordinary achievement, outstanding character and exemplary service to the university and community. The awards were presented on Feb. 11.

ALUMNI OF THE YEAR Jean and Eddie Lawler, Distinguished Alumni of the Year, are longtime supporters of the university and have given generously of their time and financial support. Both have been involved with the Seahawk Club for decades; Jean served as the club president in 1995-96. Eddie, a U.S. Navy veteran and an associate with Intracoastal Realty, is a former UNCW Alumni Association board member. The Lawlers’ contributions to the broader community are extensive. They were instrumental in establishing “Enchanted Airlie,” now a holiday tradition at Airlie Gardens. Jean, the advertising director at Wilmington International Airport, has been a North Carolina Azalea Festival volunteer for more than 50 years. Eddie is an NC Azalea Festival emeritus member. Jean serves as the secretary of the board of Wilmington Downtown Inc. and is a member of the CFCC Wilson Center Advisory Board.

YOUNG ALUMNA OF THE YEAR Arely Ramirez Diaz ’19, Distinguished Young Alumna of the Year, was a mentor through the UNCW’s Centro Hispano Embajadores program, motivating youth to pursue a higher level of education and supported their transition from high school to college. Today, her work focuses on voting, inclusivity and providing resources to the Latinx community. In her role as a paralegal at Helen Tarokic Law PLLC, she assists in the areas of immigration and naturalization and serves as a victim-witness advocate. Diaz graduated from UNCW with a bachelor’s degree in political science.

CITIZEN OF THE YEAR Dr. Lolita Bryant ’04, ’11M, Distinguished Citizen of the Year Award recipient, is a faculty member in the College of Health and Human Services’ School of Nursing and a patient safety coordinator at Novant-NHRMC. She recently established the Dr. Lolita B. Bryant, Abram Bishop and Family Endowed Scholarship for Diversity in Nursing to honor her great-great-grandfather, Abram Bishop. His former homestead was once located where UNCW’s Trask Coliseum now stands. Her volunteer service includes past member of the UNCW Alumni Board of Directors, past president of the UNCW African American Graduate Association and past chair of the alumni scholarship and awards committee. Dr. Bryant received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from UNCW. In 2020, she completed her Doctor of Nursing Practice from Gardner-Webb University.

DIVERSITY AWARD During his tenure as Centro Hispano’s MI CASA program coordinator, Chris Montero ’12, ’16M, recipient of the Distinguished Diversity Award, worked to increase the number of Hispanic students attending college. Montero, founder and co-owner of Perfect Touch Rental LLC, is a member of the 2022 class of Leadership Wilmington and serves on numerous boards, including the board of directors of the Latin American Business Council. He holds a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and a master’s degree in higher education from UNCW.



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