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Center for Social Impact Serves Community

Sydney Batchelder First to Earn Psych Ph.D. at UNCW

FALL • 2021

Empowering Underrepresented Seahawks

FutureFocused....8 Raleigh-based sculptor, artist and illustrator Dare Coulter was commissioned to create artwork that celebrates resilience and the core belief that Black lives matter.

Fall 2021 Volume 31 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 Caroline Cropp ’99, ’06M Venita Jenkins Lindsay A. T. LeRoy Jeanne Persuit Tricia Vance Krissy Vick CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Bill Bolduc Ann Freeman Alan Holmes Bradley Pearce CONTRIBUTING DESIGNER Thomas Cone April Lepak CLASS NOTES Caroline Cropp ’99, ’06M Division for University Advancement EDITORIAL ADVISORS Missy A. Kennedy ’01 Eddie Stuart ’05M 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 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 108,400 copies of this public document were printed at a cost of $59,499 or $0.548 per copy (G.S. 143-170.1). Printed by Hickory Printing Solutions, an RRD Company.

DEAR SEAHAWK COMMUNITY, As we begin the fall 2021 semester at UNCW, please join me in recognizing how very far our institution has come since its founding in 1947. From 238 students then to more than 18,000 today, UNCW has evolved into a leading research university recognized at the highest levels for excellence, a global mindset and community engagement. Throughout UNCW’s journey, faculty and staff have maintained the student-centered focus that connects them and generations of students to this wonderful place that is like no other. Please don’t mistake my pride in UNCW as blinding optimism. I am well aware that our university has a lot of work ahead of us if we want to create a campus climate that is more inclusive, diverse and equitable so that every Seahawk will feel they belong and are valued. We are committed to doing the difficult, sometimes uncomfortable work of facing our history to build a hopeful future, challenging the persistent inequities that remain (see “Future-Focused,” page 8). We also must explore how our doctoral university designation can be best harnessed to develop opportunities for the university to support research and scholarship across campus, expand our undergraduate applied learning experiences, and grow our graduate and doctoral programs (see “University Adds New Programs,” page 11). Unfortunately, we must continue managing the public health challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Please visit for our latest updates on that front. As challenging as these concerns and others may be, I know that we are standing on firm footing at UNCW. We have nearly 100,000 terrific alumni who believe in the power of the UNCW experience. We have more than 2,300 outstanding faculty and staff who are committed to supporting students and engaging with our community. It is an honor for us to give back to a community that has been on UNCW’s side since we first opened our doors. In the pages of this edition of UNCW Magazine, I invite you to see our world from a new perspective, as captured by SeaHawk-1 (see “Out of the Blue,” page 26). Join me in celebrating the success of the Class of 2021, including Sydney Batchelder, our very first Ph.D. in psychology graduate (see “Just What the Doctor Ordered,” page 19). Explore the ways in which our graduates use their unique talents and give of their time and treasure to strengthen their alma mater (see “Alumni Like No Other,” page 20) and consider how you can leave your own mark. When I walk across campus, I see a place transformed. We are undertaking approximately $450 million in campus construction, having dedicated our newest Student Housing Village Aug. 16. Our new University Film Center opened this August as well. Coming soon – a new dining hall, a coastal engineering building and, in the future, renovation and expansion of Randall Library. The energy of our campus supports the energy of our Seahawks who contribute to the energy of our community. I predict that years from now these times of challenge will be remembered as times of change and opportunity. We are Seahawks and, by working together, we will continue to rise for years to come. With best regards,

Jose V. Sartarelli Chancellor

UNCW Featured in the Fiske Guide to Colleges UNCW’s academic excellence and opportunities for research and other high-impact learning experiences are among the characteristics highlighted in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2022. The university is once again included in the best-selling college guide that profiles 300 of the “best and most interesting” colleges and universities in the nation. UNCW’s University Studies curriculum, First-Year Learning Communities available to students and the Honors College earned special mention in the annual printed guide, which arrived on shelves July 6. The guide highlighted UNCW’s strong marine biology program, as well as programs like no other, including film studies, creative writing, the new coastal engineering major – the only program of its type nationally – and digital arts. “Learning communities are a game changer,” one communication studies major said. “They allow freshmen to get used to a college workload, but in a familiar environment where they feel comfortable.” Another student lauded extensive faculty support: “Professors work hard to engage students and help students succeed, even during challenging times.” Compiled by former New York Times Education Editor Edward B. Fiske, the Fiske Guide has been a leading resource for nearly 40 years. The guide offers prospective students a glimpse into student life, degree programs, campus climate, athletic opportunities and admission criteria. Inclusion is based primarily on academic excellence, a key priority of the university’s Strategic Plan. College life, athletics and the campus environment are other factors considered. UNCW is one of just four UNC System schools listed. – Tricia Vance

Celebrating the Class of 2021 UNCW’s one-hundredth commencement exercises took place both virtually and in-person during multiple ceremonies May 7 and 8.

Nearly 2,700 degrees were issued: 2,117 undergraduate 547 graduate 30 doctoral The university also celebrated a few firsts: • First graduate of the Ph.D. in Psychology program • First 14 graduates of the M.A. Integrated Marketing Communications program • First 6 graduates of the Master in Healthcare Administration program

Congratulations, Seahawks!



The UNCW Board of Trustees welcomed its newest members at its quarterly meetings held July 15 and 16 (above, left to right): Holly Grange, James “Chip” Mahan, Malcomb Coley ’86, ’89M and Jeff Clark ’85.



UNCW Welcomes New Board of Trustees Members The UNCW Board of Trustees welcomed its newest members at its quarterly meetings held July 15 and 16: Jeff Clark ’85, Malcomb Coley ’86, ’89M, Holly Grange, and James “Chip” Mahan. The new board also includes reappointed members Carlton Fisher ’83 and Robert Rippy; and Jimmy Tate ’99, ’01M, '19M and Robert Fensom ’22, who joined the board earlier this year. “These outstanding alumni, community and business leaders are joining a dedicated UNCW Board of Trustees,” Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli said. “I look forward to working with the board to advance the university’s stellar academic programs, research endeavors and community engagement efforts in the years ahead.” Jeff Clark, who earned his business degree from UNCW and played baseball for the Seahawks, has more than 30 years of experience in finance. Clark is the president and CEO of Marine Federal Credit Union in Jacksonville, NC. He also is active in the Jacksonville Breakfast Rotary and the Jacksonville-Onslow Chamber of Commerce. Malcomb Coley holds double degrees from UNCW and is currently the central growth market leader and Charlotte managing partner for Ernst & Young U.S. Coley serves on the board of directors for several organizations including the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance (2022 chair), the United Way of Central Carolinas, the UNCW Cameron School of Business Executive Advisory Board, the Chancellor's Renewal and Change Accountability Committee, and the UNCW Endowment Board. He is also a member of 100 Black Men of Atlanta. Former state Rep. Holly Grange was appointed to the board by the Speaker of the NC House of Representatives. She served in the House from 2016 through 2020, representing District 20 (New Hanover County). A resident of Wilmington

with her husband, David, she is the president of The Grange Company, a strategic consulting firm and is a managing member of GSG Partners. After graduation from West Point, she served in the United States Army as an airborne company commander, rising to the rank of Captain. Grange’s public service has included many local groups including the North Carolina State Ports Authority, Coastal Horizons Center, Cape Fear Community College Foundation and UNCW’s Swain Center in the Cameron School of Business. 

The UNCW Board of Trustees elected three members of the board who are alumni to serve as officers for the 2021-22 academic year. Gidget Kidd ’91, chair; Henry E. “Hank” Miller III ’85, vice chair; Carlton Fisher ’83, secretary. James “Chip” Mahan is the founder, chairman and CEO of Live Oak Bancshares and co-founder of nCino, both Wilmington-based companies. He is also the former chairman and CEO for S1 Corporation and founder of Security First Network Bank, the world’s first internet bank. A resident of Wilmington, Mahan began his career in 1973 at Wachovia Bank & Trust Co. in Winston-Salem. The full UNCW Board of Trustees also includes Agnes Beane, Gidget Kidd ’91, Henry “Hank” Miller ’85, Yousry Sayed and Woody White. Trustees who rotated off the board after serving from 2013 through June 30, 2021 are Dennis Burgard ’88, Michael Drummond ’86, Henry “Hal” Kitchin Jr. and Maurice Smith ’79. – Krissy Vick



A Higher Calling Seeing students succeed is what it’s all about for new Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Lowell Davis. by Venita Jenkins

When Vice Chancellor Lowell Davis charted his course for his future career in higher education, he did so with the mission to give back and make a difference in students’ lives. It was a seed that his family of educators planted. “I had an opportunity to watch my mother, who was a K-12 educator for years, commit her life to help students,” said Davis. “She would not only give her time, but she would give her resources to ensure that anyone she came in contact with would be successful.” Davis followed in his mother’s footsteps. He recalled aiding students who battled substance use and students who aged out of the foster care system. These students defied all odds by obtaining their degrees.

“This institution is one that is on the move and has been nationally recognized for its commitment to student success,” said Davis. “To be a part of an institution that is moving forward is inspiring and fulfilling.”



“The work that I do is because I love doing it,” said Davis. “Often, I don’t think I’m making a difference or making an impact, but as I reflect back, I am.” Davis hopes to make an impact on Seahawks in his new role as vice chancellor for student affairs. He took over the helm of UNCW’s Division of Student Affairs in May 2021 following a national search and plans to build on the legacy left by the previous vice chancellor, the late Pat Leonard. “I did not have an opportunity to meet Pat, but in all that I have read and heard, she was someone who put students first in everything, and I think that’s important,” he said. “I have a ‘Hopes and Expectations’ document, and it starts with ‘Keep students and their needs as our top priority, always.’ That was true for Pat; she wanted to ensure that everyone at UNCW understood why we are here.”

Getting to know Lowell Davis

Davis has spent the first few months at UNCW becoming familiar with the campus and with the community. In June, he began hosting “Vice Chancellor’s Open Office Hour,” an opportunity for individuals to share ideas and perspectives on the topics that concern the division. In between meetings with students, faculty and staff, Davis is making plans to develop a program to support students who are homeless or wards of the state, who have aged out of foster care, or who are emancipated from their parents.


“Statistics tell us that less than six percent of the students in those categories graduate from college,” he said. “I know that these students are at UNCW, and I plan to establish a program to support them and ensure that they matriculate to graduation.”

Hampton University (VA) M.A. in counseling and a B.A. in English arts/secondary education

For years, Davis observed UNCW’s upward trajectory from a distance. He watched as it grew from a regional university to a nationally ranked “Doctoral University: High Research Activity” institution. His voice filled with excitement as he talked about joining the university and the contributions he hopes to make. “This institution is one that is on the move and has been nationally recognized for its commitment to student success,” said Davis. “To be a part of an institution that is moving forward is inspiring and fulfilling.”

Dallas, TX

Education: Indiana University Ph.D. in higher education administration and student affairs

Previous posts: University of Alabama Indiana University Hampton University Western Carolina University

Favorite book: Beloved by Toni Morrison




Future-Focused A small child holding an “I Matter” sign and a historical plaque of the 1898 Wilmington massacre and coup d’etat are a few images artist Dare Coulter used in a commemorative artwork to celebrate resilience and highlight the core belief that Black lives matter. The artwork, called “Because It’s Time,” was created to serve as a conduit for social activism and to spark conversations about race, identity, the Black experience and Wilmington’s history of racial violence, said Fidias Reyes, director of arts engagement in the UNCW Office of the Arts. The work was unveiled during a ceremony on June 18, 2021, by the Commons pond east of the amphitheater near Fisher University Union. The project is a collaboration between the Office of the Arts, the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, and the Office of Community Engagement and Applied Learning. It is a component of the Office of the Arts’ “Artivism For Social Change” initiative, a collaborative series of arts events and programs. Coulter, an award-winning sculptor, artist and illustrator, was commissioned to create the piece; the concept was developed with student and community input. Coulter used symbolic images of the Gullah Geechee culture, recent protests and other references to the 1898 Wilmington massacre. Fabricated by Lite Brite Neon in New York, the artwork stands 13 feet tall and its four-foot base includes an inscription from UNCW’s Upperman African American Cultural Center director Sean Palmer. – V.J.



“This installation is an act of creating physical space for the idea that a better, more equitable future awaits us. It represents the hope that we can come together across racial, political and socioeconomic lines, to gather safely for important conversations as we shape our future.”

– Fidias Reyes, Director of Arts Engagement

Kenneth Halanych to Head UNCW Center for Marine Science Kenneth M. Halanych has been named executive director of the UNCW Center for Marine Science. As the leader and chief advocate for UNCW’s coastal and marine sciences, he will provide oversight of the programs and facilities housed in the center, including MARBIONC, the Shellfish Research Hatchery and the Finfish Mariculture Program. He officially assumes his duties October. 1. Halanych joins UNCW from Auburn University, where he is the Stewart Schneller Endowed Chair and Alumni Professor of Biology. He also serves as the Curator of Invertebrates at the AU Museum of Natural History. Halanych has earned international recognition for his research on marine invertebrate evolution and genomics. He has helped secure approximately $10 million in extramural funding and authored more than 200 peer-reviewed publications. His work has been featured in Nature, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and Current Biology. He has been interviewed by The Chicago Tribune, Mother Jones, Vanity Fair and NPR, among others. He served on the research board of the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative that awarded $500 million in funding in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. He is the current editor-in-chief of Biological Bulletin. Halanych holds a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin and an undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University, where he was honored as the 2002 Distinguished Alumni Lecturer. – Caroline Cropp ’99, ’06M




A Purposeful Path Four students from the international studies, computer science and fine arts departments designed a series of interactive mini walking tours in Wilmington based on the Parisian Situationist practice of psychogeography. Drawing from the philosophies of the French theorist Guy Debord, psychogeographers advocate the exploration of urban environments through “drifting.” Heather Cunningham ’21, Carolyn Hellman ’21, Kassie Robakiewicz ’23 and Bhavna Singh ’20 crafted the one-mile walks around the themes of migration, development and gentrification to engage participants in reflections of those movements on the current world.

Julia Morris, assistant professor of international studies, organized a workshop for the students with staff from the Historic Wilmington Foundation. “The goal is to reveal elements of Wilmington’s wider social, civic and political history and the communities and individuals connected to it,” she said. “Participants will develop a new intimacy with their surroundings, bringing them closer to the region’s histories and making visible marginalized voices in the city.” The mini-tours are accessible through a free online app. Participants can virtually follow the walks online or complete them in person. The project was funded through Cahill and Applied Learning Awards from UNCW. – C.C.

Learn more at

There’s an App for That Water, bug spray, boots and the Coastal Eco Explorer app will all make treks through Carolina Beach State Park a better experience. Available through Apple and Google app stores, the pocket guide offers free education about the park’s 13 native ecosystems and diverse ecology. The CEE was created from an applied learning project spanning the disciplines of environmental science, education and computer science. Using pedagogy from courses co-taught by Watson College of Education faculty members Dennis Kubasko and Amy Taylor, students created educational web content about the park’s flora, fauna

and ecosystems intended for primary school science classes. Students from computer science professor and researcher Lucas Layman’s mobile applications development course then made the content available via a UNCW-sponsored mobile application. Some of the resources available through CEE include videos of ranger-guided ecosystem tours, visuals of the hiking trails and lesson plans for teachers. A recent award from the UNCW Applied Learning Strategic Initiatives Program grant will allow for the continued creation of new content. – C.C.

Learn more at



University Adds New Programs UNCW

continues to grow its degree portfolio with new programs to address STEM and critical workforce gaps.

In fall 2021, the College of Health and Human Services will launch its Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy. It will be delivered as a four-year residential program and as a degree advancement online accelerated program designed for respiratory care therapists in the workforce. The program will be housed within the School of Health and Applied Human Sciences. Additionally, a new combined bachelor’s/master’s “4+1” degree option will offer qualifying students the opportunity to graduate with two degrees in five years. Upon completion, students will earn a bachelor’s in business administration with an information systems concentration and a master’s in computer science and information systems. The university will launch its bachelor of science programs in cybersecurity and intelligent systems engineering in fall 2022, pending approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. UNCW will be the first university in the UNC System to offer undergraduate degrees in those disciplines. The cybersecurity program involves both the disciplines of computer science and information systems, and is a collaboration between the College of Arts and Sciences and Cameron School of Business. The intelligent systems engineering degree brings together computing and engineering disciplines and the liberal arts to prepare students to succeed in an area that is becoming increasingly important for industry, government and society.

Above Par A trip to the golf range with her father 10 years ago sparked UNCW junior Phu Khine’s passion for golf. Since then, she has represented her country as a member of the Myanmar National Team and has consistently made the list of top female golfers on the World Amateur Golf rankings. At the time of publication, Khine ranked 397 out of 3,668 golfers. Khine ’22 recently added PGA Works Collegiate champion to her list of accomplishments. She took home the title on May 5 after finishing first in the women’s individual division at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. “I was nervous going into the tournament knowing that I was playing at the TPC Sawgrass,” said Khine, a native of Yangon, Myanmar. “I kept imagining myself playing at the course I had only seen on the Golf Channel.”

Three other programs – a bachelor’s degree in workforce learning and development and doctoral degrees in pharmaceutical chemistry and applied coastal and ocean sciences – are under consideration at the UNC System Office. Other programs are also in various stages of development spanning the humanities, arts, social sciences, natural sciences, business, engineering and computing.

Khine, a business administration major, is the recipient of the Catherine S. Warner SAA Scholarship Endowment from UNCW. She has received numerous accolades from the Colonial Athletic Association for her performance on and off the field, including second-team All-Colonial Athletic Association selection, a CAA Leadership and Sport Excellence Award, and was named to CAA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll. She was a member of the Myanmar National Women’s Team from 2015-18. Khine represented Myanmar at the 2015 and 2017 Southeast Asia Games.

– V.J. and K.V.

– V.J.

“These degrees not only address important workforce development issues for our region and our state but also add to the rich engineering and technology programs that we aim to grow at UNCW over time,” said Provost James J. Winebrake.




Lookout Legacy:

“From the very beginning our books have been transformed by the curiosity and creativity of UNCW students who chose to study the art and craft of publishing alongside creative writing.”

A Decade of Extraordinary Books Ten years ago, Lookout Books published the award-winning Binocular Vision: New and Selected Stories by Edith Pearlman. While the COVID pandemic prevented an in-person celebration of the literary imprint’s decade of success, “Lookout Labs,” a series of virtual conversations between authors and publishing professionals, was launched.

- Emily Smith ’06M

“From the very beginning our books have been transformed by the curiosity and creativity of UNCW students who chose to study the art and craft of publishing alongside creative writing,” said Emily Smith ’06M, Lookout Books’ publisher and an assistant professor in the UNCW Department of Creative Writing. “The magazines and presses they’ve gone on to found and lead as well as the books and authors they champion are as much Lookout’s legacy as our own.” Smith reached out to the Lookout community to be part of an anniversary video and what followed “is the best possible virtual birthday card I could have imagined.”

Find out more at – C.C.

Bombs Away UNCW history professor Stephen McFarland shares his expertise in Malcolm Gladwell’s new book The Bomber Mafia. Gladwell, the author of five New York Times bestsellers, contacted McFarland because of his books – America’s Pursuit of Precision Bombing, 1910-1945 and To Command the Sky: The Struggle for Air Superiority over Europe, 1942-1944 – that analyze America’s World War II bombing campaigns. He has worked with Gladwell on previous projects. “Malcolm reads historical works constantly, looking for interesting stories that he can weave into beautifully written and fascinating accounts,” said McFarland. “He prefers to depend on the work done by professional historians, which is why he contacts the authors of works that support his projects. I’m flattered that such a well-known, widely-read celebrity would take the time to include me in his most recent book.” – V.J.



Constructing Compassion Twenty UNCW women faculty and staff members donned hard hats and construction belts to help build a home for a family who lost their house during Hurricane Florence. The project was part of Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity’s “Women Build,” a volunteer program for women who want to learn construction skills and make a difference by building homes in their communities. In May, volunteers secured the house’s structure, added trusses and placed plywood on the exterior walls of a three-bedroom home. The Seahawk group also raised $5,000 for the program.

THE PROJECT WAS SUPPORTED BY: The Office of Community Engagement and Applied Learning, Gender Studies and Research Center, Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, College of Arts and Sciences, Watson College of Education and the Provost’s Office.

“Volunteering reminds me of the importance of collective care that is empowering, creates a stronger community and builds authentic connections across diverse groups of people,” said Dana Stachowiak, Gender Studies and Research Center director. “It was nice to step away from the everyday grind and be a part of building a stronger, more sustainable Wilmington community.” – V.J.



POINT BREAK WAVE HEIGHT 95'10" Avid surfers live to ride the “big wave.” And thanks to the calculations of UNCW professor Dylan McNamara, Wrightsville Beach native Mason Barnes may have managed a Guinness World Record-setting ride in the waters off Portugal.

“In that image, I used Mason as a guide and had him measure the length from his knee to the bottom of his foot,” McNamara said. Once he had that measurement and determined the bottom of the wave, he could estimate its height.

Barnes asked McNamara, a fellow surfer and chair of the UNCW Department of Physics and Physical Oceanography, for help determining just how big that wave in Nazaré was in October 2020. The answer: 95 feet, 10 inches – more than 15 feet higher than the previous record of 80 feet.

McNamara, who has taught classes on the physics of the sport, met Barnes shortly after moving to Wilmington in 2008. Barnes was one of a number of young surfers who mastered the local waves.

As of publication, no announcement had been made as to whether his wave will officially be listed as a world record for the largest wave ever surfed, but it was certainly a contender for the XXL Big Wave Awards, sponsored by the World Surf League. “To be judged based on the size of a wave, it helps if you can have scientific calculations,” McNamara said. In his case, he had only a photo of Barnes surfing the wave to go on.

While Barnes chases records and the next big wave, McNamara acknowledges that the calculation could potentially pique the interest of prospective students who are eager to find a university that offers strong academics and the recreational benefits of coastal living. “Our university is certainly filled with students who like the ocean,” said McNamara. “It is one of the big draws for UNC Wilmington. If you like the ocean and are math- or physics-minded, UNCW is a great place to come.” – Tricia Vance Photo: Noora Lindström



CENTER FOR SOCIAL IMPACT Collaboration Leads to Action Collaboration is at the center of everything the newly established UNCW Center for Social Impact does. Housed in the Office of Community Engagement and Applied Learning, CSI combines the best of what UNCW has to offer to better serve the community. “CSI is a vehicle for faculty and students to thoughtfully and productively engage the community and contribute to the collective pursuit of a healthier and more equitable region,” said Chris Prentice, CSI founding director and associate professor of nonprofit management. “The complex issues that our communities face require multifaceted solutions built through the integration of diverse expertise,” said Prentice. The CSI fosters interdisciplinary research with faculty from the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Health and Human Services and Cameron School of Business, with the common goal of producing actionable intelligence. A few of the collaborations CSI has facilitated since its January 2021 launch include: • Establishing the Rural Health Research and Innovation Lab, under the direction of Stephanie Duea, CSI Faculty Fellow and assistant professor of nursing. The lab facilitates community academic partnership in rural health research and evidence-based practice, innovation and workforce development to address current and future regional system performance and population health goals.

• In partnership with Cape Fear Collective, StepUp Wilmington, LINC, Wilmington Housing Authority, Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, YWCA and the Kairos Center, Sabrina Cherry, CSI Faculty Fellow and assistant professor of public health, led a team of faculty and students on a project to explore the effects of personal factors, previous employment experiences, education and training on economic security and upward mobility among residents in the Cape Fear region. • Partnering with Cape Fear Collective, chair of the UNCW Department of Economics and Finance Adam Jones and fellow economists performed a regional analysis of demographic shifts, workforce changes and economic indicators in the Cape Fear region to understand whether current and projected economic growth is equitable across groups. As it nears its one-year anniversary, the CSI will house UNCW’s Quality Enhancement for Nonprofit Organizations. Together CSI and QENO will better assist area nonprofits build capacity, enhance collaboration to increase access to resources and improve service delivery. CSI will also provide data analytic support to other campus units that engage the community such as the Center for Healthy Communities’ Equity Institute. Learn more about the CSI at engagement/socialimpact. – C.C.



History Professor Larry Usilton Retires After 50 Years by Venita Jenkins

History professor Larry Usilton has taught thousands of students about the past. Now, after five decades at UNCW, he’s ready to look to the future. Usilton was 24 years old and fresh out of graduate school when he joined the university in 1971. At the time, UNCW had seven academic buildings, a library, a dining hall and a gymnasium. Enrollment was about 1,500 students, he said, not the approximately 18,000 Seahawks who now attend the university. “I was only a few years older than my students, so it was easy for them to see me as one of their own, not just an instructor. Fast forward 50 years, now they see me as a grandfather,” he said with a chuckle. “That’s how many generations have gone by.”

Usilton was recognized by the university in 2017 when he was inducted into the Order of Isaac Bear. The Order, founded in 1988 by former Chancellor William H. Wagoner, recognizes those who have contributed to the university’s academic quality or had a significant role in uniting the institution and the community. In 2018, Usilton was presented with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine for his outstanding contributions to his field, students, peers and community. It is the highest award given to individuals who have shown extraordinary service to the state and is granted by the Office of the Governor. He retires with mixed emotions.

Teaching was not on his radar when Usilton began his undergraduate studies. His mentor, Mississippi State University professor Charles Lewis, sparked his interest in ancient and medieval history and academia. He died in an automobile accident at the age of 39, a few years after Usilton started teaching at UNCW.

“It’s all that I’ve known for the past 50 years, and it’s going to be difficult to give that up,” he continued. “I do have other plans. I have plenty of research projects that I’m still working on, which I hope will lead to books, articles and things of that sort.” He also plans to check off items on his wife’s “to-do” list and play more basketball, an activity he enjoys weekly with friends.

“He encouraged me and pushed me in the right direction,” Usilton recalled. “The research that I did for him allowed me to immerse myself in things that were a lot more interesting than I thought they could be.”

Usilton hopes his students remember him as someone who made history interesting. He also encouraged students to maintain an eagerness to learn even after leaving UNCW.

Over the years, Usilton has played a role in strengthening UNCW’s history program. Between 1995 and 1999, he served as chair of the department. He became the first director of UNCW’s Swansea Study Abroad Program in Wales in 1991. The following year, he created “Medieval Sampler,” a travel


program that enabled Usilton to take students, parents and community members to the British Isles and most countries in Western Europe. He hopes to continue the travel program during his retirement, which began in May.


“My 50 years with the university have given me the opportunity to witness its growth from a small regional school adjacent to a two-lane road into a major institution,” said Usilton. “Along the way, I have always tried to demonstrate to my students and fellow travelers that the study of history is not only important but can be interesting, as well.”

Building a Bridge

by Krissy Vick

UNCW Assistant Dean for Student Success Sheri Shaw is a proven expert when it comes to building award-winning student supports, so it’s no surprise that she will lead efforts to create a new UNCW program that empowers underrepresented Seahawks. Shaw, who was instrumental in developing successful bridge programs at Drexel University and University of Illinois, has devoted her career to helping students thrive in college and beyond. “I’m honored and grateful that UNCW is entrusting me to help create the infrastructure for this program,” said Shaw. “We want our bridge program to be uniquely UNCW – a successful, nimble and long-lasting program that will grow as the institution grows, empowering students to find their academic potential as well as their identities.” Bridge programs provide transitional support to college students from underrepresented populations. Such programs attempt to address the high attrition rates of some student populations, particularly those who are identified as low-income or first-generation college students. Research supports that bridge programs have a positive impact on student retention rates and student success.

“It’s all about creating a sense of belonging – a sense of home and family,” Shaw explains. “We want our bridge program to create that place and space where students can learn to navigate the challenges of college by connecting them with wrap around support as they learn to problem-solve, network and grow into who they are meant to be.” For one year, Shaw will oversee the research and development of the UNCW program, which will include both a summer experience and a year-round academic component. The taskforce, supported by the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, the Office of the Provost, and the Office of Student Affairs, has already completed some preliminary research, led by the Director of the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid Fred Holding and Diversity and Inclusion Fellow and Freshman Admissions Coordinator Taniesha Young ’15, ’19M. Next steps include piloting potential program initiatives during the 2021-22 academic year. By summer 2022, Shaw anticipates the bridge program will be fully operational with a permanent program director and support staff in place to welcome its first cohort of students. The program plans to invite a cohort of 75-100 incoming Fall 2022 admitted students identified through their applications as those who would most benefit from the program to participate.




-Rural ReachR


by Venita Jenkins

Beaufort | Columbus | Craven | Cumberland | Jones | Pasquotank Too often, first-generation and low-income students think attending a four-year institution is out of reach. To change this misconception

and increase educational opportunities for underrepresented students, UNCW is partnering with College Advising Corps by placing college advisers in rural high schools in North Carolina.

In 2020, CAC deployed more than 820 advisers from 31 partner universities in 782 high schools in 17 states. The advisers served 240,000 students.



Recent UNCW alumni will help high school students navigate the often-confusing process of college admission, financial aid and matriculation. By engaging recent college graduates as advisers, students will have a current perspective of the college experience. Advisers will be placed in Beaufort, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Jones and Pasquotank counties beginning with the 2021-22 academic year. “As a former college adviser, I’ve witnessed students who didn’t think they could go to college become college graduates,” said Veronica Tapia, UNCW College Advising Corps’ program director. “By working to extend educational opportunity to historically excluded students, post-secondary institutions can benefit from a diverse student population that more accurately represents the national demographic.” Before starting in schools, advisers will attend an in-depth summer training to review topics such as the college admissions process, financial aid, one-on-one advising and multicultural competency. College Advising Corps is a national nonprofit that partners with colleges and state and local governments to increase post-secondary enrollment for low-income, first-generation and underrepresented students. Because College Advising Corps is an AmeriCorps partner, college advisers receive AmeriCorps benefits such as a yearly education award in addition to their paid salaries that can be used for continuing education and loan forgiveness. AmeriCorps, a federal agency, brings people together to tackle the country’s most pressing challenges through national service and volunteering.

Nationally, the counselor-to-student ratio in high schools is 482:1, said Tapia. “This means many high school students never have the opportunity to meet with someone to discuss their college options, much less walk them through the college application and financial aid process,” she continued. “This need is magnified for first-generation college students who may not have the resources or guidance at home to help them explore their college options. That’s where the help of a college adviser comes in.” Advisers work to educate students and families on their college options. They distribute college application fee waivers and assist with financial aid and scholarship applications. They leverage community partnerships to include families in the conversation and determine the best fit for the student. “Advisers become engrained in their communities and work hard to gain the trust of their school community,” said Tapia. “In this way, the advising model is strengthened and the rapport between adviser and advisee grows. While students may encounter challenges in their pursuit for college, the College Adviser will be there every step of the way.” UNCW joins Appalachian State University, Davidson College, Duke University, North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as higher education partners with CAC.



Just What the Doctor Ordered Persistence and a penchant for listening well led Sydney Batchelder to pursue psychology – all the way to a Ph.D. by Tricia Vance

Sydney Batchelder was never one to give up on her dreams. Her mother wouldn’t hear of it. “From a young age, I was interested in pursuing higher education,” said Batchelder, who in May 2021 became the first graduate of UNCW’s doctoral program in psychology. “The biggest turning point in my life was seeing my mom, a single mom raising three kids, putting all her effort into making sure that we could achieve any dream we had. Even though we were of low socioeconomic status and she worked long hours, she never told me that I wouldn’t be able to become a lawyer, doctor or whatever my goal at the time was. She believed that if I set my mind to it and if she worked hard enough, we could get there.” Batchelder, who grew up in rural eastern Connecticut, set her sights on the behavior analysis field of psychology after taking several undergraduate courses at Eastern Connecticut State University, where she also minored in anthropology. “I like to say that my decision to choose psychology was really serendipitous,” she said. “Not having a lot of information about psychology as a science in high school, I decided that since I’m a good listener, psychology was a good choice. “I had the stereotypical understanding of what psychologists do – that they listen to people’s problems and help make them feel better. I took an intro to psychology class and a social psychology class. Both really opened my eyes to the possibilities of research within psychology and how we can better understand human behavior and the brain through scientific inquiry.”



Batchelder’s decision to attend UNCW for graduate studies was based on the quality of the behavior analysis program, she said, and the opportunity to work with experienced psychology researchers. She chose the field because she believes it is where she can make a difference. “Behavior analysts focus on being able to make measurable changes in behavior,” Batchelder said. “I knew this was how I was going to make the most significant change. I was also interested in broader societal change – reducing poverty, health disparities, racism and other prejudices, climate change, etc.” Batchelder’s program mentor was associate professor Wendy Donlin Washington, whom she credited for connecting her with research and other opportunities. Batchelder also took advantage of opportunities to gain clinical experience. “Sydney is a tenacious, meticulous and gifted researcher,” said Donlin Washington. “She has furthered the scope of the research in our lab by extending our behavioral economic studies to address health disparities. She has been essential in mentoring master’s and undergraduate students in the lab. She’s going to have an incredibly successful research career, and I’m very proud to call her a colleague.” The Ph.D. in psychology program is one of four doctoral programs currently offered at UNCW. “The Ph.D. program began due to a state and national need for more doctoral-level psychologists, particularly those who can work as behavior analysts, licensed psychologists and in industry,” said Kate Nooner, professor of psychology and graduate coordinator.

The Ph.D. program offers three concentrations: • Applied Behavior Analysis, Batchelder’s specialty, which prepares candidates for careers focused on helping clients make socially significant changes and improvements in their behaviors; • General Clinical, which prepares candidates for licensure as doctoral-level psychologists working in health care or research settings, and; • Psychological Sciences, which prepares candidates for careers in research and industry.

While Batchelder is the doctoral program’s first graduate, others will soon follow in her footsteps. There are currently 35 students in the doctoral program, which admitted its first class in 2017. Five are on track to graduate in May 2022. Post-graduation, Batchelder has begun a research position at the University of Vermont, where she will research new treatments for opioid use disorders in vulnerable populations. Following her time-limited position, she will search for assistant professorships to continue her research while teaching. She will always be grateful for the support she received at UNCW. “Students, faculty and staff all really try to help if you need it,” Batchelder said. “I think this university is one of the most accommodating I’ve seen, and that’s a result of the supportive atmosphere if you communicate your needs.” Hear Sydney describe the pursuit of her Ph.D. in a video at features/videos/batchelders.html.



by Lindsay A.T. LeRoy

UNCW alumni know that indescribable feeling when they think about what it means to be a Seahawk. As the alumni body approaches 100,000, the stories and memories can be characterized as experiences like no other.

Margo ‘25, Rhonda ‘88 & Lloyd Hinnant ‘88

It’s the feeling that Rhonda ’88 and Lloyd ’88 Hinnant felt when they moved daughter Margo ’25 into her new residence hall. Lloyd, a longtime active member of the Triangle Alumni Chapter, boasts that having his daughter attend the university where he and his wife met is “nearly beyond words.” Over the past 18 years, all their visits to campus include a stop at the spot where he and Rhonda met – a reminder of where their family started. Now, Margo will create her own story as part of their family legacy at UNCW.

have “Along with joyful moments, past years CW tested us,” said Stephanie Lanier ’03. “UN be alumni are resilient and will undoubtedly ring at the forefront of each challenge, sha to wisdom and tirelessly working together build a stronger UNCW.”

.O g n i n e ist


Alison English ’04

Stephanie Lanier ’03, ’07M


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The UNCW Alumni Association, chaired by Alison English ’04, serves all Seahawks and is the lead supporter of the university’s strategic vision with a purpose to connect and involve alumni, students and friends in promoting and advancing the university. The association is comprised of hundreds of alumni leaders across the nation through a network of chapters designed to engage alumni interests based on location, affinity and academic passion.



Lynn Whitesell ‘97M

After six years of service, Lynn Whitesell ’97M serves as the past chair of the association. As managing partner of her consulting firm, she recognizes that time is precious.

’12 Arie Gee

“It is a joy to volunteer alongside so many passionate alumni. We support one another as the “busyness” of life ebbs and flows for everyone,” Whitesell said.

under lumni are d time and a f o % 0 8 Close to 50 and many have cite gement the age of riers to enga bar the largest orting a proximity as ether supp h W . ty si er iv n u time and with the re of family, ca g in k ta career or limited. energy are

Assistant director of alumni relations, Arie Gee ’12, and the alumni relations team are working to transition each chapter to a new model, making it even easier to get involved whether you have a moment or an hour. Every Seahawk can make a difference and support what they care about most.

f o s k w a h a e S r o f y s a e Making it . r e h t e g o t k c lo f o t a feather

rs, visit alumni Join us! For a full list of chapte


In the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, the African American Graduate Association helped university administrators identify important issues imperative to moving UNCW forward. Their tool – a series of webinars designed to engage and inform the Seahawk community. “The AAGA leadership team felt a deep responsibility to those who paved the way as alumni and to those who are still on the journey as students to amplify the Black voice and remind UNCW of the power, passion and value of Black students, staff, faculty and alumni. Teal Tuesday Takeovers was one way to meet that goal,” shared Ebony Bryant ’01, AAGA chapter president. From conference tables to couches, AAGA’s influence has been immense. The chapter helped to organize programs during UNCW’s first-ever virtual homecoming – including an at-home dance party hosted by DJ Scratch, and the chapter also worked to raise funds for diversity scholarships.



STUDENT-FOCUSED The Cape Fear Area Alumni Chapter naturally has a connection to campus and supporting students. In a year like no other, alumni worked to ensure our newest graduates felt celebrated. Volunteers sent text messages to the Class of 2021 welcoming them into the association and inviting them to a special event on Chancellor’s Walk. Shelley Blake Curran ’96 lives in the Triangle but wanted to help from afar. She had a great time fielding questions and making connections with new alumni. The chapter also hosted a Fill the Freezer Drive, collecting 345 pounds of food for UNCW’s food pantry, Hawk’s Harvest.


ke Shelley Bla6 ’9 Curran

to enjoy online programs

“Time, talent, treasures and testimonies. It’s really that simple. rships We can’t move from good to great without strong alumni partne the to like we had this year,” said Rick Olsen ’87, faculty advisor Communication Studies Alumni Chapter.

Rick Olsen ’87

Martin Jarmond ’01

MENTORSHIP MATTERS Partnerships are essential, like those with Martin Jarmond ’01, who credits his degree for helping shape his ascent to athletic director at UCLA. During an interactive online event, current students and alumni heard from the former men’s basketball player, who said “refining your purpose, passion and perspective can keep your mind and game right!’” During Seahawks Give, a 24-hour giving challenge, Damon Lilly ’15, gave $50 for every donor to Communication Studies. “I wanted to do something that I knew would directly impact those who are following in my footsteps,” he said.

STRENGTH IN NUMBERS Alumni are the most significant element to an institution’s success. Because of the support of alumni donors, UNCW has met the ambitious goal of 50,000 alumni gifts ahead of schedule. As the university strives to raise a record $100 million for UNCW, the alumni gift goal has been stretched to 60,000 by the conclusion of Like No Other: The Campaign for UNCW.

Lindsay LeRoy

“We continue to be humbled and inspired by the many ways our alumni use their talents to advance their alma mater,” said Lindsay LeRoy, director of alumni relations. “If we can galvanize that support during this campaign, we know we can create a future at UNCW like no other.”

t at alumni. if g r u o y e k a m d n Get involved a



Out of the Blue

SeaHawk-1 is a game-changer for collecting ocean color data by Krissy Vick

The SeaHawk-1 Cubesat, UNCW’s first nanosatellite, was hatched under the vision and leadership of Morrison, along with his team of international partners, fellow UNCW faculty members and the help of the UNCW Cubesat Club. This low-cost, lightweight, mini satellite now soars in space, orbiting Earth 15 times a day, delivering laser-sharp images of the ocean’s vibrant color variations.

After 15 years of service to the university and a lifetime devoted to higher education, John Morrison, professor of physics and physical oceanography, officially retired in June, leaving a legacy that has the potential to transform how scientists study the ocean. The SeaHawk-1 Cubesat, UNCW’s first nanosatellite, was hatched under the vision and leadership of Morrison, along with his team of international partners, fellow UNCW faculty members and the help of the UNCW Cubesat Club. This lowcost, lightweight, mini satellite now soars in space, orbiting Earth 15 times a day, delivering laser-sharp images of the ocean’s vibrant color variations. The satellite project launched in 2015, funded by a $4,315,000 five-year grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Partnering with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and the Hawk Institute for Space Sciences, University of Georgia Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, Cloudland Instruments and Clyde Space, UNCW formed the Sustained Ocean Color Observations using Nanosatellites project, known as SOCON.

Outer Banks



“We have the best people in the world working with us,” said Morrison, who plans to stay involved with the project as a consultant. “The data collected by SeaHawk-1 is important enough to the science community that NASA made it a top 15 priority out of about 100.”

SeaHawk-1 Cubesat

Hawkeye Sensor Imaging



Florida Keys

Cuba and the Bahamas

The team expects the SeaHawk-1 to be a game-changer for collecting ocean color data. The shoebox-sized satellite houses a sensor they named HawkEye that produces images 100 times better than any existing orbiting satellite. While breathtakingly beautiful, each of these images contain 100MB of invaluable scientific data that ocean color researchers can use to study a wide array of topics such as climate change, pollution, fishery exploration, at-risk marine species such as loggerhead turtles and the coastal impact of major weather events like hurricanes. While developing the HawkEye sensor, the team stayed true to the Cubesat philosophy, which emphasizes using inexpensive, off-the-shelf parts. Using the sensor from a color scanner in their design, the Seahawk-1 is able to capture unprecedented high-resolution images from more than 350 miles away.

Netherlands and Belgium

San Francisco and Monterey Bay

SeaHawk-1, travelling at a speed of 7,000 miles per hour, has captured more than 600 images that are already archived and ready for use. It will continue to collect about 100 images per week that will be downloaded from space to NASA stations in Virginia and Alaska. Seeing the project fully evolve from the funding stage to the design, build and launch phases, and finally receiving the images just as he was about to retire has been a career highlight for Morrison. “I’ve been working with remote sensing research for years. It is so satisfying to think about the long-term educational impact this project will have and how useful these images will be.”

Calling the project a “tremendous mission,” Morrison said, “It has met every scientific goal. We were able to prove the concept, build the sensor, launch it, and now we are using it. To be honest, we didn’t know if it would ever launch.”



NDCRC staff members: (L-R: front row) Kenneth McMillan, Ben Yerby, Christina Lanier, Jeanne Persuit (L-R back row) Sally MacKain, Kristen DeVall, Savannah Bryson. Not pictured: Ron Vetter Photo Credit: Bill Bolduc

DATA INFORMED: National Drug Court Resource Center launches interactive map of treatment courts by Jeanne Persuit and Caroline Cropp ’99, ’06M

Treatment courts exist to lead those with substance use and mental health disorders in the justice system into a life of recovery and stability. Since 2019, the National Drug Court Resource Center, housed in the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Social Science Applied Research Center, has provided treatment court practitioners with resources to assist with their lifesaving work. For the first time since 2016, court counts across the U.S. and territories have been updated and are available via the NDCRC’s new interactive map. The new and improved map of treatment courts reflects the number of courts by state and county as of December 2020. Users can explore and compare data from the U.S. Census, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, National Survey on



Drug Use and Health, and Uniform Crime Report as they relate to the prevalence of treatment courts across the US and territories. “We are in the process of collecting juvenile treatment court numbers with the assistance of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals to further build out the map,” said NDCRC co-director Christina Lanier. Lanier and co-director Kristen DeVall have led the interdisciplinary team of UNCW researchers, staff and students in creating deliverables such as the interactive map, the “Justice to Healing” podcast and a monthly newsletter. The National Drug Court Resource Center’s mission is to equip treatment court practitioners with an array of resources relevant to the field. The NDCRC is funded by a $2.4 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance; the current cooperative agreement extends through September 2022.

The NDCRC focuses on providing treatment court professionals with the information needed to design and implement programs that align with best practice standards, expand and enhance court operations, and collect and analyze program data. NDCRC resources are featured on the website and include operational materials organized by court type, seminal readings for treatment court stakeholders, a calendar of professional development opportunities, a moderated discussion board for all treatment court professionals, and more.

Treatment Maps WA


Learn more at













The NDCRC is a member of the Bureau of Justice Assistance Training and Technical Assistance Collaborative. The collaborative comprises four organizations: the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, the Center for Court Innovation, the Tribal Law and Policy Institute, and the National Drug Court Resource Center.


































Funding Maps




Linda H. Hollis ’58, a UNCW Society donor and scholarship committee chair of the New Hanover High School Alumni Organization, helped the organization establish the New Hanover High School Alumni Organization Scholarship Endowment to assist NHHS graduates pursuing a degree offered by UNCW. Earl Vaughan Jr. ’76 retired from Fayetteville Publishing Company after 44 years. He is now the editor of Fayetteville’s CityView magazine’s weekly online sports newsletter, “The Press Box.” David Congdon ’78, a UNCW Society and Clocktower Society donor, was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, one of the highest honors a North Carolina governor can confer. Linda Sayed ’78, ’85M, a UNCW Society and Clocktower Society donor, was selected to Business North Carolina magazine’s 2021 Legal Elite list as a top lawyer in the area.



Jon Faill Jr. ’80 retired from HCA Healthcare after 24 years as the American with Disabilities program director. He started ADA Compliance Consulting to continue helping companies with cost-effective ADA compliance. M. Lance Thompson ’83 retired as vice president of The Jackson Companies and general manager of Ocean Lakes Family Campground in Myrtle Beach, SC, after 36 years of service. Janis Bino McDonald ’86 was selected as a member of the first cohort of the NC Space Education Ambassador Program, sponsored by NCSU and NASA. Leigh Wilson Venters ’88, a UNCW Society and Clocktower Society donor, established the Leigh W. Venters Scholarship in Social Work. Rhonda Henry ’90 joined Emmes, a biotechnology company headquartered in Maryland, as president of Emmes BioPharma Group.

Nancy Wilkins ’90 completed her DNP in educational leadership from Liberty University (VA).

John Singleton ’94 was promoted to director of human resources at the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority.

William Wolfe ’90 was appointed as superior court judge in Judicial District 7C by NC Governor Roy Cooper.

Alice Cuthbertson ’95, a teacher at C.F. Pope Elementary School in Burgaw, NC, was named a Teacher of the Week by WWAY.

John Blake ’93, a Clocktower Society donor, is an account manager at Carolina Biological Supply Company, a national supplier of science and math education materials.

Carrie Roeger ’95 was elected chair of the National Association of Home Builders 55+ Housing Industry Council.

Seth Sjostrom ’93 released The Tree Farm, a holiday novel. Jeffrey Gush ’94 published Teaching Small is Big, a book of games and activities for teaching students in physical education. Deborah Meyerson ’94, ’01M and her husband Martin, E.L. White Society and Wilmington Society donors, established the Martin B. Meyerson, M.D. and Deborah J. Meyerson Endowed Trust Fund to advance nursing programs, research and innovation in the UNCW College of Health and Human Services.

David Williams ’95M was named managing director at Deutsche Bank Wealth Management in Charlotte, NC. Hollie Humphrey ’98, ’04M, teacher at South Topsail Elementary School in Hampstead, NC, was named a Teacher of the Week by WWAY. Jill Peters Kaess ’99, a UNCW Society and Clocktower Society donor, was named to Business North Carolina magazine’s 2021 Legal Elite list. Krista Reynolds ’99 and husband Vaughn Reynolds ’98, ’99M, Clocktower and UNCW Society donors, established the Vaughn and Krista Reynolds Athletics Scholarship in Business.


Tracy Hervey ’00M was appointed executive vice president for life sciences markets at SomaLogic, a protein biomarker discovery and clinical diagnostics company in Boulder, Colorado. Rebecca Knudson ’00 was named to Business North Carolina magazine’s 2021 Legal Elite list. Jeff Palis ’01 was named assistant vice president for global education at High Point University. Amber Scarlett ’01 was appointed executive director of the Randolph County (NC) Tourism Development Authority, where she has been employed since 2007. Harvey L. Johnson ’02 was named CEO of PBMares, LLP, a Virginia-based accounting and business consulting firm. Tara Cumbee ’03, a teacher at Union Elementary School in Shallotte, NC, was named a Teacher of the Week by WWAY. Brooke Johnson Delk ’03 and her husband Joe welcomed a son, Jasper Clay, on May 29, 2019. He joins big sister Pepper. Hoyle “Harris” Edgerton ’04 was promoted to vice president of Liquidity Risk Management at U.S. Bank. Ryan Cressler ’05 was named managing director for the Bank of Southern California. Rene Lewis ’05 received tenure and promotion from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Todd Weeks ’05, ’06M and his wife Lauren, UNCW Society donors, established the Todd ’05, ’06M and Lauren Weeks Scholarship in Accountancy to assist the university in meeting its commitment to maintaining a campus environment that values a rich diversity in its student body. Brandon Lewis ’06 was appointed midAtlantic (Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia) regional sales manager for Shannon Ridge Family of Wines. Nealie Williams ’06 is director of business development for Community Association Management Services, a community and condominium association management company with offices throughout North and South Carolina.

Kristen Aycock ’07, ’09M, a high school English teacher with Pitt County Schools in Greenville, NC, achieved National Board Certification in English Language Arts, Adolescence and Young Adulthood. The voluntary standards-based assessment is designed to develop and recognize accomplished K-12 teachers. Lauren Daley ’07, ’10M, incoming president of the Cape Fear Area Alumni Chapter and UNCW Society and Clocktower Society donor, was named the executive director of Wilmington’s Domestic Violence Shelter and Services. Casie Hammons ’07 was named director of development at YWCA in Winston-Salem, NC. April Jones ’07 opened a second location of April Jones Insurance in Hampstead, NC. Densay Sengsoulavong ’07 is CEO of Southern Adirondack Realtors Inc. in Queensbury, New York. Michelle Daniels ’09M was hired as a budget officer for New Hanover County, NC. Megan Piorko ’11 received her Ph.D. in history from Georgia State University before completing a 2020-21 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellowship at the Library Co of Philadelphia. She is a current post-doctoral fellow at the Science History Institute (PA). Lauren Testino Hong ’12, and her husband, Tyler Hong, welcomed a baby girl, Lyla Annette, on November 24, 2020. Emmit Owens ’12M was named interim executive director at the Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster. Sarah Simpson ’12 was awarded a NASA post-doctoral program fellowship. She works at NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, in the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science division. Keith Fraser ’13, ’17M, outgoing Cape Fear Area Alumni Chapter president, joined Human Capital Solutions Inc. in Wilmington, NC as vice president of client relations and recruiting.

Charles L. Cahill February 23, 1933-June 19, 2021

Charles L. Cahill, former UNCW provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, passed away on June 19, 2021. Former UNCW Chancellor William Wagoner named Cahill vice chancellor for academic affairs in 1971 and added the provost’s title in 1985. He returned to the faculty in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in 1992 and served until 2003. Both the Charles L. Cahill Grants for Faculty Scholarship and Cahill Drive are named in his honor. He was born on February 23, 1933, in El Reno, Oklahoma. A basketball scholarship took him to Oklahoma Baptist University, where he earned a bachelor’s in chemistry and a master’s in biochemistry. He earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Oklahoma. Survivors include his wife of 67 years, Dorotha, and four children Steven (wife Freyja), Terri, Susan and Chance; as well as grandsons Patrick (wife Brittney) and Travis (fiancé Meredith).

Lyndsey Joyner ’14, a teacher at Ayden Grifton High School in Pitt County, NC, was named a Teacher of the Week by WITN.



classnotes Troy Slider ’14 along with his wife Lauren, mother Kelly, and brother Shane, established the Tim Slider “It’s Another Day in Paradise” Memorial Scholarship in memory of his late father, Timothy Clarke Slider. An eternal optimist, Tim’s motto was “It’s Another Day in Paradise.” Tim was a proud U.S. Marine and this scholarship will support outstanding students with military affiliations pursuing a degree within the Cameron School of Business. Jordan Wilkins ’14, ’18M, a Triangle Area Alumni Chapter steering committee member and UNCW Society and Clocktower Society donor, joined the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as associate director of development for the North Carolina Botanical Garden. Marc Bergin ’15Ed.D. was appointed superintendent of Bedford County Public Schools (VA).

Damon Lilly ’15, a UNCW Society donor, established the Lilly Family Foundation Scholarship in Communication Studies Endowment. As a communication studies graduate and now the Senior Regional Sales Manager at Aptive Environmental, LLC, Damon recognized the positive impact scholarships made on his life while pursuing his degree. Miranda Lea Patterson ’15 received her doctorate from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Port Orange, FL. Nancy Strickland Fields ’16M was elected to the Southeastern Museums Conference board of directors. Based in Atlanta, SEMC is a networking organization fostering professionalism, support and communication.

Celena Frazier ’16 accepted a position at UNC Lineberger Advanced Cellular Therapeutics Center. The ACT supports clinical trials requiring human cellular therapy products at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. Kyndall DySard ’17 joined software company Red Hat as an analytics communication specialist in its Raleigh office. Patrick Cover, former UNCW golf standout (2014-18), made his PGA tour debut at Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

Shane Benson ’20 joined CloudWyze, a Wilmington-based technology and internet services company, as a service delivery engineer. Logan Sasser ’20 is a music editorial intern for 303 Magazine. Samantha Smithers ’20 is a postpartum nurse at WakeMed Hospital in Cary, NC. The Class Notes are compiled by the Division for University Advancement. *Giving society recognition reflective of November 1, 2020 – April 30, 2021.

Chris Ladner ’18M joined Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage as an assistant comptroller in their Wilmington office. Michelle Mormando ’18 was hired as a certified paralegal at Hogue Hill, LLP in Wilmington.

Creating a Future Like No Other With support from alumni, donors and friends, UNCW can leverage our unique location, innovative programs and expertise to drive real change. U NCW


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Leading the way in Coastal Resiliency, Sustainability and Preparedness

Enriching Experiences through Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Enhancing Health and Quality of Life in our Region and Beyond




Take a deeper dive and explore how you can play an active role in addressing the regional, national and global issues that you care about most.



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Calling all Seahawks! Sara Alice Fussell Messer ’66

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In Memoriam Alumni

October 2, 1939-February 17, 2021

Wilmington College graduate Sara Alice “Sug” Fussell Messer ’66 passed away on Feb. 17, 2021. She was an active member of the Wilmington College Alumni Chapter throughout her life, An advocate for education, she endowed a scholarship to support students from Duplin and Sampson counties and made a point to meet each student recipient. She was preceded in death by her husband, Jim.

Jo Ann Seiple May 23, 1942-April 27, 2021

Jo Ann Seiple, professor emerita and former dean of the UNCW College of Arts and Sciences, passed away on April 27, 2021. She joined UNCW in 1979 as an associate professor in the Department of English and later became department chair. From 1996 to 2004, she served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, establishing the departments of creative writing, film studies, computer science, environmental studies and social work. She continued to teach in the Department of English until retiring with the status of professor emerita. In 2004, the UNCW Board of Trustees unanimously approved a resolution commending her outstanding service to the university. A native of Texas, she earned master’s and doctoral degrees in education and an undergraduate degree in journalism from East Texas State University. She received an MLE fellowship from Harvard University, was an invited participant at the ACE National Forum for Women Leaders in Higher Education and a nominee for the YWCA Women of Achievement in Education Award.

Jerry D. Coleman Sr. ’56

Joseph C. Brown Jr. ’83

Leon J. Mavrolas ’60

Charles W. Ingold ’84

J. William Harris ’66

David E. Bostian Jr. ’85, ’10M

Ralph B. Kornegay ’66

Keith B. Edgerton ’85

Sara F. Messer ’66

Orea Jones-Wells ’86

Franklin L. Pratt ’66

Todd A. Radenbaugh ’87

James H. Blackman ’67

Trent L. Watts ’87

Jimmy B. Cole ’67

Michael A. Williamson Jr. ’91

James V. Neary ’67

Peter G. Clay ’92

Robert M. Kermon III ’68, ’83M

Aleece M. Hanlon ’92

Marion L. Spencer ’70

James E. Lee ’92

Robert E. Spencer ’70

W. Keith Holland ’93

Carolyn E. Hardin ’71

Alisa L. Duncan ’96

Dick E. Miller Jr. ’72

Stephane S. Czajkowski ’97

Lorenzo D. Smith ’72

Valeria W. Davidson ’98

Marian L. Hooks ’73

Renee C. Hanson ’01

M. Adrienne Jackson ’74

Ginger L. Scott ’02M

Daniel F. Dougherty ’75

Elizabeth J. Carswell ’04

Paula B. Browder ’76

Andrea M. Carden ’07

H. Wayne Klander ’76

Angela L. Poindexter ’08

Philip C. Roberson ’77

Phillip A. Barbour ’09

Thomas E. Brandt Jr. ’78

Anne E. Pemberton ’12M

Mary J. Cliche ’79

Micella C. Statuto ’13

Elmo K. Johnson ’79

Jamie L. Glagov ’14

Philip T. Padgett ’81

Darren S. Baker ’18

Charles W. Pake ’81

Harold E. Flinchum

Friends Robert W. Appleton

David L. Jones Sr.

Joseph F. Augustine Jr.

Helena J. Lee

Jeffrey L. Brudney

Sherrill V. Martin

Gilbert H. Burnett

James J. Megivern

Barry C. Burkholder

Fletcher R. Norris

Charles L. Cahill *see page 33

Jo Ann M. Seiple

Kenneth R. Cameron Jr.

John L. Stokes III

Joan S. Gillings

Terry F. Turner Sr.

Donations may be made to the UNCW College of Arts and Sciences in her memory.



Alumni Association

Dr. Philip M. Brown Jr. ’88

Courtney Rickert ’15, ’18M

Wilbur D. Jones Jr.

Edelmira Segovia ’98, ’12 Ed.D.

Distinguished Alumni Awards Four individuals were selected by the UNCW Alumni Association’s Awards and Scholarship Committee to receive the highest honor the university bestows upon its graduates and supporters for extraordinary achievement, outstanding character and exemplary service. The UNCW Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Awards were presented during the university’s virtual Homecoming celebration in February. New this year is the Distinguished Diversity Award, which honors an individual who has made exceptional contributions in diversity, equity, access, inclusion and social justice.

ALUMNUS OF THE YEAR As the executive vice president and chief physician executive at New Hanover Regional Medical Center, Dr. Philip M. Brown Jr. ’88 oversees care quality, care transformation and physician leadership. He has been part of an expansive effort to transition NHRMC, part of the Novant Health family, from a regional medical provider to a more comprehensive health system to serve the region’s health care needs. He has been a community leader on issues including the pandemic and racial justice, and has spoken to diverse communities on COVID-19 precautions and the medical community’s role in addressing social injustice through medical care.

YOUNG ALUMNA OF THE YEAR Winner Courtney Rickert ’15, ’18M is a two-time UNCW alumna with a bachelor’s degree in special education and a master’s degree in public administration. She currently serves as the business operations coordinator for Talbert & Bright Inc., a professional airport engineering and planning consulting firm in Wilmington. Rickert serves children in the Wilmington community through her role as director of Children’s Music at Wrightsville United Methodist Church and vice president of the Board of Young Professionals for Communities and Schools of Cape Fear. Rickert also serves on the Cape Fear Alumni Chapter Leadership Council.

CITIZEN OF THE YEAR Wilbur D. Jones Jr. is a nationally known, award-winning author and military historian. A Wilmington native, he holds a University of North Carolina history degree, is a retired Navy captain, and a former assistant and advance representative to President Gerald Ford. He served the Department of Defense for 41 years, the last 12 as a defense acquisition university professor and associate dean. Jones writes, lectures and consults on World War II and other history and defense issues, and leads North Carolina WWII history preservation projects and tours. For more than 12 years, he conceived and led a successful project seeking national recognition for Wilmington as the first “American World War II Heritage City,” working with the state’s congressional delegation. Jones, a member of the E.L. White Society, has gifted his vast military history collection to Randall Library.

DIVERSITY AWARD Edelmira Segovia, ’98, ’12 Ed.D., the first recipient of the Distinguished Diversity Award, serves as director of Centro Hispano in the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion at UNCW. Centro Hispano provides programs and services to support the growing number of Latinx students attending the university. In her 22 years of work with public education, she has served populations underrepresented in higher education, taught world languages (Spanish and English as a Foreign Language), coordinated migrant education programs and served as a diversity and inclusion administrator. Segovia is co-chair of the UNCW Latino Alliance of Southeastern North Carolina, which builds a network among people and organizations that serve the Latinx community in the region. She recently joined the founding team of the Latin American Business Council of the Greater Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, where she supports accessibility for established Latinx businesses in the region.



NON-PROFIT US POSTAGE PAID HICKORY NC   PERMIT #104 601 South College Road • Wilmington, NC 28403-3297

SAVE THE DATE February 7-13, 2022

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Profile for University of North Carolina Wilmington

UNCW Magazine: Fall 2021  


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