About UNCW

Image of Seahawk Sculpture and Hoggard Hall Lawn

“I am not the first to realize and I shall not be the last to point out that the graduates here today have, by their industry and intelligence, turned a dream into a reality.”
-- John T. Hoggard

Legendary Wilmington College President John T. Hoggard began his remarks at the institution’s first commencement ceremony in May 1949 with these heartfelt words. He reflected on the efforts by local leaders and citizens to establish a place of higher learning in Wilmington, recognizing their commitment to a project designed to enhance the quality of life in the region by offering “ambitious young men and women” the advantage of an excellent education.

In closing his remarks, Dr. Hoggard also set the tone, that very day, for the vision that has guided Wilmington College for the past 70 years. Looking forward, he said: “Perhaps it will now be appropriate to tell you that we are dreaming today of a finer and better equipped college…”

Over time, the dream that Dr. Hoggard and countless other founders and supporters first imagined has continued to become a reality. In 1969, Wilmington College joined the UNC system, becoming what is known today as the University of North Carolina Wilmington. In the decades since, UNCW has evolved into a nationally ranked university recognized for its commitment to excellence, student-centered learning experiences, diversity, innovation and community engagement.

UNCW invites all Seahawks to celebrate our 70th anniversary in honor of the visionary leaders, faculty, staff and students who have guided our institution since Wilmington College first opened its doors in 1947.

Source: Dr. John Thomas Hoggard Private Papers, MS037, William M. Randall Library Special Collections, University of North Carolina Wilmington, Wilmington, NC.


UNCW will be recognized for excellence in everything it does, for its global mindset and for its community engagement.


The University of North Carolina Wilmington, the state's coastal university, is dedicated to the integration of teaching and mentoring with research and service. Our commitment to student engagement, creative inquiry, critical thinking, thoughtful expression and responsible citizenship is expressed in our baccalaureate and master's programs, as well as doctoral programs in areas of expertise that serve state needs. Our culture reflects our values of diversity and globalization, ethics and integrity, and excellence and innovation. 


Excellence Diversity
Student-Centered Focus Community Engagement Innovation

Strategic Priorities

  • Attract and retain high-quality, diverse students, faculty and staff; ensure an inclusive campus culture and a global mindset; and increase retention and graduation rates.
  • Enhance learning experiences and educational programs; and advance research and scholarly activities.
  • Enable and nurture a sense of a student-centered community by enhancing academic advising and student support programs for career placement and graduate school.
  • Organize for success, engage with our community and the world, and communicate our efforts broadly and effectively.
  • Fund strategic initiatives by building on strong relationships with all stakeholders.

These priorities will be pursued in an environment that promotes the free exchange of thoughts and opinions, where human dignity is affirmed and respect for each individual is paramount.