James R. Leutze

James R. Leutze 


University of North Carolina Wilmington

Under the dynamic leadership of Dr. James R. Leutze, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington strengthened its undergraduate teaching and overall academic excellence to become one of the top 10 public regional undergraduate universities in the South. It became recognized nationally for its marine biology program and internationally for its technological initiatives in global learning.

During Dr. Leutze’s tenure, enrollment rose from nearly 7,000 students to approximately 10,600. Even as UNCW's admission standards rose, the number of freshmen admitted continued to grow.

Under his leadership, the university successfully completed its first capital campaign in 1998, raising $25 million for scholarships, professorships and programs supporting UNCW’s educational and service missions. The university’s endowment grew from $4.8 million to nearly $21 million, and the operating budget increased from $58.8 million to more than $134 million.

Likewise, the campus itself grew during Dr. Leutze's tenure to include more than 90 classroom, residential, administrative and support buildings. It continued to grow over the next several years as UNCW undertook its largest construction effort ever using the $108 million higher education facilities bonds approved by voters in 2000. 

A native of Charleston, S.C., Dr. Leutze holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, a master’s degree from the University of Miami and a doctoral degree from Duke University. He served in the U.S. Air Force, rising to the rank of captain, and worked as a legislative assistant for Sen. Hubert Humphrey.

As a professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Dr. Leutze was recognized for his excellence in undergraduate teaching. He was named chair of the Curriculum for Peace, War and Defense and, in recognition of his teaching and research, was appointed the first Dowd Professor of War and Peace. Prior to coming to UNCW in 1990, Dr. Leutze was president of Hampden-Sydney College.

Dr. Leutze created the international affairs program, Globe Watch, which aired for 15 years on public television networks nationally and internationally. Four public television documentaries were produced by the university as a result of his deep interest in addressing environmental issues and their global implications for economics and society: River Run: Down the Cape Fear to the Sea, Treasure Coast: The Natural Heritage of the North Carolina Shore, Currents of Hope: Reclaiming the Neuse River and Paving the American Dream: Southern Cities, Shores and Sprawl.

Dr. Leutze was a prolific researcher and writer. He has published numerous books and articles on international affairs and national security, including Bargaining for Supremacy: Anglo-American Naval Collaboration 1937-41 and A Different Kind of Victory: The Biography of Admiral Thomas C. Hart.

Thanks to Dr. Leutze, UNCW initiated several technological advancements to take a leadership role in the global learning society of the 21st century. These initiatives and the university’s emphasis on regional and global outreach and the development of partnerships provided the basis for UNCW’s involvement in a virtual university pilot project with Japan and other countries. He was appointed by former Gov. Jim Hunt to lead the Digital Communities Project that was spearheaded by the Japanese Industry Development Association, several university presidents and governors of prefectures in Japan.

The governor also appointed Dr. Leutze to chair the N.C. Rural Internet Access Commission, a 21-member group that makes recommendations regarding efforts to provide economically depressed areas with high-speed Internet access. Dr. Leutze was a member of the North Carolina Progress Board and served on the board of directors of the Kenan Institute-Asia, the Daniel D. & Elizabeth H. Cameron Foundation and the Donald R. Watson Foundation. He was a trustee of the George Marshall Foundation.

As chancellor, Dr. Leutze built a firm foundation for the university to grow and excel as it met the challenges of the 21st century and the increasing demand for quality higher education.