On October 24, 1993, a plaque was dedicated in Randall Library to commemorate and honor the members of the Order of Isaac Bear, an honorary organization of the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Former Chancellor William H. Wagoner founded the organization as a way to recognize members of the UNCW faculty. These members of the faculty had taught in the Isaac Bear building on Market Street, the original location of Wilmington College later UNCW, and were still employed by UNCW in 1987. The original Isaac Bear building had been an elementary school before it was home to Wilmington College. The former elementary school, Bear Hall on our current campus, and the Order of Isaac Bear were all named in honor of Isaac Bear, the brother of a local businessman.
As inscribed on the plaque, "Founded in 1988, the Order recognizes those who have demonstrated loyalty to UNCW, contributed to the academic quality of the University, or had a significant role in uniting the institution and the community." Listed are charter members Louis Adcock, Mary Bellamy, Walter Biggs, William Brooks, Thomas Brown, Joanne Corbett, Marshall Crews, Calvin Doss, Thomas Lupton, Dorothy Marshall, Duncan Randall, Gerald Rosselet, and Doug Swink. Chancellor Wagoner had an honorary membership.
In 1991, the Order expanded membership beyond faculty members who worked at Wilmington College on Market Street. Members of the staff and faculty who had contributed to the development of UNCW are invited to the Order. Associate memberships are for people who aided in the founding of the institution and for members of the Board of Trustees.