University Archives Spotlight--This Week in UNCW History: UNCW celebrates 25 years of musical summer theater, August 4-7, 1983

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For many years, Wilmington audiences have enjoyed UNCW student theater.

Wilmington College Dramatics club (1951)


UNCW Student Theater Timeline: First 25 Years

*Gathered from archival sources including the student newspaper and the UNCW faculty/staff newsletter


1957 - Wilmington College Theatre debuted with "The Silver Whistle."

University Archives Spotlight--This Week in UNCW History: Seahawk statue stolen, July 22, 2003

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10 years ago, the bronze Seahawk mascot in front of Warwick Center was stolen but quickly recovered.

Photo of Seahawk sculpture. Artist: Joe Orlando. Photo is from Randall Library Digital Collections: Visual Art Community of Wilmington and Southeasters N.C.: A Digital Exhibit.

On July 22, 2003, the UNCW mascot sculpture that had been perched on a rock in front of Warwick Center was reported missing. Fortunately, the bird was found very soon after its disappearance.

From the University Archives--This Week in UNCW History: Dr. Eaton was first African American chair of UNCW Board of Trustees, July 15, 1981

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Dr. Eaton chaired the BOT from 1981-1983.

Photograph of the Board of Trustees. Dr. Hubert Eaton is in the 1st row, 3rd from left.

Hubert A. Eaton (1916-1991), longtime Wilmington, N.C., physician, became the first African American chair of the UNCW Board of Trustees.

He was also a nationally ranked tennis amateur and mentor to Althea Gibson. As a civil rights leader, Dr. Eaton was the primary catalyst for the integration of UNCW, the New Hanover County Schools and the county hospitals.

From the University Archives--This Month in UNCW History: Dr. Randall comments on "Speaker Ban Law," July 2, 1963

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This year is the 50th anniversary of the NC Speaker Ban Law.

On Wilmington College's first day as a four-year college, president William M. Randall responded to questions about a new law, HB 1395, An Act to Regulate Visiting Speakers at State Supported Colleges and Universities. The act became widely known as the "Speaker Ban Law."

From the University Archives--This Week in UNCW History: Wilmington College becomes a senior college, July 1, 1963

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Dreams came true when Wilmington College reached 4-year status.

2013 marks the 50th anniversary of S.B. 72, Chapter 48, "An Act to Promote and Encourage Education Beyond the High School in North Carolina." This act by the N.C. Legislature established Asheville-Biltmore College, Charlotte College, and Wilmington College as public senior colleges effective July 1.

From the University Archives--This Week in UNCW History: Joint Resolution honors Seahawks for National Junior College Baseball Championship, June 25, 1963

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The Wilmington College baseball team became national champions for the 2nd time in 3 years.

50 years ago, on June 3, 1963, the Wilmington College baseball team won the National Junior College Baseball Championship in Grand Junction, Colo.  On June 18, the North Carolina Senate adopted Joint Resolution 86 officially commending the team and the college on this accomplishment. The resolution was  was ratified on June 25.

From the University Archives--This Week in UNCW History: Wilmington College holds first commencement as a four-year college, June 13, 1965

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First group of seniors are awarded bachelor's degrees at graduation

50 seniors earned bachelor degrees on June 13, 1965. They were the first recipients of the bachelor degree in the school's history. 22 additional students expecting to graduate in August were also listed in the program.

In the minutes of the Board of Trustees of Wilmington College, president William Randall announced final plans for this special commencement ceremony.

From the University Archives--This Week in UNCW History: Classes begin on College Road, June 5, 1961

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New Wilmington College opened for summer.

Wilmington College moved from the Isaac Bear building--a former elementary school on Market Street--to College Road just in time for summer school.  College officials moved in May and June, and summer school began on June 5. The new Wilmington College had three buildings: Alderman, Hinton James, and Hoggard. Groundbreaking was on April 1, 1960.

Registration for the first summer session was June 5, 1961. The term ran through July 13.

From the University Archives--This Week in UNCW History: First graduation ceremony, May 31, 1949

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Graduates make history and celebrate a new beginning.

UNCW's first graduation ceremony awarded 14 associate's degrees on May 31, 1949. There were many more students who registered in 1946-1947. We do not know why so many students left, but it is possible that many transferred while others had work obligations. The college was founded in part to serve GI's returning from service during World War II.

Program for the first graduation