Although Trask Coliseum was constructed in 1978, it did not get air conditioning until 1983. State policy prohibited the use of state funds for air conditioning in sports coliseums. Private donations paid for the $385,000 project. Fundraisers included a chowder contest and a Hank Williams Jr., benefit concert.
The speaker for the 34th commencement program was distinguished educator Dr. Stephen J. Wright. He was the first African American commencement speaker at UNCW. Renowned artist and founder of the art department, Claude Howell, received the honorary doctorate.
Article about air-conditioned commencement, 1983 UNCW Today alumni newspaper
Chancellor Wagoner honors donors to Trask air conditioning fund, Seahawk newspaper, Feb. 10, 1983