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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.

NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) 1st place trophy 1963

NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) national champions 1963 - baseball bat

Wilmington College 1964 yearbook celebrates team


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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.

Commencement was held in the Physical Education Building on campus (later named Hanover Hall). Lieutenant Governor Robert Scott gave the commencement address. According to the Seahawk student newspaper, Father O'Connell of St. Mary's Catholic Church gave the invocation.



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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.

The new campus and its buildings were dedicated on November 19, 1961 in a special ceremony with visiting dignitaries including William C. Friday, president of the Consolidated University of North Carolina, and NC Governor Terry Sanford.

Read in the Seahawk student newspaper:

Summer School Sessions in New Wilmington College, May 11, 1961

Move to New Campus Marks Active Year, May 16, 1962

Aerial view, Wilmington College, 1962

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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

Oral history interview transcript, Mary D. Bellamy, professor and chair of the first graduation committee

College to hold first graduation, article in Seahawk student newspaper May 13, 1949

List of students registered at Wilmington College, 1946-1947