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Left: William H. Wagoner was the last Wilmington College president and the first UNCW chancellor, inaugurated in 1969

After establishing itself as a four-year college in 1963, the next step for Wilmington College was to rally support for joining the University of North Carolina system.

Proponents wrote a legislative bill to mirror the 1965 act that had paved the way for Charlotte College to become UNC-Charlotte. Although some members of the University of North Carolina Board of Trustees opposed expanding the system’s campuses throughout the state, the motion to recommend acceptance of Wilmington and Asheville-Biltmore Colleges passed, and the recommendation went to the North Carolina Board of Higher Education.

Support from Governor Robert Scott helped push the resolution through the Board of Higher Education and on to the legislature. House Bill 308 and Senate Bill 208 were identical bills introduced to the North Carolina General Assembly on March 11, 1969.

Prior independent committee studies on the attributes of Wilmington and Asheville-Biltmore Colleges were positive in their findings. However, there was some outside opposition to expanding the UNC system as well, particularly from Western Carolina University. WCU President Alexander Pow thought this move to expand would work “to impoverish higher education” in North Carolina, and that the move to transform Wilmington and Ashville-Biltmore into UNC schools “did not take Western Carolina University and its role and services in the region into account at all.” WCU voiced its opposition prior to and throughout the General Assembly hearings.

The North Carolina General Assembly (House and Senate) referred the bills to the House and Senate Committees on Higher Education, which returned in favor of accepting both schools in April of 1969. A few Senators and Representatives cast opposing votes, citing the expenses of adding two new campuses to the UNC system.

The General Assembly ratified the bills on April 24, and Wilmington College became part of the UNC system. Before the end of the day, a student-made poster hung at the entrance to the school with the letters “UNCW.” Official recognition of the school as a UNC university came on July 1 with the inauguration of President William H. Wagoner as the first UNCW Chancellor.

 

The full text of the act is below and can be found in the North Carolina Session Laws.

H.B. 308

An act to make Wilmington College and Ashville-Biltmore College campuses of the University of North Carolina under the designations of “The University of North Carolina at Wilmington” and “The University of North Carolina at Ashville.”

The General Assembly of North Carolina do enact:

Section 1. G.S. 116-2 is amended by adding at the end of the subsection (b) of said section the following:

“On July 1, 1969, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington shall become a campus of the University of North Carolina.”

“On July 1, 1969, The University of North Carolina at Asheville shall become a campus of the University of North Carolina.”

Sec. 2. A new Part 3B of Article 1 of Chapter 116 of the General Statues is enacted to read as follows:
“Part 3B. The University of North Carolina at Wilmington.”

“Sec. 116-39.1. The University of North Carolina at Wilmington. (a) Wilmington College shall become a campus of the University of North Carolina under the designation the University of North Carolina at Wilmington on July 1, 1969, whereupon it shall cease to be subject to any of the provisions and terms of Article 2, Chapter 116 of the General Statutes, and shall become subject to the terms of Article 1, Chapter 116 of the General Statues.

“(b) The Board of Trustees of Wilmington College shall, on or before July 1, 1969, execute proper legal instruments conveying to the University of North Carolina, without consideration, all right, title and interest of the grantor in and to the real and personal property of Wilmington College, including all endowments, executors contracts, and unexpended State appropriations or other appropriations; New Hanover County and the City of Wilmington shall continue to be solely liable for the repayment of all indebtedness incurred by that county in aid of Wilmington College.”

Sec. 3. A new Part 3C of Article 1 of Chapter 116 of the General Statues is enacted to read as follows:
“Part 3C. The University of North Carolina at Asheville.”

Sec. 116-39.2. The University of North Carolina at Asheville. (a) Asheville-Biltmore College shall become a campus of the University of North Carolina under the designation the University of North Carolina at Asheville on July 1, 1969, whereupon it shall cease to be subject to the terms and provisions of Article 2, Chapter 116 of the General Statutes, and shall become subject to the terms of Article 1, Chapter 116 of the General Statues.

“(b) The Board of Trustees of Asheville-Biltmore College shall, on or before July 1, 1969, execute proper legal instruments conveying to the University of North Carolina, without consideration, all right, title and interest of the grantor in and to the real and personal property of Asheville-Biltmore College, including all endowments, executors contracts, and unexpended State appropriations or other appropriations; Buncombe County and the City of Asheville shall continue to be solely liable for the repayment of all indebtedness incurred by that county in aid of Asheville-Biltmore College, if such obligations have been heretofore contracted for and assumed.”

Sec. 4. Amend the title to Article 2 of Chapter 116 of the General Statutes by striking out the comma, appearing after the words “Winston-Salem State College”, and by inserting in lieu of said comma a period, and by striking out from said title, or caption, the following: “Asheville-Biltmore College, Wilmington College.”

Sec. 5. Subsection (6) of G. S. 116-45 be, and the same is hereby, repealed.

Sec. 6. G.S. 116-45 be, and the same is hereby, repealed.

Sec. 7. Subsection (1) of G. S. 116-45 is hereby amended by striking out the comma, appearing after the words “Winston-Salem College”, in the last two lines of said subsection, and by inserting in lieu thereof a period, and by striking out the last line of said subsection the words “Asheville-Biltmore College” and “Wilmington College.”

Sec. 8. G. S. 116-189 Subsection (1) is amended by striking out, in the fourth line of said subsection (1), the words “Asheville-Biltmore College”, and by striking out, in the sixth and seventh lines of said subsection (1), the words “Wilmington College.”

Sec. 9. All laws and clauses in conflict with this Act are hereby repealed.

Sec. 10. G.S. 116-39.1(b) and G.S. 116-39.2(b) set forth in Section 2 and Section 3 of this Act, shall take effect upon the ratification of this Act. The remainder of this Act shall take effect on July 1, 1969.
In the General Assembly read three times and ratified, this the 24th day of April, 1969.

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The Big Dance Begins.

Left: The North Carolina House of Representatives salutes the Seahawks in the state Congressional Record. Original is displayed in Trask Coliseum. Images are from University Archives Digital Collections.

Monday, March 6, 2000

UNCW defeated the University of Richmond (57-47) to win the Colonial Athletic Association men's basketball championship for the first time in school history. UNCW head coach was Jerry Wainwright.
March Madness T-shirt in University Archives

Monday, March 4, 2002

The Seahawks beat Virginia Commonwealth 66-51 to win their second CAA title before 7,512 fans at the Richmond Coliseum. They advanced to the 2nd round of NCAA tournament.

Sunday, March 9, 2003

The Seahawks’ 70-62 victory over Drexel University in the CAA championship game sent them to the NCAA tournament for a third time. The 2003 CAA title made UNCW the first repeat CAA champion since Richmond in 1991. It was Coach Wainwright’s 3rd trip to the NCAA with the Seahawks.

Monday, March 6, 2006

Led by Coach Brad Brownell, the Seahawks secured an automatic spot in the tournament by beating Hofstra University (78-67) in the Colonial Athletic Association championship game. UNCW played in the opening round of the NCAA tournament in Greensboro, NC. They were No. 9 seed against No. 8 George Washington.

"Dream Big, Focus Small" in 2002

Dream Big, Focus Small, 2001-2002

 

 

 

2003 Team enjoyed back-to-back Conference wins

2003 Team enjoys back to back conference championship

 

 

 

The 2006 CAA champions in UNCW Magazine

UNCW Magazine, Spring 2006

 

 

 


Addendum

UNCW men’s basketball qualified for postseason play in the NIT in 1998 and 2001.

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At a press conference on February 24, 2003, officials from Wachovia Bank (now Wells Fargo) and UNCW Chancellor James Leutze announced that the bank would contribute $150,000 towards the campaign to create the North Carolina Teachers Legacy Hall. This donation, distributed over three years, gave the school the major financial backing it needed to design and produce the privately funded museum-quality exhibition in the first floor atrium of the Education Building. Legacy Hall offers an interactive environment to celebrate North Carolina educators and the history of teacher education.

Jay Robinson was a founder of Legacy Hall. A tireless advocate for public education in North Carolina, Robinson held a number of leadership positions including state superintendent. Robinson served on the UNCW Board of Trustees and was involved in early plans to honor the teachers of North Carolina through a permanent exhibition in a new education building on campus. According to documents in University Archives from 1997, this exhibition was originally conceived as a “Legacy Wall.” After Robinson passed away in 2000, the university established the Jay Robinson Memorial Fund to raise money for the Legacy Wall and student scholarships. Supporters of the campaign included prominent leaders in North Carolina government, business, and education.

Chancellor James Leutze and Wachovia Bank officials display cheque from Wachovia Bank. The Legacy Wall project expanded to become Legacy Hall in 2001 at the suggestion of Dean Cathy Barlow. The university broke ground on the new state-of-the-art education building in 2002.

Designed by Chermayeff & Geismar and fabricated by Exhibitology, the North Carolina Teachers Legacy Hall serves as a museum, educational center, place to honor North Carolina teachers and principals, and a functional space for students and members of the community. The Hall’s creators intended for it to inspire students to become teachers.

Legacy Hall has nine unique niches featuring educational themes: “Films that Teach,” “Honorees” including Teachers and Principals of the Year, the “School Bus,” “Teaching Awards,” “Teaching News,” “School Desks” throughout time, “Teaching Tools,” a “One-Room Schoolhouse,” and the “Battleship USS North Carolina.” A tenth niche holds the “Bookshelf of Donors.” In addition, the hall features a timeline of education history along the floor of the hall and includes a bust of Jay Robinson. 

In 2008, the Legacy Hall added interactive components to its displays, including digital copies of original textbooks and exams from a one-room schoolhouse, and school bus trivia.

 

To learn more about the Legacy Hall Niches,

click the image to the left.  

 

 

 

Browse the UNCW Magazine to learn more about

Legacy Hall and the Watson College of Education.

 

 

 

 

Visit the University Archives website

by clicking the photograph to the left

& learn more about the history of the Watson College of Education.

 

 

 

 

By Elán Ward

 

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Throughout the history of Wilmington College, and subsequently UNCW, the citizens of New Hanover County have remained steadfast supporters and patrons. 47 years ago, the Board of Trustees cited this community support, in the form of tax levies and referendums, as one of the major factors in the decision to name the new Wilmington College gymnasium “Hanover Hall.”

In 1946, North Carolina Governor Gregg Cherry called for a committee of North Carolina college presidents to brainstorm about ideas for addressing the higher education facilities crisis in their state. Their meeting led to a campaign in New Hanover County spearheaded by Wallace West, Chairman of the Education Committee of the Junior Chamber of Commerce. The importance of the campaign was tantamount. Regardless of the perceived support garnered for the establishment of a local college for Wilmington, the campaign additionally had to convince registered voters to make it to the polls. Any previously registered voter who failed to turn in a ballot counted as a “nay” vote at that time, and posed a serious threat to the college’s establishment.

On voting day, March 25, 1947, the residents of New Hanover County began their legacy as patrons of education. Seventy-four percent of the eligible voters approved a five-cent tax levy on every $100 of property value and raised $36,500.  The state created a Board of Education fund, separate from the rest of the taxes raised, to support the budgets of Wilmington College, and in the end Williston College as well.

Hanover Hall in 2007

The name “Hanover Hall” reflects the essential role of the citizens of New Hanover County in establishing the college, as well as the contribution of the school to preserving the tradition of local history in the area. New Hanover became a county in 1728, named in honor of the Hanoverian Kings who ruled England at that time.
 

Since its groundbreaking on September 26, 1963, “Hanover Hall” has played a number of roles for Wilmington College and UNCW. Originally costing $492,000, the gymnasium was a state of the art home for the Seahawk basketball team from 1965-1977, and hosted Wilmington College’s first 4-year baccalaureate graduation in 1965.  Hanover Hall became a physical education center following the building of Trask Coliseum, and is currently the home of the UNCW Athletic Center and the Seahawk Strength Center.

 

To read about Wilmington College click on the book cover image of From These Beginnings: Wilmington College, 1946-1969.

 

 

 

To see more about the naming of Hanover Hall in the student newspaper, the Seahawk, click on the image of the March 4, 1966 article. 

 

 

By Elán Ward

 

 

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William-Adolphe Bouguereau's "Young Girl Defending Herself Against Eros" ("Jeûne Fille Se Défendant Contre L'Amour") is considered to be his finest piece, a glowing example of the "Academics" approved style of painting by the Academie des Beaux-Artes. This work, which Bouguereau painted for the Paris Salon in 1880, made its way to New York, where it was purchased by Henry Flagler, co-founder of Standard Oil with John D. Rockefeller, and prominent developer of coastal Florida resort towns such as Palm Beach. Flagler kept the painting in his Palm Beach mansion and eventually gave it to his sister-in-law Sarah Graham Kenan in Wilmington.

Mrs. Kenan's house "Sunnyside" was eventually donated, along with its contents, to Wilmington College (UNCW) and is now the Chancellor's home (Kenan House). The painting, a 61x43 inch oil-on-canvas, has taken part in many art exhibits since its "rediscovery" by the art world in 1983, when it was featured as "the lost Bouguereau." It can even be seen in the movie The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, which was filmed in the Kenan House.

On February 12, 2001, after many years on the road in art exhibitions, Bouguereau's "Young Girl Defending Herself Against Eros" returned to the Kenan House, and has remained in North Carolina ever since.

 
Timeline for “Young Girl Defending Herself Against Eros”

♦ 1901/2: Henry Flagler and his wife Mary Lily Kenan Flagler purchased the piece in New York and moved it to their Palm Beach, FL, home “Whitehall.”

♦ Unknown date: Henry Flagler gave the painting to Sarah Graham Kenan.

♦ 1968: James Graham Kenan donated Sarah Graham Kenan's home, located at 17th and Market Streets, and its contents to Wilmington College (UNCW).

♦ Early 1980s: While planning an exhibition featuring Bouguereau, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta searched for a masterpiece that had been missing from the art world for generations, Bouguereau's “Young Girl Defending Herself Against Eros." Museum board member James Kenan told the museum director, Gudmund Vigrel, that this work had always been in his Aunt Sarah's house. Vigrel visited the Kenan House to view the painting and confirmed that it was the long-lost treasure.Campus Communique newsletter 02/22/2001. Reception at Kenan House. Janice and William Kingoff were among guests.

♦ January-October 1983: The High Museum exhibited the painting and included it in a touring exhibit. The Kenan House received “Gaston, Duke of Orleans” by Anthony van Dyck on loan. The Bouguereau painting was insured for $100,000.

♦ November 1983: The Bouguereau painting returned to Kenan House.

♦ 1984-85: Montreal Museum of Fine Arts included the work in a major international Bouguereau exhibition.

♦ 1990: The painting was exhibited at St. John’s Museum of Art.

♦ July 1992: The painting was loaned to the North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA) in Raleigh. It was insured for $2,000,000. Kenan House received “The Countess of Cassel and her son as Venus and Cupid” by François de Troy loaned in return.

♦ 1995: “Young Girl Defending Herself Against Eros” returned to the Kenan House briefly for an art history lecture by Anthony F. Janson.

♦ February 12, 2001: Conservators from NCMA re-installed the painting in the Kenan House with museum-quality lighting. Two Kenan House receptions occurred that month to celebrate the painting’s homecoming.

♦ February 6, 2003: UNCW loaned the piece to the Louise Wells Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington for the museum's grand opening.

♦ 2003-2005: The painting was loaned to NCMA while the Kenan House underwent renovations.

♦ 2009-2011: The painting was returned to NCMA for a grand opening celebration of a renovated wing.

♦ 2011-Present: The painting is displayed in the lobby of the Kenan House.

 

By Elán M. Ward

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