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.


 Legacy Hall Niches





Legacy Hall and the Watson College of Education in UNCW Magazine