At the University of North Carolina Wilmington, passionate and engaged teaching, learning and research matter. The university maintains an intimate learning environment, integrating teaching and mentoring with research and service.
Founded in 1946, the University of North Carolina Wilmington is widely acknowledged for our superb faculty and staff and continuously recognized at a national level for scholarly excellence and affordability.
UNCW offers a powerful academic experience that stimulates creative inquiry, critical thinking, thoughtful expression and responsible citizenship. Our university offers a wide variety of high-quality programs at all levels, both at the North Carolina campus and online.
UNCW is recognized nationally as military friendly. In 2018, U.S. News & World Report ranked the university among the top 10 "Best Colleges for Veterans" in the South.
The University of North Carolina Wilmington, the state's coastal university, is dedicated to the integration of teaching and mentoring with research and service. Our commitment to student engagement, creative inquiry, critical thinking, thoughtful expression, and responsible citizenship is expressed in our baccalaureate and master's programs, as well as doctoral programs in areas of expertise that serve state needs. Our culture reflects our values of diversity and globalization, ethics and integrity, and excellence and innovation.
UNCW will be recognized for excellence in everything it does, for its global mindset and for its community engagement.
UNC Wilmington History and Traditions
1946 - A college center was established under the direction of the North Carolina College Conference and under the administration of the Directorate of Extension of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The center offered courses on the freshman level to some 250 students during the 1946-47 academic year.
1947 - A tax levy was approved by the citizens of New Hanover County, and Wilmington College was brought into existence as a county institution under the control of the New Hanover County Board of Education.
1948 - Wilmington College was officially accredited by the North Carolina College Conference and became a member of the American Association of Junior Colleges.
1952 - The institution was accredited as a junior college by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
1958 - New Hanover County voted to place the college under the Community College Act of the state of North Carolina, making it a part of the state system of higher education. Control passed from the New Hanover County Board of Education to a board of 12 trustees, eight of whom were appointed locally and four of whom were appointed by the governor of the state. Requirements for admission and graduation and the general academic standards of the college came under the supervision of the North Carolina Board of Higher Education, and the college began to receive an appropriation from the state for operating expenses in addition to the local tax.
1963 - By an act of the General Assembly of North Carolina, Wilmington College became a senior college with a four-year curriculum, authorized to offer the bachelor's degree.
1968-69 - By vote of the Board of Trustees of the University of North Carolina, with subsequent approval by the North Carolina Board of Higher Education, and by an act of the General Assembly of North Carolina, Wilmington College became the University of North Carolina Wilmington.
1977 - The Board of Governors authorized the University of North Carolina Wilmington to offer its first graduate programs at the master's level.
1985 - The Board of Governors elevated the University of North Carolina Wilmington to a Comprehensive Level I University.