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University of North Carolina Wilmington Academic Department Records

 Record Group
Identifier: UA-RG-05

Scope and Contents

The University of North Carolina Wilmington Academic Department Records consist of administrative materials from academic departments of Wilmington College and the University of North Carolina Wilmington. The collection demonstrates a history of increasing complexity in organizational structure along with changing and expanding curricula. Wilmington College began as a county-supported two-year college before becoming one of 16 constitutent institutions in the University of North Carolina System of public higher education and a nationally recognized university. Records include planning reports, annual reports, correspondence, departmental self-study reports, and departmental meeting minutes. Unique pieces in the record group are posters and programs for the Straw Hat Theatre; scrapbooks created by Claude Howell, founder of the Department of Art; and materials on Aquarius, the undersea laboratory operated by the Center for Marine Science for the National Undersea Research Program.


  • Creation: 1953-2022


Conditions Governing Access

The materials in files leading off with "Fink, Carole" in the Department of History records must be used onsite and cannot be reproduced. The other materials in the collection are open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

The content described is copyrighted and presented courtesy of the University of North Carolina Wilmington Randall Library. This material may be used for educational and scholarship purposes provided: a) proper attribution accompanies any use of the content; b) the use, copy, republication, display, and/or distribution is not for commercial purposes; and c) you may not alter, add to, change, modify, or revise the subject content.

Biographical / Historical

Wilmington College opened in 1947, under the authority of the New Hanover County Board of Education. Financial support came from a county-wide tax levy voted by the citizens in addition to tuition fees. The principal of New Hanover High School, Thomas T. Hamilton, simultaneously served as first college president. Dale K. Spencer, principal at another local school, simultaneously served as the first Dean. In 1948, Wilmington College acquired space for administrative offices in the Isaac Bear building, a former elementary school, and R. C. Beemon became Dean. The Dean coordinated with John T. Hoggard, chair of the board of education and second college president, and H. M. Roland, Superintendent. In 1952, William Madison Randall, driving south with his wife, had an automobile accident in Wilmington. Educators and civic leaders heard that an experienced academic administrator was in the hospital and called on him to apply for the Dean position that had become vacant at the young college. Randall was Dean until 1958 when he became college president. Wilmington College offered one diploma, the associate in arts. The college offered a two-year college transfer program, preparing students to enroll in a four-year college or university, along with terminal programs in vocational and technical fields. The Distributive Education division provided training and short courses for adult learners in the community. Topics included practical nursing, driver education, and small boat handling.

Wilmington College moved to a new campus on College Road and became a four-year liberal arts school, awarding its first baccalaureate degrees in 1965. The Academic Dean continued to serve in administration, reporting to the Vice-Chancellor of Academic Affairs/Provost starting in 1972. In 1979, the university reorganized into colleges or schools, with each unit having its own Dean reporting to the Provost. In the 1970s, the university began offering graduate degrees.

In 1980 the institution made the decision to move the department of business to its own school, the school of business administration. Cameron School of Business became the new name in 1983. College of Health and Human Services was created by bringing the nursing school and physical education and recreation departments together. College of Humanities, Social Sciences, and the Arts and the College of Science and Engineering were originally under one department, College of Arts and Sciences, until July 2023 when it was determined it would be better for the university to split them into two different departments. Center for Marine Science is a branch of the institution. It started out as two different establishments, Institute of Marine Biomedical Research and Wrightsville Marine-Biomedical Laboratory, which were partners with Wilmington College during the 1960s. Along with the business department, in 1980, the institution made the decision to move the department of education to its own school, the school of education. 1994 name changed to Watson School of Education.


57 Linear Feet (43 records center boxes, 6 program boxes, 1 scrapbook, 1 oversize box/object, 14 oversize folders)

Language of Materials


Spanish; Castilian


This collection is arranged by series: I. Wilmington College, II. Arts and Sciences Admnistration, III. Cameron School of Business, IV. College of Health and Human Services, V. College of Humanities, Social Sciences and the Arts, VI. College of Science and Engineering, VII. Center for Marine Science, VIII. Watson College of Education, and IX. Oversize. Within Series I through VIII, files are arranged alphabetically and then chronologically. The Oversize series is arranged by topic.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Nina Herzog in Spring, 2023.

University of North Carolina Wilmington Academic Department Records
Nina Herzog
2023 December
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives Repository