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DePaolo Named Chancellor of UNC Wilmington

Atlanta — March 21, 2003

Dr. Rosemary DePaolo thumbnail
Dr. Rosemary DePaolo

Media Contacts:
Joni Worthington, UNC Office of the President: 919-962-4629
Mimi Cunningham, UNC Wilmington: 910-962-3171

Rosemary DePaolo, president of Georgia College & State University since 1997, has been elected chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington by the Board of Governors of the 16-campus University of North Carolina. UNC President Molly Corbett Broad placed DePaolo’s name in nomination today (March 21) during the board’s regular March meeting. DePaolo, 55, will assume her new duties on or before July 15, succeeding James R. Luetze, who announced last August that he would retire at the end of the academic year. Leutze, a military historian who has served as the campus’ top administrator for the past 13 years, plans to return to the UNCW faculty following a research leave.

In recommending DePaolo to the Board of Governors, Broad said: “Rosemary DePaolo brings to UNC Wilmington a proven record of leadership earned through administrative experience at all academic levels. While rising through the ranks of the faculty, she has consistently demonstrated a passionate commitment to excellence in undergraduate education, as well as a deep understanding of the special relationship between public institutions and the regions they were founded to serve. Dr. DePaolo is no stranger to the University of North Carolina, having served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Western Carolina University just prior to assuming the presidency of Georgia College & State University. We are delighted to bring her back to North Carolina and to UNC Wilmington.”

Located in Milledgeville, GC&SU is Georgia’s only public liberal arts university. Emphasizing undergraduate education and selected master’s degree programs, it is organized into schools of business, education, health sciences, and liberal arts and sciences. The university enrolls approximately 5,500 students.

A native of Long Island, NY, DePaolo holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Queens College of the City University of New York. She attended Rutgers University as a Woodrow Wilson fellow, earning master’s and doctoral degrees in 18th-century English literature.

After receiving her doctorate in 1979, DePaolo joined the faculty of Augusta College in Georgia as an assistant professor of English, rising to the rank of professor by 1989. While at Augusta, she served as the founding director of the college’s Center for Humanities, which worked with the region’s public schools, as well as the medical, arts, and business communities.

In 1990, DePaolo was recruited to Georgia Southern University, where she served as assistant dean for curriculum and student services. Three years later, she moved to North Carolina to become dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, a post she held until being elected president of GC&SU in 1997. Under her leadership, WCU’s college advanced technology in teaching and learning, attracted its first endowed professorship, and secured approval and funding for a $28-million fine and performing arts center.

During her six-year tenure as GC&SU’s chief executive officer, DePaolo has been credited with leading the institution through a period of unprecedented change, including the adoption of a new mission that accompanied its designation as Georgia’s public liberal arts university. Under her leadership, the university also has begun nearly $100 million in major construction and renovation projects.

“Rosemary DePaolo has left phenomenal and indelible marks of excellence on Georgia College & State University,” said Thomas C. Meredith, chancellor of the University System of Georgia. “She has steered the course for this institution’s rise in stature, student-centeredness, and academic quality throughout her administration. While we are saddened to see her move on to this next important step in her career, we will look forward to learning of her continuing achievements as an outstanding academic leader. UNC should consider itself extremely fortunate to have nabbed one of our true stars.”

Active in professional and civic organizations, DePaolo has spoken and consulted widely on issues related to liberal arts education and 18th-century literature. Chair of the board of the Georgia Humanities Council, she currently serves on the boards of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the United Way of Central Georgia, the Peach Belt Athletic Conference, the Andalusia/Flannery O’Conner Foundation, the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education, and the Georgia Early Learning Initiative, among others. She also has served on committees and commissions of the American Association of Colleges & Universities and the American Council on Education. Georgia Trend magazine has named her to its annual listings of most influential and most notable Georgians.

DePaolo is married to Fred Wharton, a retired professor of English.

UNC Wilmington
Founded in 1947 as Wilmington College, then a two-year institution, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington was authorized to grant four-year degrees in 1963 and brought under the umbrella of the University of North Carolina in 1969. Now ranked among the top 10 public regional universities in the South by U.S. News & World Report, UNCW is a Comprehensive Level I institution offering 71 bachelor’s and 25 master’s degree programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, and nursing, as well as a single doctoral degree program in marine biology. Over the past decade, enrollment has grown by nearly 25 percent, rising from 8,800 in 1992 to 10,900 last fall.

The University of North Carolina
The oldest public university in the nation, the University of North Carolina enrolls 177,000 students and encompasses all 16 of North Carolina’s public institutions that grant baccalaureate degrees. UNC campuses support a broad array of distinguished liberal-arts programs, two medical schools and one teaching hospital, two law schools, a veterinary school, a school of pharmacy, ten nursing programs, 15 schools of education, three schools of engineering, and a specialized school for performing artists. Also under the University umbrella are the UNC Center for Public Television with its 11-station statewide broadcast network, and the NC School of Science and Mathematics, the nation’s first public residential high school for gifted students.

NOTE TO EDITORS: An electronic version of this release and a photograph of Dr. DePaolo may be found on the University of North Carolina website at

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