Awards & Scholarships

Open Nominations

Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Awards

The UNCW Alumni Association recognizes alumni and friends for their outstanding achievements and their service to the university and community. Award recipients are honored each year during Homecoming.

View the full list of past Distinguished Award recipients >>

Nominations are currently open:

Distinguished Young Alumnus/a of the Year Nomination
  • Alumni who have graduated within the last 10 years are eligible for this award that honors individuals demonstrating commitment to the university and the association’s mission, vision and values.
Distinguished Alumnus/a of the Year Nomination
  • This prestigious award recognizes alumni who provide outstanding service to the university and have achieved distinction in their professional accomplishments.
Distinguished Citizen of the Year Nomination
  • This award honors community members who provide uncommon and outstanding service to the university.

Questions? Contact Dianne Connor at (910) 962.2682 or

2018 Alumni Award Honorees

Rachael Beatty '13Distinguished Young Alumna
of the Year:
Rachael Beatty '13

Rachael Beatty embodies the Seahawk value of service by making a difference in her community through volunteering. She is an active member in the Junior League of Wilmington, where she serves as chair of the Bargain Sale and One Day committees.

The Bargain Sale raises money for charities that fit the mission of the local Junior League to empower women and enrich the local community. As the One Day chair, Rachael helps organize a local Saturday Service event each quarter including Yam Jam. Rachael is also a volunteer speaker at Noble Middle School and a former volunteer for the New Hanover Regional Medical Center Pediatric Department. She gives back to her alma mater by serving on the UNCW Alumni Steering Committee and is an annual donor.

Rachael earned a bachelor’s degree in clinical research in 2013, which led to an internship at PPD followed by a job offer as a clinical research associate (CRA) after graduation. Rachael has served in PPD’s CRA Peer Mentor program for four years. As a mentor, she meets with new CRAs and assists with their transition into the role and PPD.

As a member of PPD’s Charitable Affairs Committee, Rachael serves as a liaison to volunteer efforts between PPD and Lower Cape Fear Hospice. Rachael is currently pursuing her M.B.A. at NC State University, where she was previously a McLauchlan Leadership Fellow and NCSU Professional MBA board president.

Brandon Beane '98Distinguished Alumnus
of the Year:
Brandon Beane '98

Brandon Beane’s drive and determination has led to a successful career in the National Football League. He spent 19 years with the Carolina Panthers, beginning as an intern in the Panther’s media relations office after graduating from UNCW. Brandon worked his way up, landing a job as director of football operations. He also served as interim general manager.

In 2015, he was named the organization’s assistant general manager. Brandon was heavily involved in football operations, player contracts and scouting for the Panthers organization. His vast knowledge, experience and work ethic landed him the position of general manager of the Buffalo Bills in May 2017.

Brandon’s community outreach includes volunteering as a youth basketball and football coach in Fort Mill, SC and visiting children at the Levine Children's Hospital during his tenure with the Carolina Panthers and the John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital in Buffalo. He speaks regularly to civic organizations, schools and colleges about the professional sports industry.

Brandon received a bachelor’s degree in communication studies at UNCW. He and his wife, Hayley ’98 (B.A., Spanish), have two sons.

Amy WrightBen Wright '98Distinguished Citizens of the Year:
Amy & Ben Wright '98


Amy and Ben Wright ’98 made it their mission to create an inclusive environment where individuals with intellectual developmental disabilities are valued and accepted. They sought opportunities to provide employment for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Amy’s vision for reducing the unemployment rate for people with IDD led her to establish Bitty’s & Beau’s Coffee, named after the couple’s two youngest children, both with Down syndrome.

The coffee shop opened in January 2016 with nearly a twenty staff members. Today, it employs 40 workers. Proceeds from the coffee shop fund Amy’s nonprofit, ABLE to Work USA, dedicated to helping individuals with IDD find meaningful employment.

Ben is the owner of Dye Creek Capital, an independent investment practice. His practice employs adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities as “client hospitality associates.”

The Wrights’ work to change perceptions of individuals with disabilities goes beyond their businesses. Amy has been a guest blogger for Maria Shriver's "Architects of Change,” created music videos for the Special Olympics and Best Buddies International and composed original music and lyrics for an album of children's music. Most recently, she completed a screenplay, which stars a young man with Down syndrome.

Ben, who earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy and religion from UNCW, has served as president of the board of Smart Start of New Hanover County and as chair of the investment committee and treasurer of the National Down Syndrome Society. In 2016, he was appointed to the board of trustees for the newly created North Carolina ABLE Program.

Bitty and Beau’s Coffee has received state and national attention, including being featured on the “Today Show,” “Rachel Ray Show,” “Good Morning America,” “Harry” and Southern Living and People magazines. The coffee shop was named the 2017 Coastal Entrepreneur of the Year, a joint program by UNCW’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Greater Wilmington Business Journal. Amy was selected as the 2017 CNN Hero of the Year.

Professional School Awards

Cameron School of Business Outstanding Alumni Awards

The UNCW Cameron School of Business (CSB) annually recognizes alumni who have achieved honor and distinction within their professional or personal lives. The awards are presented at the CSB Outstanding Alumni event during Business Week in the spring.

Recipient Information >>

School of Nursing Annual Alumni Awards

The UNCW School of Nursing Outstanding Alumnus of the Year Award is presented annually at the Nurses Day Banquet in May. Nominees for this award must have graduated in 2010 or prior, exemplify the spirit of excellence in nursing and provide service to their community. Nomination forms are available in the spring and accepted from alumni, faculty, staff and community members.

Recipient Information >>

Watson College of Education Alumni Awards

The UNCW Watson College of Education (WCE) Alumni Chapter recognizes alumni who have made significant contributions to education and represent the commitment to excellence typified by the Watson College of Education. Nominations for these annual awards are available in the spring and accepted from alumni, faculty, staff and community members. The award is presented at a WCE alumni reception.

Recipient Information >>

Vice Chancellor Leonard with student award recipient at Cornerstone Awards

Student Awards

UNCW students, staff or faculty can nominate graduating seniors for two awards presented by the association at the Cornerstone Award Luncheon in May. Visit the award website for details.

William A. Bryan Senior Leader Award

Honors members of the senior class who best exemplify the ideals of service to others, collaboration, leadership and devotion to UNCW, while maintaining a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or higher. Recipient receives an inscribed clock from the UNCW Alumni Association.

Rachael Freeman Service Leadership Award

Honors members of the senior class who best embody the ideals of service to others, commitment to social justice and collaborative leadership. Recipient receives a cash award of $250 sponsored by the UNCW Alumni Association.

Faculty Awards

J. Marshall Crews Distinguished Faculty Award

The J. Marshall Crews Distinguished Faculty Award honors faculty who exhibit the qualities of service and leadership that Dr. Crews personified throughout his life.

Nominations may be submitted by alumni, faculty, staff, students or community members. The recipient will be awarded a $500 stipend when the award is presented at the fall faculty meeting in September.

Nominate a faculty member >>

Past recipients and other faculty award winners >>

2018 J. Marshall Crews Honoree

Dr. Tom Janicki

Jeanne M. Persuit
Associate Professor in Communication Studies

Learn more »

Alumni Association Scholarships

The UNCW Alumni Association annually awards more than $50,000 in scholarships funded by alumni contributions.

These scholarships are awarded based on academic merit to current undergraduate and graduate students as well as incoming and transfer students. To find more awards, view all donor-funded scholarships.

Teague Scholarship

When I retired, I decided at that point, that I would like to do the same thing for a student that was done for me when I was coming along. So, the A. Farrell Teague Merit Scholarship was originated.

A. Farrell Teague '54
2016 UNCW Alumni Association Distinguished Citizen of the Year

Want to get involved?

Revenue from UNCW license plates directly supports scholarship awards. Gifts to a specific scholarship can be made by searching the scholarship name on the online gift form.

The 2018 – 2019 UNCW scholarship application is closed and all recipients have been selected and notified of their award. Applicants not receiving an award will not be contacted.

For scholarship criteria, view this printable PDF or search by keyword in the scholarship application to find details on all UNCW scholarships.

Scholarships awarded by the Alumni Association
  • Alumni Legacy Scholarship
  • Alumni Graduate Scholarship
  • Alumni Association Bob King '66 Scholarship
  • Cape Fear Bank/John Cameron Coburn Alumni Scholarship
  • Claire Stanley Student Ambassador Scholarship
  • Gerald Shinn UNCW Alumni Association Merit Scholarship
  • Geraldine King Morris Nursing Scholarship
  • Hugh Henry Fox UNCW Alumni Association Scholarship
  • Jim A. Humphries Memorial Scholarship
  • Lewis/Wiley Alumni Graduate Fellowship
  • Mary Catherine, Susan & Elizabeth James Alumni Association Scholarship
  • Perry Daniel Lockamy Jr. '63 Memorial UNCW Alumni Association Graduate Scholarship
  • Sara Fussell Messer '66 Scholarship
  • The Alumni Association Patricia Corcoran Smith '72 Scholarship
  • Watson School of Education Alumni Chapter Scholarship
  • Wilmington College Alumni Scholarship
Scholarships established in part by the Alumni Association
  • The Betty Jo Welch Communications Studies Alumni Scholarship
  • The Denis G. Carter Scholarship
  • The Triad Alumni Chapter Scholarship

For more information, contact the Scholarships & Financial Aid Office at (910) 962.3478 or

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