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Higher Education in Wilmington Sees Rash of Exits in Less than One Year

Top (l-r): Larry Clark (UNCW Cameron School of Business), Rebecca Porterfield (UNCW Cameron School), Charles Maimone (UNCW CFO), Gary Miller (UNCW Chanc.); bottom (l-r): Norman Bemelmans (UNCW), Tom Ross (UNC), Denise Battles (UNCW), Ted Spring (CFCC)

In less than 12 months, a spate of high-profile leaders have left the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.  The resignation of Cape Fear Community College President Ted Spring raises questions about the rash of exits in Wilmington’s two institutions of higher education. 

The notable departures began last February with Larry Clark, Dean of the Cameron School of Business.  Just two months after Clark’s exit, his Graduate Associate Dean, Rebecca Porterfield, also takes another job. 

That was April. 

Then last May, Chief Financial Officer Charles Maimone leaves for UNC-G. 

One more month passes, and Chancellor Gary Miller resigns after some highly-publicized skirmishes with the UNCW Board. 

In November, the University’s Director of Cultural Arts, Norman Bemelmans steps aside. 

Just this month, Provost Denise Battles accepts the job of President at the State University of New York at Geneseo.   

One week ago, the UNC Board of Trustees forces out System President Tom Ross. 

And now the most recent departure of a prominent local leader in higher education:  Cape Fear Community College President Ted Spring steps down unexpectedly Thursday, reportedly amid criticism of his handling of a discretionary spending fund. 

Amanda Lee will serve as interim President at CFCC.  Marilyn Sheerer, Provost at East Carolina University for seven years, will take the interim Provost position at UNCW at the end of the spring semester.

Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 2 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.