WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- When Rosemary DePaolo steps down June 30, it will cap what has been an up and down tenure as Chancellor. While there have been great successes, critics point to some high-profile stumbles.
DePaolo is leaving UNCW as one of the top five public masters universities in the south and one of the top 20 best values in the nation.
"Whenever I ask any of them what they love most about this university, they all say that it's the people here," DePaolo told WWAY shortly after she was hired in the summer of 2003. "And that's so much to work with. I'm really excited about that."
As she leaves seven years later, DePaolo has a lot to be proud of. Under her leadership, graduation rates have increased by nearly 10 percentage points. UNCW student-athletes have the best graduation rates of any student-athletes in the UNC system. The Princeton Review included UNCW in its "Best in the Southeast" for all seven years of DePaolo's tenure. And the university has constructed or renovated more than two dozen buildings.
But there have also been some serious problems while DePaolo's been at the helm, including the murder of two students in 2004.
DePaolo has also gotten a lot criticism for her handling of the athletics department.
Fans and boosters were disappointed when popular and successful basketball coach Brad Brownell was not re-signed following the 2006 season. He's now coaching in the ACC at Clemson.
This year alone the UNCW Athletics Department has had to replace both head basketball coaches and Athletics Director Kelly Mehrtens. DePaolo just introduced a new AD, Jimmy Bass, Tuesday.
DePaolo came to UNCW from Georgia College and State University, where she served as president for six years. Before she left, the Georgia General Assembly recognized her as one of the best education leaders in the state.