WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- A legacy seven years in the making. In a news conference this morning, UNCW Chancellor Rosemary DePaolo announced she will retire at the end of this academic year. Chancellor DePaolo said she feels this is the right time to step down after completing a 10-year vision in just seven.
DePaolo believes UNC Wilmington's transformation and redefinition is nearly complete. She has led the renewal of the university, and feels now is the time for a new leader and a new vision.
"I'm announcing this morning that I plan to retire as chancellor of UNCW, effective at the end of this academic year," DePaolo told the audience. "My work will be done."
DePaolo said above everything else, she'll miss the students most.
"I was really shocked," UNCW senior Ashton Brooks said. "I had no idea that she was announcing her retirement, and kind of sad that she's leaving 'cause she's done such a great job with this university and it's achievements so far."
Although it seemed abrupt to some, DePaolo said she has been preparing to leave for a while, but two issues kept her from making this decision a year ago: the budget being at its worst and the need for one more big push toward unity.
"Working with people to say, 'Here's what we're going to achieve, and we're not going to let anything stop us.' I think that's the greatest achievement that I'll look back on," DePaolo said.
David Swain is the newest member of the UNCW Board of Trustees, but he has known DePaolo since the beginning. He was part of the selection committee that chose her.
"She knew the direction she wanted to go to lead this university to the next level," Swain said. "She had the charisma that we were looking for and the passion for it. She has had that for her entire tenure here, and you can see that by the leadership that she has brought to this university and the growth that we've had here."
DePaolo is looking forward to living life at a slower pace after leading what she calls "UNC Wonderful." She's excited to spend time with her husband, travel and actually have time to read.