Wednesday, November 23, 2011

No Feat Too Large for Dedicated Alumnus

Showcased as one of the most beautiful alumni facilities in the south, the Wise Alumni House can attribute its grand appeal, in part, to the passion and dedication of a small group of alumni. Donated to the university by Ms. Jessie Hargrave Kenan Wise's grandchildren, the historic mansion had to undergo considerable renovations in order to become the home of the Alumni Association. Renovations so substantial, that the alumni association secured a $400,000 loan to make them possible. For one of the devoted supporters, Jim Stasios '70, this type of commitment was nothing new. 

Jim's history with UNCW includes many of our most memorable achievements, including the day that the university, then Wilmington College, became part of the UNC system. Jim remembers modifying and combining a few car decals to form UNC Wilmington on the back window of his Volkswagen the day he heard the news.

Jim with his wife, Maria
It wasn't long after graduation that Jim first became involved with the Alumni Association. After attending several events, Jim joined the Board of Directors and later served as chairperson. During Jim's time on the alumni board the association developed the UNCW license plate program, supporting student scholarships. It was also during this time that the Wise Alumni House renovation project took place. Efforts to raise funds to retire the note included a home decorators showcase with celebrity Martha Stewart, automobile auctions and "hard hat parties" where donors would sponsor a particular room or structure of the house.

The volunteers celebrated when they had finally collected all the funds to retire the loan, and then again years later when the house achieved it's centennial. "That was a very proud moment for all of us. To have that come about and having the historical marker put out on the front of the house." Jim stated.

Jim has had an impact in many areas at UNCW, and his volunteer roles weren't always singularly focused or consecutive, sometimes he was juggling multiple organizations. "At one time I sort of overlapped, where I was a member of the alumni board, involved with the Seahawk Club board and I was on the Foundation Board." said Jim. Similar to the duration he was involved with the alumni board, he appreciated the experiences with these organizations immensely. "I met a whole other group of people who had involvement with the university, but in a different perspective. I enjoyed that very much."

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