NCICU Holds Annual Ethics Bowl

NCICU will hold its annual Ethics Bowl virtually Friday, February 11. The theme of this year’s competition is Ethics in Democracy and Citizenship. Thirteen colleges will be participating in the Ethics Bowl.

Due to the virtual format, the event will be streamlined from the usual two-day schedule to three rounds of competition on Friday afternoon. Each Ethics Bowl team consists of four-to-six students. A campus coordinator works with the students to prepare them for the competition. A number of business and government leaders have volunteered to serve as judges and moderators for the matches. Because of the truncated competition, unlike the in-person event, an overall winner will not be declared this year.

“We are honored to partner with these campuses to present the Ethics Bowl for the 11th year,” said Rebecca Leggett, director of Programs for NCICU and coordinator of the Ethics Bowl. “The exploration of democracy and citizenship is as relevant today as any time in our history, and important to our students’ educational foundation.”

The NCICU Ethics Bowl is made possible by sponsorships that allow students to participate at no cost to themselves or their institutions. These sponsors have continued to support the Ethics Bowl despite the change in format. The Presenting Sponsor is Truist; Benefactors are Sarah West and Tom Dominick; Associate Sponsors are Duke Energy, McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture, Mount Olive Pickle Co., TIAA, Wren Foundation, A. Hope Williams; and Friends are Cherry Bekaert, Coca-Cola Consolidated, CORT, Fidelity Investments, Gregory Poole, Piedmont Natural Gass, Southern Bank, Wegmans, Melanie Chrisp-Thorpe, Colleen Kinser, and Liz and Stephen Riley.

“Students consistently cite the NCICU Ethics Bowl as a highlight of their college experience,” said Hope Williams, president of NCICU. “We deeply appreciate the corporate and civic leaders who make this event possible through financial contributions and by volunteering their time as judges and moderators.”


NCICU Celebrates Presidential Transitions on Campuses

North Carolina Independent Colleges & Universities (NCICU) proudly acknowledges the recent presidential transitions on its campuses, highlighting the continued commitment to excellence and leadership in private higher education institutions across the state.

The strength of independent, private higher education leadership shines through as institutions like William Peace University, Meredith College, and Cabarrus College of Health Sciences undergo transitions at the helm. These changes reflect the dedication to fostering innovation, scholarship, and student success in the dynamic landscape of North Carolina’s independent higher education sector.

Critical Presidential Transitions Include:

Dr. Brian C. Ralph concluded his tenure as president of William Peace University at the end of the 2023-24 academic year. Dr. Lynn Morton was immediately appointed president for two years. Click here to read more.

Dr. Jo Allen retires after 13 years of service as the Meredith College’s first alumna president. Dr. Aimee W. Sapp was named the ninth president, carrying forward a legacy of academic excellence and leadership. Click here to read more.

Dr. Cam Cruickshank concludes his tenure after four years as President of Cabarrus College of Health Sciences to become President/CEO of the newly created Greater Cabarrus Foundation. Dr. Steven Currall was appointed Interim President, ensuring continuity and strategic leadership.

These transitions mark a new chapter in the history of these esteemed institutions, emphasizing the values of integrity, innovation, and student-centered learning that define the essence of NCICU campuses. The dedication of outgoing presidents and the vision of incoming leaders as new members of NCICU’s Board of Directors reflect the tireless commitment to academic excellence and community engagement.

NCICU stands alongside its institutions in supporting these transitions, recognizing the pivotal role that independent colleges play in shaping the future leaders of North Carolina. The collaborative efforts of legislators, corporate sponsors, and educational advocates contribute to the success of private higher education and its impact on the state’s economy and leadership pipeline.

Click here to learn more about NCICU’s Board of Directors.


NCICU Celebrates Success at 2024 Internship Luncheon

On June 11th, the North Carolina Independent Colleges & Universities (NCICU) hosted a prestigious Internship Luncheon at Cantina 18 in Raleigh, NC. The event was a jubilant celebration of the remarkable achievements of 13 students from NCICU campuses who secured internships with the North Carolina legislature and the State of North Carolina Internship Program.

The luncheon was a testament to the tireless dedication and exceptional talent of the interns serving in North Carolina’s Executive, Judicial, and Legislative branches of state government. It showcased the commitment of students from private higher education institutions from various NCICU campuses, who represent the high caliber of individuals nurtured by independent, private colleges in North Carolina.

The Internship Luncheon’s success underscores private colleges’ critical role in shaping the next generation of leaders for North Carolina. By providing opportunities for practical learning and professional development, NCICU institutions prepare students to excel in diverse fields and make meaningful contributions to society.

The students who secured internships with the North Carolina legislature and the State of North Carolina Internship Program this year are:

Julia Avery >

Caleb Brinkley >

Macy Erin Daniels >

Anna Diorio >

Shreya Kumar >

Beckett Lindsey >

Katherine McKenzie >

Jenna McLamb >

Morgan Moser >

Aryan Nair >

Karina Rotimi >

Leiloni Sharpe >

Colin Tierney >

Julia Avery
Junior, Environmental Studies with a concentration in Water and Earth Resources, Wake County
Warren Wilson College
NC Department of Environmental Quality/Division of Water Resources

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Caleb Brinkley
Wake Forest University alumnus, Philosophy & Political Science, Danville, VA
Campbell University Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law, rising Third Year
North Carolina General Assembly, House of Representatives, Speaker Tim Moore

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Macy Daniels
Junior, Bachelors Degree in Sociology, Mecklenburg County
Saint Augustine’s University
North Carolina Department of Commerce/Workforce Solutions

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Anna Diorio
Meredith College alumna, Cary, NC
Campbell University Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law
North Carolina General Assembly, House of Representatives, Rep. Destin Hall

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Shreya Kumar
rising Second Year Law student, Holly Springs, NC
Campbell University Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law
North Carolina General Assembly, Senate, Sen. Jay Chaudhuri

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Beckett Lindsey
Rising Senior, Politics & International Affairs; English, Houston, TX
Wake Forest University
North Carolina General Assembly, House of Representatives, Rep. John Autry

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Katherine McKenzie
Senior, Russian & Public Policy, High Point, NC
Duke University
North Carolina General Assembly, House of Representatives, Rep. Zack Hawkins

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Jenna McLamb
Freshman, Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, Sampson County
Campbell University
Department of Environmental Quality/Coastal Management

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Morgan Moser
Junior, Bachelor of Arts in Sociology Concentration in The Social Determinants of Health and Wellbeing, Johnston County
Wake Forest University
North Carolina Department of Administration/Office of the Secretary of State

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Aryan Nair
Junior, Economics and Public Policy, Apex, NC
Duke University
North Carolina General Assembly, House of Representatives, Rep. Robert Reives

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Karina Heyward-Rotimi
Wake Forest University alumna, Political Science and International Relations, Durham, NC
North Carolina General Assembly, Senate, Sen. Natalie Murdock

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Leiloni Sharpe
Freshman, Mathematical Economics, Wake County
Wake Forest University
North Carolina Department of Administration/Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUB)

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Colin Tierney
rising Sophomore, Strategic Communications and Media Analytics (double-major), Apex, NC
Elon University
North Carolina General Assembly, House of Representatives, Speaker Tim Moore

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NCICU extends its gratitude to all interns, legislators, public servants, and corporate sponsors for their support in nurturing talent and fostering a collaborative learning environment.

Click here for more information about the NCICU Internship Luncheon.


NCICU Hosts 2024 Annual Meeting in Asheville

North Carolina Independent Colleges & Universities (NCICU) concluded its 2024 Annual Meeting in Asheville, NC on March 25-26. The two-day meeting brought together the NCICU Board of Directors, comprised of presidents from all 36 NCICU campuses, and the Independent College Fund of North Carolina’s (ICFNC) Advisory Board, which consists of NCICU presidents and corporate executives. It started with productive sessions and engaging discussions covering various topics, including a summary of ICFNC’s 2022-2023 campaign totals and more ways to support students through student scholarship aid and enrichment programs.

The Executive Committee Meeting convened at The Inn on Biltmore Hotel on Monday, March 25. The Independent College Fund of North Carolina Board Meeting welcomed all presidents. NCICU Chair and Meredith College President Dr. Jo Allen presided over the First General Session. It featured keynote addresses by esteemed speakers, American Council on Education (ACE) President Dr. Ted Mitchell, who provided updates from Washington regarding the work he and his team are involved in with Congress, the executive branch, and the private sector to develop policies and innovative practices that serve our country’s postsecondary learners, and NC Community College System (NCCCS) President Dr. Jeff Cox, who shared insights on the opportunities for growth through NCICU’s partnership with NCCCS. The event also marked the addition of new presidents: Rosemary Thomas of Chowan University, who began her tenure as president on March 11, and Dr. Marcus H. Burgess, Interim President at Saint Augustine’s University. Their visionary leadership will undoubtedly shape the future of our organization. In addition, NCICU recognized outgoing presidents Dr. Jo Allen of Meredith College and Dr. Brian Ralph of William Peace University for their service. A special reception honored retiring and new presidents, followed by a dinner sponsored by Aramark, JPMorgan Chase, McMillan Pazdan Smith, TIAA, and Womble Bond Dickinson.

The Second General Session, held on Tuesday, March 26, led by NCICU Chair Dr. Jo Allen, was a platform to celebrate our collective achievements. It continued the discussions, focusing on the status of NCICU Grant Projects, a testament to our commitment to advancing higher education in North Carolina. NCICU President Dr. A. Hope Williams presented updates on projects, including Science of Reading, Digital Learning, SAS Grant, SLDS Grant, and Transfer Pathways, showcasing our significant progress in these areas. Dr. Marilyn Sutton-Haywood shared insights on the Faculty Student STEM Mentoring program, a beacon of our innovation. At the same time, Marcel Anderson discussed the iBelong Mentoring Program, a testament to our dedication. President Suzanne Walsh of Bennett College introduced Mr. William Ray, Director of North Carolina Emergency Management, for an enlightening session, inspiring us all with his insights and experiences. Dr. Hope Williams introduced Dr. Trip Stallings, Executive Director of North Carolina Longitudinal Data Services (NCLDS), who shared updates on the progress NCLDS is making to develop secure, privacy-protected access to data linked across time and data sources to help North Carolina address its most pressing questions via data-informed decision-making, continuous improvement, and performance management processes.

The event was a testament to the dedication and collaboration within the NCICU community, showcasing innovation and commitment to advancing higher education in North Carolina.

Click here to learn more about NCICU’s Board of Directors.
Click here to learn more about ICFNC’s Advisory Board.


NCICU Hosts 2024 SGA President’s Meeting in Greensboro

North Carolina Independent Colleges & Universities (NCICU) hosted the 2024 Student Government Association President’s Meeting on March 2nd at Guilford College. The event, a testament to the significant role of student leaders representing all 36 NCICU campuses, was a day of collaboration and discussions, highlighting these leaders’ invaluable contributions to the event’s success.

The meeting commenced with warm greetings from Dr. Hope Williams, President of NCICU, and Kyle Farmbry, President of Guilford College. Notable among the guests was Thomas Varnadore, General Manager of Sales Operations at Coca-Cola Consolidated and chair of the Independent College Fund of North Carolina’s Advisory Board. Varnadore, who also served as the meeting’s keynote speaker, delivered a compelling address on the importance of impactful leadership within organizations and in everyday life. The subsequent Q&A session further explored the various aspects of his insightful talk.

In addition, the Executive Planning Team, composed of Kennise Brown from Pfeiffer University, Travon Abraham from Chowan University, Dean Locklear from Campbell University, and Deon McFarland from Guilford College, played a crucial role in shaping the agenda and facilitating the meeting’s discussions. The invaluable guidance of the session facilitators, Alexis Thompson and Dean Locklear from Campbell University and Kennise Brown from Pfeiffer University, was instrumental in the productive talks on Senator Responsibilities, Safety Concerns, and Student Engagement and Enrollment, underscoring their crucial role in the meeting.

NCICU expresses its deep appreciation to all participants and staff for their significant contributions to the meeting’s success. Furthermore, NCICU would like to recognize Beth Jones of Womble Bond Dickinson for her sponsorship and the Guilford College staff for their meticulous planning and unwavering support.

Click here to learn more about NCICU’s programs and meetings.


Independent College Fund of North Carolina Raises Nearly $3.5M in 2024

The Independent College Fund of North Carolina (ICFNC), the crucial fundraising arm of North Carolina Independent Colleges & Universities (NCICU), has achieved a groundbreaking fundraising milestone by raising nearly $3.5 million during its annual campaign, which ended April 30, 2024. This impressive amount represents an outstanding 81% increase from the previous year and is the second-highest fundraising total in ICFNC’s seventy-year history.

“The incredible support we have received this year demonstrates the collective dedication to supporting students, faculty and staff, and enhancing educational opportunities in North Carolina,” said NCICU President Dr. Hope Williams. “We immensely thank all our donors and partners for their generosity.”

Of the Campaign Total of $3,456,358.39, $1,783,814.00 will support NCICU programs, $1,192,949.95 came through in-kind gifts and services, and $479,594.44 is designated for scholarships.

“We are thrilled to have surpassed our fundraising goals for 2024, which are a testament to the dedication and generosity of our supporters and a lifeline that transforms students’ lives through higher education in North Carolina,” said Colleen Kinser, Director of ICFNC. “This remarkable achievement is a testament to the tireless support and belief in the mission of ICFNC and NCICU.”

One of the standout scholarships is the S.T.A.R. (Student Teacher Assistance for Retention) Scholarship, which aims to provide financial support to college seniors pursuing an educator preparation program. This scholarship received overwhelming support, with over $313,000 raised. Thanks to this commitment, numerous college seniors can now focus on their studies, classroom experience as student teachers and future careers. Notably, the Dogwood Health Trust contributed $224,000 towards scholarships, living expenses, testing stipends, and educational materials for colleges and universities in the western part of the state. The Council of Independent Colleges also made a significant contribution of $25,000, matched by generous donors including The Broyhill Family Foundation and Clancy & Theys Construction Company.

NCICU’s partnership with critical foundations led to a substantial fundraising amount of over $1.3 million this year. The contributions from The Arthur Vining Davis Foundation, The ECMC Foundation, The Bill & Malinda Gates Foundation, The John M. Belk Endowment, The Lumina Foundation, and The Teagle Foundation have enabled a pilot project involving NCICU institutions and North Carolina Community College System institutions. This project will support the design of a transfer portal for students seeking to transfer to a four-year independent college or university and it will also provide the software to enable a Reverse Transfer process between two and four-year institutions.

In addition to scholarships and programs, ICFNC received a valuable $1.2 million in-kind donation from SAS Software. This grant supports NCICU and individual campuses by offering software and training. Currently, 32 NCICU institutions are part of this program, further reinforcing the commitment to advancing education through technology.

The success of the 2024 fundraising efforts highlights the collaborative efforts and commitment of ICFNC, NCICU, donors, and partners toward creating a brighter future for higher education in North Carolina.

For more information about NCICU’s scholarships and programs, visit
To support the Independent College Fund of North Carolina, visit


NCICU Announces the 2024 Undergraduate Research Award Recipients

North Carolina Independent Colleges & Universities (NCICU) is proud to announce the 2024 recipients of the prestigious Undergraduate Research Award. This year, 11 outstanding students received stipends for their exemplary work in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM), and psychology.

The NCICU Undergraduate Research Award program supports students from NCICU’s 36 colleges and universities who are actively engaged in undergraduate research. The undergraduate research endowment, established by NCICU with generous contributions from the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation and other corporate and foundation donors, funds stipends of varying amounts based on the types of projects students are undertaking.

These talented students, classified as juniors or seniors for the 2024-2025 academic year, have demonstrated exceptional research skills and a dedication to academic excellence. They will have the esteemed opportunity to present their projects at the annual State of North Carolina Undergraduate Research and Creativity Symposium (SNCURCS), a collaborative initiative between NCICU and the University of North Carolina, further highlighting the importance of their work.

The 2024 SNCURCS Symposium, scheduled for the fall, will provide a platform for the award recipients to showcase their research findings and engage with scholars from across the state. More information about the symposium will be available to the participants during the upcoming summer and fall semesters.

The recipients of the 2024 NCICU Undergraduate Research Award are:

Charlotte Dagli >

Samantha Giraldo >

Kyndal Elaina Jackson >

Kyle Kellar >

Michaela Lantz >

Tuyet Anh Nguyen >

Clare Pilson >

Carter Stoke >

Rachel VanWinkle >

Ronaldo Williams >

Austin Wise >

Charlotte Dagli
junior, biology major (pre health), Charlottesville, VA
Elon University

The overarching objective of Charlotte Dagli’s study is to Enhance Reovirus oncolytic capacity in malignant fibrosarcoma cells via targeted viral evolution and combination therapy. To accomplish this goal, she studies panel strains and variants and the combinatorial impacts of Reovirus.

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Samantha Giraldo
junior, biology major (pre-med track) with a minor in humanities and chemistry, Kannapolis, NC
Catawba College

Samantha Giraldo’s primary objectives were to ascertain whether total or partial inhibition of polyamine biosynthesis lowers the viability of HBZ-expressing cells and to investigate the overall transcriptional profiles of HBZ-expressing cells using RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) to assess how HBZ affects metabolic activity.

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Kyndal Elaina Jackson
senior, biology major (biomedical emphasis), Gaffney, SC
Gardner-Webb University

Kyndal Jackson’s studies focus on ascertaining the effects of caraway seed oil and contrasting them with the essential oils that were initially examined.

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Kyle Kellar
senior, chemistry major, Fuquay-Varina, NC
Campbell University

Kyle Kellar’s research deals with the multistep synthesis tested with students for the first time in Organic II laboratory sections at Campbell University under IRB approval. The objective of this study was to gather and examine student data over two years to submit a manuscript for publication in the Journal of Chemical Education.

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Michaela Lantz
senior, biochemistry major, Lebanon, PA
Catawba College

Michaela Lantz’s study determines whether or not reproductive malignancies, such as ovarian and cervical tumors, exhibit this biphasic activity. Furthermore, by observing a biphasic response, we expect to understand better the biological mechanisms involved.

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Tuyet Anh Nguyen
junior, chemistry major, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Gardner-Webb University

Tuyet Anh Nguyen’s study focuses on the oil extracted from star anise (Illicium verum), synthesizing the antiviral Oseltamivir. In analyzing the oil, she will conduct tests on her findings and present her discoveries at a conference later in the fall 2024 academic year.

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Clare Pilson
senior, biology major, Raleigh, NC
Meredith College

Clare Pilson’s study, which lasted four semesters, has the main objective of determining whether the amphibian CORT can be quantified from dermal swabs using ELISA kits. This study also aims to address current Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis infection rates using skin swabs from eight Wake County Parks.

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Carter Stoke
junior, exercise science major, Clayton, NC
Elon University

Carter Stoke’s study found that high theacrine doses can influence cardiovascular function, enhance cognitive abilities, and alter stress response, highlighting its potential as a mental and performance enhancer with specific physiological impacts.

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Rachel VanWinkle
junior, biochemistry (pre-med) major, Lillington, NC
Campbell University

Rachel VanWinkle’s use of thiamine-dependent enzymes represents a significant advancement in synthetic chemistry. This method utilizes the natural catalytic abilities of thiamine-dependent enzymes to form carbon-carbon bonds between carbonyl compounds and alkyl halides.

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Ronaldo Williams
senior, biology major, Kingston, Jamaica
Chowan University

Ronaldo Williams suggests that thymol can effectively improve wheat germination and early growth, offering a natural method to support crop resilience against these common fungal infections.

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Austin Wise
junior, environment & sustainability major, Corbin, KY
Catawba College

Austin Wise’s study highlights the broader ecological impact of mercury pollution and the need for ongoing monitoring and mitigation efforts to protect wildlife and ecosystem health.

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Click here for more information about the Undergraduate Research Symposium.


Meet the 2023-2024 NCICU Interns

North Carolina Independent Colleges & Universities (NCICU) is thrilled to introduce the interns for the 2023-2024 academic year. These individuals embody our institutions’ commitment to nurturing future leaders and fostering excellence in various fields. Their selection is a testament to the value we place on their potential contributions.

Through their internships, students gain invaluable practical experience, build networks, and contribute to innovative projects that align with NCICU’s excellence tradition.

Meet all five of the NCICU’s interns for the 2023-2024 academic year:

Michael Bowen >

Oscar Miranda Tapia >

Daveon Dunn >

Alexis A. Thompson >

Savannah Willette >

Michael Bowen
Government Relations Intern
Campbell University School of Law

Michael joined NCICU in May of 2024 and serves as intern for government relations and general counsel. He attended UNC-Chapel Hill for his undergraduate studies and is now a law student at Campbell University School of Law. Prior to joining NCICU, Michael completed a spring clerkship with the NC Court of Appeals. While at UNC, Michael took opportunities to intern for his Congressman on Capitol Hill, and then for the President in the White House. After passing the bar, Michael is looking to join a law firm in a government relations or general practice capacity.

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Oscar Miranda Tapia
Policy Intern and then Graduate of Elon University
Ph.D. program at NC State University

Oscar Miranda Tapia joined NCICU in May 2024 and serves as an intern. He is also a PhD student and provost fellow at NC State University, where he is pursuing a degree in educational leadership, policy, and human development. Additionally, Oscar is a research associate at the Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research and has experience working as a graduate research assistant at the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation. Prior to beginning his doctoral studies, Oscar led first-generation college student initiatives at Elon University. He holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Elon University and a master’s degree in higher education from Harvard University.

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Daveon Dunn
Special Projects Intern
Saint Augustine’s University

Daveon D. Dunn joined NCICU in May 2024. He currently serves as an intern here at NCICU. Daveon is a native of Raleigh, North Carolina. He graduated from Saint Augustine’s University in 2024 with a bachelor’s degree in health & physical education while working multiple jobs. Before attending Saint Augustine’s University, Daveon went to Garner High School, where he played basketball & football, which led him to play basketball at Saint Augustine’s University from 2020 to 2023.

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Picture of Alexis Thompson

Alexis A. Thompson
Special Projects Intern
Campbell University

Alexis A. Thompson is a native of Fayetteville, North Carolina. She is a 2024 graduate of Campbell University where received a Bachelor’s degree in Communication with a concentration in Pre-Law and a minor in Community Leadership and Engagement. Before attending Campbell, Alexis went to Berean Baptist Academy in Fayetteville. At school, she served as the 2023-2024 Student Body Vice President, a devoted member of Lambda Pi Chi: Communication National Honor Society, and engaged in many other organizations. She has also received honor awards ranging from the Dean’s List (3.5 GPA or higher for the academic semester) to several scholarship awards. Her experience at Campbell has been instrumental in developing her passions for legislation, and community engagement, as well as diversity and inclusion. Alexis is excited and humbled to serve as a 2023-2024 NCICU Special Projects Intern.

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Picture of Savannah Willette

Savannah Willette
John M. Belk Impact Fellow
Elon University

Savannah Willette is a 2024 graduate of Elon University where she received a degree in Policy Studies with a minor in Communications. Outside her work with NCICU, Savannah is a John M. Belk Impact Fellow, an opportunity that has allowed her to continue her passion for education policy and advocacy in North Carolina. After graduation, Savannah intends to pursue a career that combines her interest in public policy, education reform and communications.

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Click here for more information about NCICU’s staff.


NCICU Celebrates Graduation Ceremonies Across 36 Colleges & Universities

North Carolina Independent Colleges & Universities (NCICU) is pleased to celebrate the graduation ceremonies of all 36 campuses. These ceremonies mark a significant milestone in the academic journey of over 83,000 students who hail from all 100 counties in North Carolina, 50 states, and countries around the globe.

“The dedication and academic excellence displayed by our graduates are a testament to the quality of education provided by NCICU schools,” said Dr. A. Hope Williams, President of NCICU. “We are honored to support, represent, and advocate for North Carolina Independent higher education, and these graduation ceremonies embody the culmination of our shared mission.”

NCICU institutions play a vital role in shaping the educational landscape of North Carolina. These colleges and universities collectively award one in four bachelor’s degrees and one in three graduate and professional degrees in the state. Their impact extends beyond academia, contributing significantly to the economic prosperity of North Carolina. With a combined economic impact of $14.2 billion and employing over 66,000 individuals, NCICU institutions are integral to the state’s overall public interests and future growth.

Below is a list of graduating ceremonies from each NCICU institution:

In addition to celebrating its students’ academic achievements, NCICU is committed to supporting their success through the Independent College Fund of North Carolina and various programs, scholarships, and collaborative partnerships. These initiatives provide students with valuable resources and opportunities to excel in their educational pursuits. The impact of these programs is evident in the accomplishments of graduates across NCICU institutions.

For more information about NCICU’s scholarships and programs, visit


Queens University of Charlotte Repeat Ethics Bowl Champion

For the second consecutive year, Queens University of Charlotte is champion of the statewide Ethics Bowl, an annual event organized by North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU). The event was held Feb. 9-10 at the North Carolina Legislative Complex in Raleigh.

Eighteen teams from NCICU campuses participated in the competition. The 2024 theme was, “Ethics in Artificial Intelligence and Cybersecurity.” Students had to consider several complicated cases involving both artificial intelligence and cybersecurity, then make their arguments about their position on the case.

Final scores were tallied, semi-finalists were announced, and the two matches set: Queens University and High Point University were paired, as were St. Augustine’s University and Montreat College. Queens and Montreat met in the finals, where Queens University prevailed.

Queens University of Charlotte President Daniel Lugo with the university's winning 2024 NCICU Ethics Bowl team
Queens University of Charlotte President Daniel Lugo with the university’s winning 2024 NCICU Ethics . (c) Robert Witchger

“This year’s teams were exceptional,” said NCICU President Hope Williams. “It was clear they had done extensive research on the complex topics and developed well-organized, cohesive arguments to present to the judges. I was very impressed with all the teams.”

This was NCICU’s 13th Ethics Bowl. Williams believes it provides unique, important opportunities for the students. “By participating in the Ethics Bowl, students learn research and presentation skills that will serve them well in their careers,” Williams said.

But the most valuable opportunity, she noted, may have been interacting with the more than 70 professionals who volunteered their time as judges or moderators and who represent many networking opportunities and careers, from law, architecture, engineering and cybersecurity to banking, nonprofits, and state agencies.

Thanks to sponsorships, the event is self-funded. That means there is no cost to students or campuses. “We are very grateful to our sponsors,” Williams said. “Several new sponsors this year also had representatives attend the event and serve as judges. They really enjoyed the experience.”

Clark Dudek, a Triangle entrepreneur and AI expert, was keynote speaker at the dinner on Friday night at the North Carolina Museum of History. He discussed how society has adapted to emerging technologies. “AI is new and may be scary [to some],” he said. “But we are working on how to connect with this new tool and learn how it can complement the rest of our tools.”

The 2024 participating colleges and universities were: Barton College, Campbell University, Catawba College, Gardner-Webb University, High Point University, Johnson C. Smith University, Livingstone College, Mars Hill University, Methodist University, Montreat College, North Carolina Wesleyan University, Pfeiffer University, Queens University of Charlotte, St. Andrews University, Saint Augustine’s University, University of Mount Olive, William Peace University, and Wingate University.


NCICU Announces Recipients of NC Sheriffs’ Association Scholarships

RALEIGH, NC – North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities is pleased to announce recipients of this year’s North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association (NCSA) Criminal Justice Scholarship. Students at 14 private colleges and universities in North Carolina received the $2,000 awards.

NCSA provides scholarships per academic school year for criminal justice students attending a North Carolina independent college or university. Applications are sponsored by local sheriffs and recipients must be North Carolina residents. The association is the statewide organization of the state’s 100 sheriffs. Through their association, the sheriffs work to strengthen the professional law enforcement services their offices provide to the people of North Carolina.

NCICU President Hope Williams thanked the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association for supporting students pursuing a criminal justice curriculum. “We deeply appreciate this partnership with NCSA to assist students who are pursuing a career in law enforcement.” NCICU administers the program for independent college and university students.