Town of St. James Partners with UNCW for Endowment

Coastal community contributes $25,000 to establish Living Shoreline Student Support Fund Endowment

WILMINGTON, N.C. – A leading and visionary community, the Town of St. James has given $25,000 to UNC Wilmington to establish the Town of St. James’ Living Shoreline Student Support Fund Endowment.

This fund will support students engaged in faculty-mentored research, outreach and applied learning activities to develop knowledge and resources for maintaining, improving and studying St. James’ Living Shoreline. 

This fund will continue supporting existing student work within the UNCW Department of Biology and Marine Biology such as oyster reef establishment, living shoreline research and coastal science education. These areas directly impact the region by helping to control erosion, create habitats for marine animals and improve water quality by filtering particles and sediment. Through this fund and research, the Town of St. James will benefit from deeper understanding and implementation of mechanisms for protecting coastal shorelines and ecosystems.

“Since 2005, the Town of St. James (TOSJ) has been honored to partner with UNCW in our Living Shoreline Conservation Program,” said Jean R. Toner, the Town of St. James Mayor. “We have worked with many UNCW students over the past 16 years and have been very impressed by their knowledge, ability and passion for their chosen field. The TOSJ is pleased to assist UNCW students in continuing their studies by establishing the Living Shoreline Student Support Fund Endowment. We look forward to growing our relationship with UNCW and partnering to create innovative educational, conservation and research programs.”

The Town of St. James, located in Brunswick County and less than one hour from UNC Wilmington, has supported the university for over a decade, giving more than $200,000 in support of the UNCW Benthic Ecology Laboratory, which studies coastal habitats. 

“The gift provided by the Town of St. James is an incredible down payment on future sustainability efforts through exploration of natural environments and the function of living shorelines in sensitive estuarine environments,” said Troy Alphin, senior research associate at UNC Wilmington. “This endowment will support research, education and outreach in and around the Town of St. James by providing opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience in estuarine ecology, biology, restoration ecology, conservation and marine education. The work accomplished through this gift will help inform efforts along the North Carolina coast and beyond.”

As the state’s coastal university, coastal resiliency is a core component of UNCW’s student and faculty research. Philanthropic partners like the TOSJ help UNC Wilmington leverage its location, facilities and expertise to better understand risk and mitigate changes in order to protect our community and region, as well as the world at large.

Immersive applied learning opportunities, such as those made possible by the Town of St. James’ Living Shoreline Student Support Fund Endowment, are a key priority of Like No Other: The Campaign for UNCW

To learn more about giving to the College of Arts and Sciences, please contact Lindsay Crighton, Director of Development, at