UNC-Wilmington names Laura Lunsford as new head of Swain business center

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Laura Lunsford. Photo courtesy UNCW.
Laura Lunsford. Photo courtesy UNCW.

WILMINGTON — UNC-Wilmington’s economic workforce development initiative has a new leader.

Author, speaker and mentor Laura Gail Lunsford was named director of the H. David and Diane Swain Center for Business and Economic Services following a national search, campus officials announced earlier this week. She will take the helm as the center’s first director on Aug. 15.  Swain has always previously been headed up by UNCW’s associate dean of graduate programs.

“We have a visionary and resourceful leader in Laura,” said Robert Burrus, dean of the Cameron School of Business. “I’m confident her experience and expertise with building successful university-community programs will prove to be a great asset to the Swain Center and the university as a whole.”

Established three decades ago, the center serves to provide outreach into the local business community by providing executive education opportunities and resources for individuals and companies alike. Swain is also the source of UNCW’s annual economic forecast and quarterly updates about local, regional, state and national trends.

Lunsford is a North Carolina native who earned both a bachelors and doctorate in psychology from North Carolina State University. She also holds a master’s degree from UNC-Greensboro. She became the first alumni relations director for Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and established the Park Scholarships program at N.C. State.

For the last eight years, she has taught psychology–with a focus on the psychology of leadership and mentoring–at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

“I’m delighted to call Wilmington home. I feel fortunate to be in a position to build on the incredible resources at UNCW and the Cameron School of Business to ensure the Swain Center is known as one of the region’s leading business resources,” Lunsford said.

Considered an expert in mentoring, coaching and leadership development, Lunsford is a frequent consultant and speaker on the national circuit. She has written more than 30 peer-reviewed articles and chapters. Her first book, “Handbook of Managing Mentoring Programs,” was published in May and she is currently working on two additional books on the subject.

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