UNCW Taps Industry Leader To Head Swain Center

By Emma Dill, posted Jul 18, 2023
Yolanda Pollard
The Swain Center at the University of North Carolina Wilmington has a new director.

The university has selected Yolanda Pollard to head up the center, which specializes in executive education and economic development. Pollard began her role on July 10, according to a news release issued Tuesday by the university.

The center’s last permanent director, Richard Walsh, resigned in May 2021 after two years in the role. Robert Pious most recently served as the center’s interim director, according to the university.

Before landing at UNCW, Pollard held various industry leadership roles. 

She most recently worked in strategic communications at GE Vernova, a portfolio of GE’s global power businesses, and at Entergy Corporation, a Fortune 500 utility company. Before that, Pollard led customized corporate trainings for the University of New Orleans.

"Dr. Pollard brings a wonderful mix of corporate and educational expertise to the role,” Nivine Richie, associate dean in the university’s Cameron School of Business, wrote in the release. “I look forward to working with her and introducing her to our community."
Pollard holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Louisiana State University, a master’s degree in management from Troy University, and a doctoral degree in executive leadership from the University of Holy Cross.

The Swain Center aims to enhance the effectiveness of organizations across the Cape Fear region and the state through economic services and executive and professional education.

“It is an honor to continue the rich legacy of the Swain Center’s commitment to business leadership and economic development,” Pollard wrote in the release. “I welcome the opportunity to partner with all key stakeholders in this capacity to enhance the region’s growth and progress."
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