Dr. Richard Kerns, former Associate Dean of the Computer Services in the College of Business(CoB) and professor in the Department of Management Information Systems, recently retired after a career of almost 40 years. During his retirement ceremony on October 11th, the North Carolina governors office awarded him the Order of the Long Leaf Pine; considered the state’s highest civilian honor. In response to receiving the award Kerns said “I am deeply humbled, surprised, and appreciative to receive such a high honor from the state of North Carolina, serving at East Carolina University for four decades has been extremely rewarding on both personal and professional levels. I’m truly honored by this recognition.”
Since Kerns joined ECU in 1973 to manage Information Technology in the School of Business, the Computer Services department has grown from himself and a few select student assistants to over 150 faculty and more than 4,000 students. Kerns became known as “the computer man” around campus, as he helped everyone from the Provost to the School of Medicine and at one time served every computer committee ever present on campus, both administrative and academic.
With a background in nuclear physics and business, he helped make analytical tools a large part of the College of Business curriculum, now a known attribute of ECU CoB graduates. In addition he helped create the originial Management Information Systems curriculum and taught all but one of the orginal courses the first time they were taught.
In conclusion Kerns stated, “Nothing makes me feel better than to have a former colleague or student come by or see me somewhere and talk about how they are doing and tell me something that I did that helped them. I am very thankful for the opportunities that have been given to me for so many years, and I hope that others feel I have contributed to their success.”
I speak for all of the ECU staff and students when I say thank you, Dr. Kerns, for your service.