By Jane Dail
March 12, 2014
About 200 people celebrated the opening of new gallery at East Carolina University’s Joyner Library on Monday honoring an alumna who has been credited for making a difference at the institution and beyond.
Janice Faulkner, left, shares a moment with former Governor James B. Hunt,right, during the ribbon cutting ceremony for the newly finished Janice Hardison Faulkner Gallery at Joyner Library on Tuesday, March 11, 2014. (Aileen Devlin/ The Daily Reflector)
The ribbon-cutting for the Janice Hardison Faulkner Gallery officially opened a 3,700-square-foot renovation at the library that honors an alumna, retired faculty member and administrator and former state leader.
Faulkner was the first woman to serve as executive director of the N.C. Democratic Party and the appointed head of the Department of Revenue, Secretary of State’s Office and Division of Motor Vehicles.
She received ECU’s Outstanding Alumni Award in 1993 and was named in the university’s 100 Incredible Women by the ECU Women’s Roundtable in 2007. She also received ECU’s highest honor, the Jarvis Medal, in 2009, and the 2012 State of North Carolina Award.
A display at the entrance of the gallery highlights many of Faulkner’s achievements, which include her earning a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from what was East Carolina College. She also received an honorary doctorate from the university.
The gallery project was funded through a campaign that collected more than $130,000 from more than 125 donors, according to the university.
The remainder of the funding for the $275,000 renovation came from ECU’s Division of Academic Affairs, Joyner Library and the Fred Timms Langford and Verona Lee Joyner Langford Endowment.
The formerly open space on the library’s second floor now showcases art created by ECU faculty and students in the gallery. The area, which can hold as many as 200 people, also features two 80-inch LCD panels for digital art, two projectors and 16 ceiling speakers.
The space will be a study area for students when not used for events. It features a room for large study groups and presentations.
Michael Priddy, former Pitt County Schools superintendent and vice chairman of the Joyner Library Advancement Council, said the project’s purpose is to honor Faulkner’s legacy.
“The opportunity to name the gallery in honor of Janice Hardison Faulkner was especially important to me,” Priddy said. “I am thankful that many felt called to be a part of this endeavor. I am also pleased that we can not only honor Janice, but also recognize everyone who made this project come to life. Their names are immortalized, and they’ll warm Janice’s heart each time she sees or hears their names.”
Faulkner’s nephew Greg Hardison, who spoke on her behalf, said his aunt spent much time in Joyner Library during her time as a student and educator.
“This library helped prepare her for any challenge that came her way,” Hardison said. “The challenges certainly kept coming. She handled each job with honesty, integrity, dignity, and at no point in her career did she do it for personal gain.”
Former Gov. James B. Hunt Jr. credited Faulkner for helping him win his campaign when running for governor and spoke about her time on his administration.
“I picked out the strongest, maybe the toughest woman I ever worked with,” Hunt said. “… Every position I put her in, I said, ‘Fix it, fix it, Janice.’ And she did.”
ECU Provost Marilyn Sheerer said Faulkner set an example as a female leader.
“She has always assertively spoken the truth,” Sheerer said. “She certainly seems fearless and she has addressed every situation with a resolve and desire to make things better.”
Hunt praised the work Faulkner accomplished for ECU and the rest of the state.
“Janice Hardison Faulkner loves this state,” he said. “She loves where we come from, she loves this university and she has served us so well. She is such a fine, decent person. At a time when there’s a lot of fussing and fighting carrying on in America, even some in North Carolina, Janice Faulkner is an example of the finest in politics and government leadership.”