Apr 162014


By East Carolina University News Services

April 16, 2014

GREENVILLE — A Lejeune High School graduate now studying at East Carolina University has been selected as one of 10 students nationwide to serve on a “Dream Team” at an international education and training event.

Courtney Church will participate in Cisco Live, an event for customers, experts and partners of Cisco, a multinational corporation that designs, manufactures and sells networking equipment. More than 20,000 people are expected to attend the event, which will be held in San Francisco from May 18 through May 22.

Church studies in the Department of Information and Computer Technology at ECU.

The Dream Team will work alongside industry leaders to support the Network Operations Center and assist Cisco customers at the Help Desk during the weeklong event. IT support is crucial to the success of the event, according to Cisco Live organizers, and the opportunity provides invaluable experience for those selected.

The team works directly with Cisco engineers and has full access to the event. They also have the opportunity to take a Cisco certification exam at the end of the week.

Church was chosen from a pool of 80 applicants who were each required to submit a written application, a video explaining why they should be selected and a written recommendation from an instructor.

Church is a nontraditional student taking a full course load both on-campus and online. She also works full time as a co-op in customer advocacy laboratory operations at Cisco in Research Triangle Park. Church first attended ECU in 2001 but did not finish her degree and instead began working at electronics retailer Best Buy. She was quickly promoted to various positions in their Geek Squad, a support group for the retailer’s customers.

“I felt stuck and in a rut,” Church recalled. “While I loved electronics and being around them, I was more interested in fixing them and figuring out how they worked. It was then I decided to go back to school and get a degree in ICT.

“I have always had a heart for purple and gold and knew I would return to finally finish my degree in something I was passionate about.”

She re-enrolled at ECU in fall 2013. With a 3.5 grade point average and an instructor’s encouragement, Church decided this year to apply for the Dream Team.

“I think what made me stand out compared to other applicants is my motivation and drive to succeed,” she said. Her willingness to work 72 hours straight at Cisco to support lab operations during a recent snowstorm helped to seal the deal.

“By participating on the team, I hope to accomplish several things,” Church said. “I want to define myself as a person and as a female in a very male-dominated field. Second, I want to put ECU out there. ECU’s ICT program is one of the best. Lastly, I want to build my resume. This opportunity stands out to recruiters and shows that I am not afraid to take on a challenge.”

Church will receive an all-expense paid trip to San Francisco for the event, traveling a few days before the event to help set up the operations center.

Apr 162014


April 15, 2014

With Republicans now controlling who sits on the University of North Carolina system’s Board of Governors, it’s not surprising that changes would follow.

And changes are needed. A little fresh perspective and an overview of long-standing policies can be valuable.

But it appears members of the new board are considering a change in financial aid that won’t be helpful. The UNC board is considering ending a policy that takes money for financial aid out of the tuition pot to which all students contribute. Some board members are concerned that using regular tuition money to provide aid to others hurts middle-class students.

The truth is, tuition in the UNC system is too high for everyone. Although a state constitutional mandate requires that an education should be as close to free as “practicable,” the UNC system has had multiple hikes in recent years and drifted from that principle.

Yes, taxpayers subsidize the education the system provides, though not as much for out-of-state students, who pay closer to the actual cost of their educations.

But there would be multiple problems with eliminating tuition revenue as a source of financial aid.

First, what would happen if the system lost the $126 million in financial aid that came out of the tuition pool last year? The money would have to be made up or the university system would have to reduce scholarships and other forms of assistance. Most help, by the way, comes from the federal government in the form of Pell grants and loans.

Second, board members have to consider the larger picture: Providing aid, which allows lower-income students and even many middle class students the opportunity to attend a good university in the system, means the student bodies in the schools are diverse and reflect the overall population of North Carolina. That diversity enriches all students by exposing them to a student population that reflects the world into which they’ll graduate.

UNC system President Tom Ross rightly said that cutting off tuition as a source of financial aid wouldn’t affect just the students from lower-income households. “Some of this very aid,” Ross said, “supports the middle class, so that’s a dilemma. If you take it away, then you actually may be hurting some of the middle class that way as well.”

The cost of attending the research institutions in Chapel Hill and Raleigh, for example, runs around $17,000 a year for all expenses, and that’s on the low end. Many families that may own a home and have two incomes in North Carolina couldn’t take $17,000 out of their take-home income. Thanks to financial aid packages, they find a way to afford it, though to be sure parents still have to come up with a pretty hefty amount.

So let’s look at the longer-term benefit. More North Carolina students getting to college – and many of them will be the first in their families to attend – is good for the state. Better-educated workers with higher lifetime earnings strengthen the state’s economic foundation.

Those graduates, in turn, will raise families in which a college education is emphasized. And so on.

Financial aid, then, is an investment more than some kind of giveaway, and it’s one that produces dividends that make a positive difference for everyone, not just those who receive it.

Before Board of Governors members make, or even contemplate, a change in the financial aid formula, let’s hope they look not just at the books, but at the consequences.

Apr 162014


The Associated Press

April 15, 2014

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — The reading specialist who questioned the literacy level of athletes who were admitted to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has met with an investigator looking into academic fraud at the school.

In an email to The Associated Press on Tuesday, Mary Willingham said she met with Kenneth Wainstein for more than two hours Monday in Chapel Hill.

UNC hired the former U.S. Justice Department official to conduct a review of possible fraud in the formerly named African and Afro-American Studies (AFAM) department. The alleged irregularities, dating to the 1990s, included lecture classes with significant athlete enrollments that didn’t meet and were instead treated as independent studies requiring only a research paper.

Willingham has said those “paper classes” were designed to keep athletes academically eligible to remain in school.

Monday’s meeting came three days after three experts hired by UNC issued reports saying Willingham’s research data doesn’t support claims of low athlete literacy levels here. She had told CNN in January that her research of 183 football or basketball players from 2004-12 found 60 percent reading at fourth- to eighth-grade levels and roughly 10 percent below a third-grade level.

Wainstein’s investigation is the latest to look into the AFAM fraud. One conducted by former Gov. Jim Martin in 2012 assigned blame to former department chairman Julius Nyang’oro and retired administrator Deborah Crowder. Nyang’oro has been indicted for being paid $12,000 to teach one of the paper classes filled with football players in the summer of 2011.

Brian Vick, Crowder’s attorney, said his client met with Wainstein on March 19. Crowder hadn’t cooperated with earlier investigations.

It was unclear when Wainstein would complete his investigation.

Apr 162014


By Dan Kane

April 16, 2014

When academic adviser Jonathan Weiler sat down with Deborah Crowder a decade ago, he knew football and basketball players at UNC-Chapel Hill weren’t showing up in his office for help on what classes to take as most other students did. He also knew that many of the athletes were seeking degrees offered by the African studies department that she had been running since its inception.

He ventured a comment about the athletes’ preference for that major. It brought an uneasy silence among the small group of advisers and departmental staff that unsettled him enough that he offered an emailed apology a short time later.

Crowder, the department manager, wrote back with a response that today is likely to be parsed as a new set of investigators try to determine her role in an academic scandal that spanned at least 14 years and potentially more than 200 classes. Many of those enrolled were athletes.

“I did worry a bit about what you said, fussed some and then got over it,” Crowder wrote. “It is no huge deal, really. We do have a fair number of athletes who are majors and many more who take our classes. By and large, I believe, that is because we try to treat them as regular students.”

That treatment included making room for them in dozens of lecture-style classes that never met and typically required one term paper that usually received a high grade. In some cases, no professor was involved; in others, students had a one-time meeting with the department chairman, Julius Nyang’oro.

Non-athletes also got into the classes, but the disproportionate numbers of athletes enrolled have caused many to suspect Crowder and Nyang’oro created at least some of the classes to help keep athletes eligible to play sports. Of the more than 4,200 enrollments in these confirmed or suspected no-show classes, nearly half were of athletes, with football and men’s basketball players leading the pack.

In the nearly three years since news of the scandal broke, Crowder has yet to say anything publicly about her role in the classes. But now she is emerging as a key witness in a new investigation set up by the university and the UNC system of the biggest academic scandal in the university’s history.

What she says could have ramifications for hundreds of wins and numerous championships by UNC’s athletic teams. If she says she helped create the classes so athletes struggling academically could stay eligible to play sports, her actions could trigger serious NCAA violations. If she can show she paid no attention to who sought to get into the classes, and simply helped anyone who showed up at her door, the NCAA might stay away.

Nyang’oro has been charged with a felony fraud count in the scandal because he took special summer pay for a class that never met. That 2011 class was filled with football players. His attorney, Bill Thomas of Durham, said Nyang’oro is innocent and will fight the charge.

Some of the information produced so far suggests Crowder acted outside of Nyang’oro’s knowledge in creating some of the classes. Nyang’oro had given her broad authority to run the department.

Link to basketball

What’s surprising to those who grew up with her is how someone who often sought to stay out of the limelight – a bookish teenager from Charlotte who dealt with tragedy at a young age – would take part in a broad scheme of academic misconduct.

“The whole thing seems incredibly weird to me,” said Tabitha Hall, a former high school classmate.

Crowder, 61, grew up in a one-story brick home in what was a rural crossroads in eastern Mecklenburg County, not far from UNC Charlotte. Her father, Marshall, was a secretary for a business equipment company; her mother, Dorothy, worked for the county tax office.

On Nov. 9, 1966, shortly after Deborah Crowder’s 14th birthday, her father died of a heart attack. He was 56.

“She continued to miss him every day of her life,” said Elizabeth Cruse, a close friend from the neighborhood, “because there’s something special about a father-daughter relationship versus a mother-daughter relationship.”

Independence High School was entering its third year when Crowder enrolled as a sophomore. She stood just over 5 feet tall, with long curly black hair she often straightened, which was the style back then.

The school was much smaller in those days and had a reputation for cutting-edge instruction, including courses known as independent studies. Such courses there, however, meant rigorous research, said Jane Barnes, a graduate of the school and now a Cumberland County school district administrator.

Crowder’s goal was to gain acceptance to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While UNC was a fit for her academically, she was also a big fan of Carolina’s basketball team, which by then had become a national power under coach Dean Smith.

Crowder majored in English at UNC, and graduated in 1975. Four years later, she landed a clerical position with the university. She was the secretary and sole employee for a professor leading a program in African and Afro-American studies.

The job did not pay well, starting at less than $10,000 a year. But she was back at the university she loved – and working for a program that some athletes embraced.

One of them was Warren Martin, a 6-foot-11 center from Axton, Va., who entered the university in 1981 on a basketball scholarship. They struck up a relationship that continues to this day. They live next door to each other in a two-condo building near Pittsboro.

“He started hanging around her office, and he became a permanent fixture, just hanging around her office at times, kind of like boys with any girls,” Cruse said. “That’s the way it was.”

Martin, now a teacher at McDougle Middle School in Chapel Hill, was also a catch for a fervent supporter of the basketball team. Over the years, Crowder would have special access to basketball games through Martin, and she made many friends in the athletic department, including Smith’s secretary, Kay Thomas, and Burgess McSwain, a longtime academic adviser and tutor to the basketball team who died in 2004.

McSwain’s father died in 2008, and the will indicated Crowder was in line to receive $100,000 and a set of Hummel figurines in exchange for taking care of his dogs, but Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall said the money and valuables went elsewhere.

Despite Crowder’s athletic connections, UNC officials and a UNC-sanctioned investigation determined she was not specifically aiding athletes with the bogus classes. Former Gov. Jim Martin, who led that investigation, said Crowder was a kind of “Lady Liberty” for all students, letting into the classes anyone who asked.

Crowder’s friends say Martin’s characterization fits her personality – always seeking ways to help others. When Crowder couldn’t make her 40th annual high school reunion, she quietly gave her ticket to another graduate that she knew was struggling financially.

“She’s a really good person, and she’s always thought of others,” Cruse said.

Favoring athletes

UNC correspondence and an interview with a former adviser not affiliated with the academic support program for athletes show the advisers sent Crowder students in need of a class to graduate or to keep their full-time status. But the advisers did not show the level of awareness about the classes that the athletes’ tutoring program had.

Other evidence indicates Crowder wasn’t willing to help everyone get into the classes. One email suggested Crowder was struggling to manage all the students enrolling in independent studies classes and sought to ramp them down. An academic adviser said in the email that Crowder was concerned knowledge of the independent studies had “sort of gotten into the frat circuit.”

Two professors in the African studies department said in correspondence that they suspected Crowder favored athletes. Kenneth Janken told a special faculty review that Crowder was an athletics “booster.” Reginald Hildebrand, in an essay titled “Anatomy of a Scandal,” chastised The N&O and other media over their coverage of the scandal, but he also suspected Crowder had overstepped her authority to help athletes in ways that should have been called out by athletic officials.

“Over a thirty year period, our former department administrator accumulated far too much power, in part because the former chair was often disengaged,” Hildebrand wrote. “She used that power to become a major supplier of academic wiggle room, but she also helped all kinds of students in legitimate ways.”

Mary Willingham, the former learning specialist for athletes who blew the whistle on the no-show classes, said the academic support program for athletes used Crowder routinely to enroll athletes in the classes. When an athlete struggled academically or would be away from the university for long periods of time, such as a baseball player participating in a summer league, they contacted Crowder to get the athlete in a no-show class.

Crowder’s 2004 email to Weiler, the former academic adviser, suggests she sought to help those in need, but she particularly defended athletes. Weiler, who left advising in 2005 and is now a professor, said he knew nothing about the no-show classes until the scandal was exposed.

“Some of all of our students come in for advising, or cause us problems, or are wonderful, or whatever, but sometimes I think the athletes get too much scrutiny in relation to the average student population,” Crowder wrote. “That being said, we try to accommodate their schedules, just as we do the single moms, or the students who have to work two jobs to stay in school.”

By the time Crowder retired in September 2009, the department had grown to 22 faculty members, nearly all of whom taught legitimate classes and said they were unaware of the no-show classes. University investigations found the frequency of no-show classes declined after Crowder retired, and at that point no basketball players were taking them.

On Aug. 7, newly hired Chancellor Carol Folt wrote a letter to Crowder seeking to talk to her about “the problems” that were in the department. Her lawyer responded in a Sept. 5 email that Crowder wouldn’t meet. UNC forwarded the response to the NCAA’s enforcement division four days later.

Roughly three weeks ago, Crowder spent a day in a local legal office explaining her role in the scandal to Kenneth Wainstein, a former high-level U.S. Justice Department official who is leading the new probe. He has also handled a probe into NCAA misconduct.

Her attorney, Brian Vick, said Crowder “is a kindhearted person. She’s a really good person who just really hasn’t deserved any of this.”

Apr 162014


By Jane Stancill

April 15, 2014

CHAPEL HILL — The John William Pope Foundation has made a $1.3 million gift to UNC-Chapel Hill for cancer research and treatment.

The donation was announced last week at a board meeting of UNC’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

A majority of the gift, $1 million, will fund a new John William Pope Distinguished Professorship in Cancer Research. The rest will go to the John William Pope Clinical Fellows Program, to support three postgraduate fellows annually.

“My father was passionate about giving to both cancer treatment and research, and that’s exactly what these gifts do,” Art Pope, chairman and president of the foundation, said in a UNC news release. “He was very clear that he wanted any investment we made to stay in North Carolina. These are the kind of projects he would have wanted.”

Art Pope is the state’s budget director.

UNC Lineberger will nominate Thomas Shea to be the first recipient of the professorship.

Shea was one of the late John William Pope’s doctors when he was treated for cancer in 2006 and is a leader in the care of patients with hematologic malignancies.

He is the director of the UNC Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplantation Program.

Apr 162014


By Nick Anderson

April 16, 2014

Attention, high school freshmen. If you’re planning to take the SAT in two years, you probably won’t need to memorize the definitions of words like “obsequious,” “propinquity,” “enervation” or “lachrymose.”

But you will need to be alert to the several possible definitions of words such as “intense.” In a given passage, does it mean emotional, concentrated, brilliant or determined? You might also face challenges related to historical documents, such as decoding President Abraham Lincoln’s multiple uses of the word “dedicate” in the Gettysburg Address.

This new method of assessing vocabulary, among the most prominent revisions to the SAT on display for the first time Wednesday, shows how the dreaded college admission test will change in early 2016. Once billed as a gauge of college “aptitude,” with roots in the controversial practice of testing people for their “intelligence quotient,” the SAT now is marketed as a measure of high school achievement.

The College Board, which oversees the SAT, said the exam will be more straightforward but remain rigorous. Whether students will see it that way, especially those taking the current version this year and next, is another question.

“The word on the street with my kids, the ones I’m working with now, is, ‘Drat, they’re making the test easier. Why don’t I get that opportunity?’ ” said Ned Johnson, a test-preparation consultant to students in the Washington area. “That’s the perception.”

The revisions, announced in broad terms in March, were fleshed out in detail Wednesday as the College Board released draft sample questions and a new framework for the 88-year-old test. They come as the SAT has been losing market share to the rival ACT, a trend especially striking after the College Board added a required essay to the SAT in 2005. The number of students taking the SAT declined in 29 states from 2006 to 2013, a Washington Post analysis found, while the number taking the ACT fell in just three states. The ACT, launched in 1959, has long described itself as an achievement test tied to the nation’s high school curriculum.

The SAT remains the leading admission test in the District, Maryland and Virginia, as well as in many states in the Northeast and on the West Coast. But the ACT, which added an optional essay in 2005 but otherwise has been largely unchanged for the past 25 years, has boomed in many SAT strongholds and is now more widely used nationwide.

On the new SAT, the essay will be optional, the maximum score will return to 1600 instead of the current 2400, and the focus will be on analytical thinking in reading, writing and mathematics. The College Board said the revisions are part of a campaign to widen access to higher education. Some observers have wondered whether all of the changes mean the SAT is becoming more like the ACT.

“Let me be clear — both the ACT and the SAT are achievement tests,” said Cyndie Schmeiser, chief of assessment for the College Board who previously was a senior executive at the ACT. “But that’s where the similarity departs.” Schmeiser said the SAT will put a premium on “extended thinking,” comprehension of graphs and charts, and the ability to respond to texts from humanities, social studies and sciences.

The revisions appear to echo, in part, concepts embedded in the new Common Core standards for what U.S. students should learn in math and English from kindergarten through 12th grade. Those standards have been fully adopted in 45 states and the District. David Coleman, the College Board’s president and chief executive, was a key architect of Common Core. He started pushing for a makeover of the admission test soon after taking office in 2012.

There are two major changes to the multiple-choice format of the SAT. The test will list four possible answers to each question instead of five. And there no longer will be a scoring deduction for incorrect re­sponses, which the College Board said would encourage students “to give the best answer they have for every question without fear of being penalized for making their best effort.”

In reading, a section that will take 65 minutes, there will be 52 multiple-choice questions based on several passages totaling about 3,200 words. Forty percent of the passages will be in science, 40 percent in history/social studies and 20 percent in literature.

One sample question asks about this sentence: “The coming decades will likely see more intense clustering of jobs, innovation, and productivity in a smaller number of bigger cities and city-regions.”

Students are then asked whether “intense” most nearly means: (A) emotional; (B) concentrated; (C) brilliant; or (D) determined. The answer is B.

Other sample questions ask for analysis of a complex congressional speech on impeachment and for interpretation of data from a passage and informational graphic about turtle migration.

In writing and language, a section taking 35 minutes instead of the current 60 minutes, students will answer 44 multiple-choice questions about four selected passages dealing with careers, history/social studies, humanities and science.

The essay will take 50 minutes, instead of 25. Even though the essay will become optional, some colleges are likely to require it. The major change is that the essay will ask students to analyze a given argument rather than take a stance on a question. The College Board said students might be prompted to respond to a passage comparable to an excerpt from poet Dana Gioia’s essay on “Why Literature Matters.”

In math, students will have 80 minutes to answer 57 questions. Most are multiple-choice; some require students to provide answers themselves. The new math section will be 10 minutes longer and, unlike the current version, will require students to put away their calculators for 25 minutes.

“The calculator is a tool that students must use (or not use) judiciously,” the College Board said in a document explaining the changes to the test. The new exam focuses more tightly on algebra, problem solving, data analysis and “passport to advanced math,” which includes analyzing and solving quadratic and higher-order equations. The test also contains geometry and trigonometry.

The changes amount to a substantial overhaul of a test that for millions of Americans was a rite of passage. Critics say that the SAT and the ACT are needless barriers to access and that high school grades are a better way to measure academic potential. A growing number of colleges don’t require admission tests, but most selective schools do.

For the College Board, the new SAT could help end the lingering public perception that the test is about IQ or aptitude. Previous revisions ditched analogies and antonyms — portions of the old verbal test seen as tricky and unrelated to what schools teach. Making the SAT more of an achievement test, one analyst said, could be a boon for students who stress about test preparation.

“Study hard and get good grades in school,” said Nicholas Lemann, a Columbia University journalism professor and author of “The Big Test,” a history of the SAT. “That’s a much healthier set of signals to send to students and parents out there.”

Apr 162014


By Michelle Asha Cooper, Ph.D.

April 16, 2014

In nearly all aspects of life, we want our time and money spent well. Same is true for those in pursuit of higher education. Today’s students attend college for a variety of reasons, and whether enrolled in a degree/certificate program or personal enrichment course, everyone wants their money’s worth. But how exactly is “value” assessed? Students get the best bang for their dollar when a quality education is offered at an affordable price. In other words, AFFORDABLE education + QUALITY education = REAL VALUE.

Evoking a term like value in higher education conversations often leads people to think about salary — focusing on the economic and workforce benefits of a college degree. Certainly, that’s a critical and practical part of the equation. But, value should also focus on outcomes that prepare students for lifelong learning and long-term professional success and contributions to the social good.

To better gauge value, students need to ask — and receive answers to — some straightforward questions: How much does college cost and how do students pay? How many — and which — students complete their degrees? And what do graduates experience after college in the workplace and society? These may seem like easy questions to which we should already have the answers, but the truth is this information is not readily available.

In recent years, a growing number of efforts to provide better data have emerged, including institutional initiatives (e.g., Voluntary System of Accountability, Voluntary Framework for Accountability) as well as websites like College Results Online and the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard. While all represent steps in the right direction, many of these tools are limited by the federal data on which they rely that currently excludes far too many of today’s students. Given the importance of these data, federal data sources should (and can) be improved.

Other efforts, such as popular college rankings seek to inform the college decision-making process as well. However, for students who truly desire the “best value,” relying solely on rankings would be a mistake, as they tend to reflect more about institutional reputation and prestige while remaining largely silent on access, affordability, learning, and outcomes. Not to mention that the majority of today’s students — many of whom are geographically- and financially-constrained — attend non-competitive colleges that are often excluded from these rankings.

Last summer, President Obama introduced the idea of a college rating system to provide better data and answer important questions about the value of a college education. We support the federal rating system and have provided recommendations and recently published a report that would aid in its creation by helping to improve federal data.

For optimal impact, this rating system (or, as we recommend, systems) must be developed and applied in such a way to meet dual purposes: Better student information and institutional accountability. Better information can act as a form of “soft accountability,” allowing students to “vote with their feet.” However, given the immense — and growing — student and public investment in higher education, we cannot afford “soft accountability” alone. Taxpayers invest billions of dollars in higher education through student financial aid, research and development, and tax exemptions, so policymakers need better information on institutional costs, tuition prices, and student outcomes to protect and leverage this investment.

Several institutional leaders and associations have expressed strong objections toward the ratings system(s). Yet, many of these same leaders support — either implicitly or explicitly — rankings, such as the U.S. News & World Report, which we know can spur institutional decision-making in unproductive ways and have minimal impact on college-going for the masses of students.

Although the words are similar — rankings and ratings — let’s be clear, the premise and intended outcomes are totally different. And for those seeking to improve opportunity for today’s college students, the focus must be on value. As it stands, too many students spend too much time and too much money at institutions that offer them far too few chances of success.

Michelle Asha Cooper, Ph.D., is the president of the Institute for Higher Education Policy, a Washington. D.C.-based nonpartisan, nonprofit organization celebrating more than 20 years as a “champion of access and success” for all students — with a special focus on underserved populations — by providing timely research to inform public policy decisions.

Apr 152014


April 15, 2014

Whenever the broad regional influence of East Carolina University is talked about in this part of the state, it is understood that the topic is synonymous with the name Leo. W. Jenkins. Indeed, when the University of North Carolina Board of Governors gave its highest award to ECU’s sixth president last week, it came as no surprise to anyone east of Interstate 95.

The posthumous bestowing of the University Award upon Jenkins marks a historic statewide acknowledgement of his dedication to ensuring that ECU’s greatest potential would be realized. A story in Saturday’s Daily Reflector detailed the doubt, skepticism and obstacles thrown from powerful corners of political and university leadership, all of which were determinedly overcome by Jenkins’ incredible and infectious vision.

Jenkins’ legacy began when he was named dean of East Carolina College in 1947. He was named vice president in 1955 and then president in 1960. From there, he led East Carolina from “college” to “university” status, racially integrated the campus without a court order while organizing the monumental struggle to establish a medical school.

Political and university leaders saw the prospect of a medical school at ECU as a threat to the financial and political support systems that were in place for their own institutions. But Jenkins and those he rallied to the cause had a concept for a medical school whose mission could not be defeated — to increase the numbers of primary care physicians in rural and underserved areas of the state.

Newspapers editorialized against Jenkins and the vision he was pushing for ECU. Government leaders urged him to be patient and wait until the time was right to grow and expand the school’s mission, but Jenkins did not bend under the weight of those forces. Now, more than four decades later, those who live and work in this region are better off for his perseverance.

Reflecting upon the foresight and success demonstrated by Jenkins during one of the most tumultuous periods of the 20th century reveals his brilliance in tapping into that spirit of rebellion and higher purpose to win support for a broader mission. While many college and university leaders were focused on maintaining the status quo during campus protests over issues like the Vietnam War and integration, Jenkins was looking forward.

His friend and former editor of this newspaper, David Whichard, summed up Jenkins’ legacy nicely in Saturday’s story.

“He saw the potential in eastern North Carolina and (ECU),” Whichard said. “Not what we could build today, but what comes tomorrow.”