Monthly Archives: April 2012

ECU Child Development Center named for alumna

The ECU College of Human Ecology dedicated the Nancy W. Darden Child Development Center April 21. Attendees included (left to right) Judy Siguaw, Dean of the College of Human Ecology, and Darden’s family and friend, Robin Newton (niece), Wilbur Douglas Whitfield (brother), Fran Whitfield (sister-in-law), Carla Mangum (niece), Robert “Bobby” Whitfield (brother), and Dr. Dorothy Pruitt (friend).


The East Carolina University Child Development Center has been named in honor of an alumna who graduated in 1956.

The estate of the late Nancy Whitfield Darden donated a substantial gift to establish the first endowed professorship in the ECU Department of Child Development and Family Relations in the College of Human Ecology.

On April 21, the college celebrated Darden’s life and generosity by naming the Nancy W. Darden Child Development Center in her memory. The naming coincided with the 100th anniversary of the ECU’s Home Economics Education and Family Consumer Sciences program, from which Darden graduated.

The Darden bequest qualifies for state matching funds from the Distinguished Professors Endowment Trust Fund created by the North Carolina General Assembly. Remaining funds from the gift will be used for scholarships for undergraduate students preparing for careers working with children and families.

Darden was born and raised in Creedmoor, N.C.  Following her graduation from ECU, she taught high school home economics in Durham for several years. She then co-owned and operated “L’Nanz,” a fashion design company in Durham. From 1978 to 1998, she managed the Creedmoor office of a Durham real estate company, eventually opening her own firm, Darden Real Estate, in Creedmoor.

Darden also founded the Ruth Home, a transitional home for women with drug and alcohol abuse problems, and Angel Spirit, a nonprofit organization that provided financial backing for the Ruth Home.

In 2007, Darden established the Nancy W. Darden Scholarship in Criminal Justice to provide financial support to ECU students majoring in criminal justice.

ECU Women’s Roundtable named Darden one of the 100 Incredible ECU Women in 2007. She was honored as one of the 100 Legacy Leaders for the College of Human Ecology in 2009. Darden died in January 2011.

Dr. Dorothy Pruitt, a life-long friend and ECU classmate spoke of Darden’s generosity to her community, family, and friends. “Nancy worked tirelessly to help others improve their lives. She felt blessed and sought to share her blessings with others,” said Pruitt.

Cynthia Johnson, chair of the Department of Child Development and Family Relations, said, “Nancy’s main concern was the welfare of children and families, and her generosity will continue in perpetuity to enrich the education of our students. We’re so proud to have Nancy’s name beside the door of ECU’s Child Development Center.”

ECU’s Child Development Center, located in the Thomas W. Rivers Building, has been a part of the university for over sixty years, providing students of child development and early education the opportunity to gain practical experience with children and their families. All birth through kindergarten teacher education students and child life majors complete practicums and/or internship experiences in the Center.  The Center is accredited by the Association for the Education of Young Children.


‘Lavender Launch’ to celebrate LGBTA seniors

The East Carolina University Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Ally (LGBTA) Resource Office is holding a commencement celebration to support LGBTA seniors.

The inaugural Lavender Launch will be held at 7 p.m. May 3 in Greene Residence Hall, followed by a reception in the Ledonia Wright Cultural Center.

ECU Campus Living and Dining are co-sponsors.

Participating in the ceremony are ECU Provost Dr. Marilyn Sheerer, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Dr. Virginia Hardy and Dean of Students Dr. Lynn Roeder. Faculty, staff, students and members of the community are welcomed.

Lavender Launch celebrations the leadership, achievements and contributions of ECU’s LGBT and Ally students.

For additional information, contact the LGBT Resource Office at 737-4451 or e-mail

KUSHA: Iran’s use of police hinders modernization

East Carolina University criminal justice professor Hamid R. Kusha said that an ancient system continues to impede Iran’s efforts to modernize its national police force.

Dr. Hamid Kusha

In his case study “Impediments to Police Modernization in Iran, 1878-1979,” published recently in Policing and Society, Kusha discusses the history of policing in Iran and the many failed tries at modernizing the country’s National Police.

Historic misuse of its national police force stems from an ancient system that protects the interest of the country’s rulers rather than its citizens, Kusha said. That system presents a roadbloack to the country’s modernization.

In the study Kusha dissects the inability of Iran’s police to function as a neutral law enforcement institution, from the country’s ancient past to the Islamic revolution in 1979. He details the antiquated modes and methods of Iran’s police, failed modernization efforts by the Qajaar and Pahlavi regimes, the geopolitics of Western economies hungry for Iranian oil and raw products and the capitalism-based modernization schemes of the 19th and 20thcenturies.

Kusha said that through all of Iran’s regime changes and attempts at democratization and modernization, the police have been used to enforce the arbitrary will of the powerful. For example, in trying to modernize Iran in the 1930s, Reza Shah used the police in forced unveilings of Muslim women and girls, and he authorized police use of illegal intelligence gathering.

Policing in Iran lacks the basic principles of professional Western policing constructed upon informed consent and the presumption of innocence, Kusha said. He said Iran’s National Police force lacks an institutionalized sense of justice and citizens do not perceive the force as protectors.

“Looking at the present turmoil in the Middle East from Afghanistan to the west coast of north Africa, one could argue that police institutions have played significant roles in the suppression of dissent in these countries, be it political or social,” said Kusha. “New emerging regimes must avoid turning the police into an instrument of suppression. The police must be in sync with overall democratization of the state.”

Kusha said the U.S. departments of State, Justice, Defense and Homeland Security have lessons to learn as well.

He said, “The MO of these departments in the past is that whoever is capable of subduing malcontents regardless of methods is helping U.S. interest in the region. The new policy must be, whoever is trying to democratize the state and its policing apparatus in Middle Eastern countries is our friend in the long run.”

To read the full text of “Impediments to Police Modernization in Iran, 1878-1979,” visit


ECU to celebrate Founders Day

East Carolina University will celebrate Founders Day beginning at 9 a.m. April 25 in Hendrix Theatre, Mendenhall Student Center.

While commemorating the university’s founding in 1907, the event will include an awards day to recognize faculty, staff and students for their significant accomplishments during the past 12 months.

Among the awards that will be presented are the UNC Board of Governors Teaching Awards, the UNC Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching, the UNC Board of Governors Distinguished Professor for Teaching Awards, the ECU Scholar-Teacher Awards, the lifetime and five-year Research and Creative Achievement Awards and the Centennial Awards for Excellence in Service, Leadership, Ambition and Spirit. Faculty members, staff members and students will also be inducted in the Servire Society, recognizing public service.


ECU sociology professor honored by national associations

ECU professor Dr. Lee Maril receives an honor for his research during a national conference in Boston. (Contributed photo)

An East Carolina University sociology professor was honored by two national associations for his research on immigration.

Dr. Lee Maril was awarded for research presented in his 2011 book, “The Fence: National Security, Public Safety, and Illegal Immigration Along the U.S.-Mexico Border.”

The book received the 2012 Ray and Pat Brown Award for the best single work published in 2011, awarded by the Popular Culture/American Culture Association. Maril received the award at the organization’s national conference in Boston this month.

“I am honored to have received this award, which I hope will bring more attention to immigration policy in the United States and the variety of problems associated with our broken system of immigration policy dating back to the Immigration and Reform Act of 1986,” Maril said.

“Among these tragic problems are the hundreds of women, young children and grandparents who needlessly die every year while illegally entering our country to find honest work and/or to rejoin their families.”

The Popular Culture Association was founded in 1971 by professors and scholars Ray Browne, of Bowling Green State University; and Russell Nye, of Michigan State University. In 1979 the PCA formed a partnership with the American Culture Association, creating a joint, national conference held each year with more than 2,000 participants. In addition, there are regional associations throughout the country and international conferences in Finland and Poland.

Maril’s book was also selected as one of three finalists for the best scholarly book by the Texas Institute of Letters, a non-profit organization whose purpose is to stimulate interest in Texas letters and to recognize distinctive literary achievement. Joining Maril’s book as finalists were books published by Yale University Press and the University of Texas Press.

A native of Oklahoma, Maril received his B.A. degree from Grinnell College, his M.A. degree from Indiana University-Bloomington and his Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis. Maril taught at Oklahoma State University for 10 years. He has been at ECU for nine years, and serves as the founding director of the Center for Diversity and Inequality Research and professor of sociology in the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences.

Maril has conducted research on the Mexican border for most of his career. His previous book, “Patrolling Chaos: The United States Border Patrol in Deep South Texas,” led to his testimony before the United States Congress on three separate occasions, most recently at the immigration field hearings in Dubuque, Iowa. To date, his research has contributed to two bills in the House of Representatives and one in the Senate.

Maril is a columnist for the online, daily Homeland Security News Wire at  To read more about Maril and his research, visit For additional information, contact Maril at 252-328-6147 or


Medical faculty members edit new publication

A new book edited by ECU professors Drs. Ronald Perkin, William Novotny and Irma Fiordalisi was published by World Scientific Press.

Titled, “The PICU Book: A Primer for Medical Students, Residents and Acute Care Practitioners,” the book is available at (

Perkin is professor and chair of pediatrics at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University and co-medical director of Vidant Children’s Hospital. Fiordalisi is professor and chief of pediatric critical care. Novotny is professor and critical care specialist.

Brody to hold Rural Workforce Recruiting Fair

The Department of Family Medicine at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University will host a Rural Workforce Recruiting Fair on May 3rd in the new Family Medicine building, 101 Heart Drive in Greenville.

The event is being held in conjunction with the Brody School of Medicine’s attempt to create a community care medicine recruitment and referral program for underserved communities. A number of hospitals and medical providers from across the region as well as representatives from the North Carolina Office of Rural Health and the North Carolina Community Health Center Association will be at the event.

Brody residents and medical students, as well as allied health students, are encouraged to attend.

The event is supported in part with funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration.


101 Heart Drive- New Family Medicine Building

Greenville, NC

2nd Floor Auditorium  2610C

May 3, 12:30-4:30 p.m.

Guest Speakers: 1:30-2:30 p.m.

Recruiting: 2:30-4:30 p.m.

For additional information, contact Dr. Chris Duffrin, or Molly Cashion,


ECU Staff Senate receives $2,000 for Gail Jordan Memorial Scholarship

At the $2,000 check presentation for the Gail Jordan Scholarship Fund are, left to right, Justin Boulmay, ECU Staff Senate secretary; Mandee Foushee Lancaster, ECU Staff Senate chair-elect; Mary Susan Williams, ECU Staff Senate chair; Rebecca Mikell and Ian Brinkley of Liberty Mutual; and Becky Vaughn, ECU director of benefits. (Photo by Doug Boyd)


The East Carolina University Staff Senate will accept a $2,000 check for the Gail Jordan Memorial Scholarship fund April 19 at the senate’s regular meeting.

The fund was initiated last year to provide financial support to ECU employees who wish to grow personally and professionally within their careers. Awards help employees pay for tuition and fees not covered under the university’s tuition waiver program.

Gail Jordan

The scholarship was named for a longstanding ECU employee, Gail Jordan, who retired with 36 years as a state employee. After four years in the North Carolina Department of Revenue, Jordan began working with ECU in 1973. She retired in 2005, receiving the Founders Day Award for service to the university.

Soon after her retirement, Jordan died following a battle with cancer.

School of Communication alum to receive alumnus award

John Cooper, who earned his communication degree at East Carolina University in 1989, will be given the School of Communication’s Distinguished Alumnus Award at a reception April 21.


Cooper, deputy manager of the Live Desk at NBC News Channel in Charlotte, has worked at the NBC news service for more than 20 years. NBC News Channel distributes national and international video news stories to NBC stations around the country. At the Live Desk, Cooper acts as a producer for field reporters.

Last fall, Cooper visited ECU as the keynote speaker for the fourth annual High School Media Workshop, which the North Carolina Scholastic Media Association co-sponsored.

“John Cooper has been an outstanding supporter of the School of Communication for a number of years, and we are delighted to recognize his significant contributions by giving him the Distinguished Alumnus Award,” said Dr. Linda Kean, director of the School of Communication.

The 6th Annual Spring Reception is organized by CommCrew, the School of Communication’s alumni and supporters’ organization.


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