Monthly Archives: April 2012

In Memoriam: Champion ECU diving coach Mark Lenzi

Mark Lenzi (Photo courtesy of East Carolina University Sports Information)

Olympic gold medalist and former East Carolina University diving coach Mark Lenzi died April 9 in Greenville. He was 43.

Lenzi’s alma mater, Indiana University, made the announcement Monday.

Lenzi represented the U.S. at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, where he won the gold medal on the 3-meter springboard.

After a brief retirement, Lenzi returned to the sport in 1995 and qualified for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics on the 3-meter springboard, where he earned a bronze medal.

Lenzi won 18 international competitions in all on the 1- and 3-meter boards. He was the first American to win a gold medal at the Pan American Games on the 1-meter springboard and was the first diver to score over 700 points (762.35) on the three-meter springboard for 11 dives.

Lenzi won NCAA titles in 1989 and 1990, winning the 1-meter springboard both years. Lenzi was a four-time Big Ten Champion, winning all three disciplines in 1989 (1-meter, 3-meter, platform), and taking the 1-meter title in 1990. He was named NCAA Diver of the Year in 1989 and 1990.

Lenzi spent the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons as men and women’s diving coach at East Carolina University. Prior to that Lenzi coached the junior diving team at IU, with divers winning four national age-group titles.

Survivors include his wife, the former Dorothy Koncsol of Greenville; his mother, Ellie Lenzi of Fredericksburg; two brothers; a sister; and a grandmother.





ECU Transit takes first place in student driver competition

East Carolina University transit drivers celebrate their win in the East Coast Intercollegiate Rodeo March 31.

East Carolina University Transit claimed a first place win at the inaugural East Coast Intercollegiate Roadeo, March 31 at the University of Virginia.

The roadeo was a competitive test for students employed as campus transit bus operators. The roadeo measured drivers’ skills behind the wheel, knowledge of safety regulations and familiarity with the bus equipment. Scored test elements included left and right turns, passenger stops, parallel parking, alley dock backing, forward and reverse serpentine, offset lanes, diminishing clearance and a judgment stop.

Ten drivers from each participating university competed.

ECU drivers scored the highest overall, just six points over 2nd place University of Virginia, and brought home the custom-made trophy.

The event was hosted by the University of Virginia, with assistance from the University of Maryland.


ECU professors named academic fellows in terrorism studies

Two East Carolina University professors were selected as academic fellows for 2012-13 by the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a non-partisan policy institute headquartered in Washington, D.C.

William Bloss

William Bloss, a criminal justice professor in College of Human Ecology and Robert Thompson, political science professor in the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, will travel to Israel at the end of May for an intensive course in terrorism studies and in particular, how democracies can defeat the worldwide terrorist threat.

“Terrorism is the greatest threat today to the world’s democracies, including the United States and our allies around the globe,” said Clifford May, FDD president.  “To win the war against terrorism, we must win the war of ideas by promoting democracy and defeating the totalitarian ideologies that drive and justify terrorism,” he said.

The FDD Academic Fellows program provides a 10-day learning experience to U.S.–based teaching and research professionals to provide them with cutting edge information about defeating terrorist groups.

The 2012 program, which will be conducted at Tel Aviv University from May 27th to June 6th, includes lectures by academics, military and intelligence officials and diplomats from Israel, Jordan, India, and the United States. It also includes hands on experience through visits to police, customs, immigration facilities, military bases and border zones to learn the practical side of deterring and defeating terrorists.

Robert Thompson

For more information on the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies or the Academic Fellowship program, contact Dana Murphy, campus programs coordinator, at 202-207-0190.

Bloss can be reached at 252-328-1447 and Thompson can be reached at 252-328-5686.


ECU nutrition science students unveil pizza sauces, aim for commercial success

East Carolina University nutrition science students will share their own pizza sauces from 10 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. April 11 in the Golden Corral Culinary Center in the Thomas W. Rivers Building on campus.

Dr. Melani Duffrin

The students have been developing the sauces for potential commercial production, in conjunction with Crabtree Foods and Spartan Foods of America.

ECU professor Dr. Melani Duffin, who teaches the food science class, said her students complete a food development project each spring, often in conjunction with major food companies. The students have developed several good recipes, she said, and now they are offering to share their samples with the public.

“Such active learning projects promote teamwork and enhance critical thinking and problem solving skills,” Duffrin said.

Representatives from the partnering food companies will select a winning sauce or sauces, which could then undergo further testing for potential commercial development.

Crabtree Foods owners Eddie and Nick Crabtree, both ECU graduates, said they were excited about partnering with the students. “Many schools have their stamp on products in the marketplace, and it would be great to collaborate with East Carolina on a new successful product,” Eddie Crabtree said.

“It has always been a goal of ours to work with East Carolina University, and we are thrilled about potential success in the marketplace,” he said.

Crabtree Foods distributes food to all branches of the military in the U.S. and throughout the Middle East, with offices in Greenville, Raleigh, and Dubai, UAE.

For additional information, contact Peggy Novotny at 252-328-2882 or


ECU research shows involved grandfathers experience less depression

Grandfathers who are more involved with their grandchildren have fewer symptoms of depression than grandfathers who are less involved, according to a new study by East Carolina University researcher Alan C. Taylor.


Taylor, an assistant professor in ECU’s Department of Child Development and Family Relations, and co-author James S. Bates of South Dakota State University, “Grandfather Involvement and Aging Men’s Mental Health, which found that grandfather-grandchild relationships influence aging men’s mental health. The study was published in the American Journal of Men’s Health.

“There is evidence that the quality of family relationships has preclusive effects on depressive symptoms and beneficial impacts on positive affect (feelings of happiness and joy),” the authors reported.

“There have been very few studies investigating the mental health of aging men,” Taylor said, “and this study contributes important insights into how relationships between grandfathers and grandchildren are valuable to men’s mental health.”

The study examines the depressive symptoms and positive affect of 351 grandfathers. Participants were classified as “involved,” “passive,” and “disengaged” based on their frequency of contact, level of commitment and participation in activities with grandchildren.

Taylor and Bates said the findings suggest the men who have limited interaction with their grandchildren have the highest risk for developing depressive symptoms.

The research also indicates that grandfathers experiencing depressive symptoms are less likely to initiate social interaction and may thus further isolate themselves from grandchildren and other family members.

The full text of the article “Grandfather Involvement and Aging Men’s Mental Health” can be read at online at



Guest lecturer to discuss African American freedom fighters

Dr. Frank Smith Jr., founding director of the African American Civil War Memorial Freedom Foundation in Washington, D.C., will give a free, public lecture at 7 p.m. April 9, in Room 209 of the Science and Technology Building at East Carolina University.

Smith will discuss African American freedom fighters during the Civil War and the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s.

Smith began his political and civic career in Washington, D.C., where he took his first job as a researcher for the Institute for Policy Studies, focusing on education and planning issues. At the Institute, Smith was promoted to senior resident fellow and became a member of the Board of Trustees.

From 1982 to 1998, Smith served on the District of Columbia City Council, where he represented one of the most racially, ethnically and economically diverse wards in the city. During his tenure, Smith wrote legislation creating subsidies for housing down payments and a lottery system for disposing of condemned and surplus housing. He supported tax incentives for new business development.

Smith is active on various committees and has held positions on many organizational boards, including the Board of the Washington, D.C. Convention and Tourism Corporation, the Board of Commissioners of the DC Housing Authority and the DCHA Committee on Audit and Finance.

He attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga., and earned his Ph.D. degree from the Union Institute in Ohio.

The event is sponsored by the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences African and African American Studies Program.

For additional information, contact Dr. David Dennard, director of the African and African American Studies Program and associate professor of history, at 252-328-4364 or

Individuals requesting accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) should call 252-737-1016 (voice/TTY) at least 48 hours prior to the event.

ECU students host immigration forum

East Carolina University graduate students in the sociology of immigration 6010 course will host a free, open forum on immigration policy. “Perspectives on Policy” will be held from 7 – 8 p.m. April 10, in Room 1100 of the Allied Health Sciences Building.

For additional information, contact the Department of Sociology at 252-328-6883. Individuals requesting accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) should call 252-737-1016 (voice/TTY) at least 48 hours prior to the event.


Shroud of Turin Expert to Speak at ECU

Shroud of Turin expert Russ Breault will speak at East Carolina University at 8 p.m. April 11 in Hendrix Theatre. The event is free and open to the public.

Russ Breault will speak at ECU April 11 about the mysteries surrounding the famous Shroud of Turin. Contributed photos (c)1978 Barrie M. Schwortz Collection, STERA, Inc.

Breault will present The Shroud Encounter, a CSI-style, multi-media presentation that will examine the mysteries, science and controversy surrounding the world’s most analyzed artifact.  Breault has been researching and lecturing on the shroud for 25 years.

He has been featured in several national documentaries including “Mysteries of the Ancient World” on CBS and on the Discovery Channel, Learning Channel and National Geographic. Most recently, he appeared in the Emmy-nominated, “The Real Face of Jesus,” a two-hour documentary on The History Channel.

National Geographic has called the shroud, “One of the most perplexing enigmas of modern times.” A team of 40 scientists in 1981 concluded it was not the work of an artist. The blood on the shroud is AB positive with human DNA. No attempt at replicating the image has been successful.  A carbon 14 dating done in 1988 dating the shroud just over 600 years old was discarded when in 2005 textile scientists discovered the carbon sample was from a repaired corner and not from the original cloth.

For additional information, visit For more on the ECU visit, contact Rev. Scott Wilkinson, Wesley Foundation of Greenville, at (252) 916-6808 or

The Shroud of Turin

1 2 3