Griffith named Harriot College of Arts & Sciences distinguished professor

East Carolina University anthropology professor Dr. David Griffith was named distinguished professor for the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences during the college’s annual faculty convocation Aug. 19.



Griffith was the 15th individual selected for the honor, traditionally awarded at the beginning of each academic year. The award is conferred upon a professor whose career exemplifies a commitment to and a love for knowledge and academic life, as demonstrated by outstanding teaching and advising, research, creative productivity and professional service.

“I have always loved my work at ECU, in large part because of the many fine faculty members …that I have had the good fortune to work with,” Griffith said.

“Early in my career, Keats Sparrow once said to me, ‘You are a good citizen of this university, David.’ At the time, I don’t believe I gave his remark the thought it deserved, but as I have grown older I have come to appreciate what good citizenship means in a university that has become a dynamic, driving force in Eastern North Carolina.”

Griffith is interim director of the ECU Institute for Coastal Science and Policy. He is recognized for his research on labor migration, the decline of traditional fisheries and the effect of that decline on the economic wellbeing of the state’s coastal communities. Griffith has authored or co-authored 35 peer-reviewed journal articles, 25 articles in edited volumes, 21 technical reports, and eight books. He has been a primary investigator or co-investigator on more than 50 research grants totaling $7.1 million.

He is a member of the Southern Coastal Heritage Committee, American Anthropological Association, American Ethnological Society, Society for the Anthropology of Work, Rural Sociological Society, Association for Consumer Research, American Academy of Poets, and the Modern Poetry Association. He is a fellow of the Society for Applied Anthropology and associate editor for the journal, American Anthropologist.

Griffith earned his Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Florida and his master’s and bachelor’s degrees in anthropology from the University of Iowa. He joined the ECU faculty in 1984 and was named senior scientist in the ECU Institute for Coastal Science and Policy in 2001.

For additional information, contact Griffith at 252-328-1748 or