Category Archives: Alumni

COE alum Principal of the Year for NC

East Carolina University alumnus Jason Griffin has been named the Wells Fargo North Carolina Principal of the Year for 2017.

Griffin is principal of Hertford Grammar School in Perquimans County, one of the smallest counties in the state.

ECU alumnus Jason Griffin. (contributed photo)

ECU alumnus Jason Griffin. (contributed photo)

Griffin received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in middle grades mathematics from ECU, a master’s in school administration from Elizabeth City State University and an education specialist degree from ECU.

At the awards ceremony on May 12, State Superintendent Mark Johnson said Griffin exemplifies the qualities of leadership essential for helping teachers excel and students to achieve.

“Hertford Grammar School’s strong progress is clear evidence of Jason’s leadership,” Johnson said. “He makes smart use of data to work with his teachers to personalize learning for all students. He delegates to help his teachers grow as leaders themselves, and he works to provide them with innovative strategies to improve teaching and learning for students.”

The Title I school, where nearly two thirds of the 400-plus students in third through fifth-grade are from low-income families, achieved a school grade of B for the first time last year. The school also was just one of six elementary schools in the state’s northeast education region to earn at least a B while also exceeding their targets for academic growth.

In naming Griffin Principal of the Year, Wells Fargo Senior Community Relations Manager Juan Austin said, “Our education system has never been at a more critical juncture than now, and with administrators like Jason, we can see how dedication and effort connects with students, staff and parents on so many levels at Hertford Grammar School.

“So I’m pleased that we have the opportunity to reward his outstanding work and hold up Jason’s example for others to hopefully follow.”

Griffin was one of eight regional finalists chosen earlier this year following interviews and school visits by the selection committee.

Griffin joined Hertford Grammar in 2011 as a third-grade teacher and served as dean of students before being named principal. He previously was a second-grade teacher at Perquimans Central School and started his education career as a third-grade teacher at E.J. Hayes Elementary School in Martin County.

He was teacher of the year for Perquimans County Schools in 2012 and participates in numerous leadership activities in the district. In his submission for the award, Griffin said his greatest accomplishment as principal was leading Hertford Grammar to its performance grade of B – noting that five years earlier, the school was facing “corrective action” from the state.

“I believe my leadership style, collaboration with our district personnel, hiring effective teachers and my understanding of schoolwide data has helped Hertford Grammar School become one of the most improved schools in Region I and in North Carolina,” he wrote.

As Wells Fargo Principal of the Year, Griffin will receive $3,000 for personal use and $3,000 for his school. He also will receive professional development and resources supporting global awareness in the curriculum for his staff thanks to Education First Tours, and a custom­made NC Principal of the Year signet ring and pendant from Jostens Inc.

Wells Fargo also will provide Griffin with a stipend to travel across the state as an ambassador for education. He will serve as a member of the State Superintendent’s Principals’ Advisory Committee, as an advisor to the State Board of Education and also to the board of directors for the NC Public School Forum. In addition, the N.C. Department of Public Instruction will sponsor Griffin’s enrollment and completion of the Education Policy Fellowship Program and he will compete for national recognition through the NC Principals and Assistant Principals Association. He also will chair the 2018 Wells Fargo North Carolina Principal of the Year Selection Committee.

(Information provided by State Board of Education and Department of Public Instruction news release).

 

 

-by Crystal Baity 

Alum Marshall awarded Yale graduate Presser award

Florrie Marshall, East Carolina University alum (BM, Performance, ’15; Certificate of Advanced Performance Study, viola performance, ’16) and Yale University first-year graduate student in viola performance, has been awarded the Yale Presser Foundation Graduate Award.

Left to right: Yale professor Melvin Chen, Marshall, Yale School of Music Dean Robert Blocker. (contributed photo)

Left to right: Yale professor Melvin Chen, Marshall, Yale School of Music Dean Robert Blocker. (contributed photo)

The $10,000 Presser Foundation Award is awarded to an outstanding returning Yale student to advance his or her music education. The Graduate Award at the Presser Foundation is only given to one student at each of 12 exclusively invited schools of music.

To read more about Florrie Marshall’s time as a student at ECU click here.

 

 

-by Harley Dartt, University Communication

The Pirate Alumni Road Race pounds the pavement for students

A blue sky and mild temperatures provided the perfect backdrop for the 10th annual Pirate Alumni Road Race, which was held in Greenville Saturday, April 22. The 5K and 1-mile fun run provided some competition as a way to raise funds for scholarships.

“This is one of our major scholarship fundraisers for the year. It’s a great opportunity for people to not only to have fun and be active, but also to help us with scholarships,” said Heath Bowman, president of the East Carolina Alumni Association.

PeeDee was the first one out when the cannon went off, but he couldn’t hold onto the lead for the 10th annual Pirate Alumni Road Race. PeeDee got a “did not finish” while No. 49, Patrick Creech, came in first in his age group. (Photos curtesy of the Alumni Association)

PeeDee was the first one out when the cannon went off, but he couldn’t hold onto the lead for the 10th annual Pirate Alumni Road Race. PeeDee got a “did not finish” while No. 49, Patrick Creech, came in first in his age group. (Photos curtesy of the Alumni Association)

Bowman said they have 21 East Carolina Alumni Scholars this year and give away nearly $50,000 in scholarships every year. Many of the scholarship recipients were either volunteering or running in the event.

“A lot of students rely on financial aid and scholarship support, and so we feel like this is part of our mission to assist students and to help alumni and future alumni have a great experience here at ECU and to be able to obtain a higher education,” said Bowman.

PeeDee welcomes a couple of finishers, sporting their Pirate Alumni Road Race T-shirts, as they cross the finish line.

PeeDee welcomes a couple of finishers, sporting their Pirate Alumni Road Race T-shirts, as they cross the finish line.

ECU sophomore and alumni association scholar Jacob Walker is a public health studies and chemistry major who hopes to go to medical school. He said his alumni scholarship is vital to him attaining that goal.

“It’s been so important to me. I don’t really have a good financial background with my parents,” said Walker. “My mom has been a single mom of three for most of her life, and it’s been really hard. A lot of the financial burden is on me. This scholarship has really helped me in terms of paying for my own education.”

All of the 250 race participants received a T-shirt, and the top three finishers in each age group won medals. Approximately $6,000 was raised for scholarships. The students benefiting from the fundraiser said they are appreciative of those who took part.

“Thank you (donors) so much. It means the world to us that you would give back to the university and help students like us,” said ECU junior and alumni association scholar Stephanie Morales, who was volunteering at the event.

The next alumni association scholarship fundraiser will be the Purple Gold Golf Open, set for Sept. 15 at Ironwood Country Club in Greenville. More information about the alumni association is at http://www.piratealumni.com.

 

-by Rich Klindworth 

 

 

Pirate Nation represents at iconic Boston Marathon

The 121st Boston Marathon was a memorable one for at least three East Carolina University alumni.

Tim Meigs ’89 won his age group. Dionne Evans ’95 ran her second Boston after finishing her first one in 2013 just three minutes before the first bomb went off near the finish line. And Louis Kinlaw ’04 ran his first Boston and was wearing his Pirates hat all 26.2 miles.

“I was pretty excited,” Meigs said about his time. “I didn’t know until I got my cell phone out of my gear bag and checked text messages. My wife had texted me and said that it looked like I had won.”

Tim Meigs ’84 running through the streets of Boston during the 121st Boston Marathon. Meigs would finish first in his age group. (photo courtesy of Tim Meigs)

Tim Meigs ’84 running through the streets of Boston during the 121st Boston Marathon. Meigs would finish first in his age group. (photo courtesy of Tim Meigs)

Meigs graduated with a biology degree and is part of the biology department’s advancement council. He is a patent lawyer for Becton Dickinson and lives in Raleigh. He’s a relatively new runner, having started running about 10 years ago, just before he turned 40.

“I ran a little bit in high school but not particularly well. It was kind of like a midlife crisis sort of thing getting into it later,” he said with a chuckle.

Now 50 years old and having finished nearly two dozen marathons, Meigs ran this year’s Boston Marathon in 2:41:48. That time was the fastest in his 50-to-54 age group, which comprised 2,205 male runners. He finished 221st overall, out of 30,074 runners. He had previously finished third in 2012 and fourth in 2013 in the 45-49 age group at Boston. For his victory, he received a vase trophy during the awards ceremony and the opportunity to run his ninth Boston Marathon next year.

“Given the stature of the race and the amount of competition, I’d say this one is probably the biggest one (win). I’d probably put this one at the top of the list,” Meigs said. “It’s kind of fun to be able to do this. Hoping I can run another one and go back next year and run well there, too, but you can’t take these things for granted.”

Dionne Evans (right) poses with Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans. In 2013, then Superintendent Evans played an integral part in the investigation and eventual arrest of the Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. He was portrayed in the movie “Patriots Day” by actor James Colby. Incidentally, for both of them, this was their first Boston Marathon since the bombing; they both ran it in 2013. Dionne ran in her second Boston while the commissioner ran in his 19th. (photo courtesy of Dionne Evans)

Dionne Evans (right) poses with Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans. In 2013, then Superintendent Evans played an integral part in the investigation and eventual arrest of the Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. He was portrayed in the movie “Patriots Day” by actor James Colby. Incidentally, for both of them, this was their first Boston Marathon since the bombing; they both ran it in 2013. 
(photo courtesy of Dionne Evans)

Like Meigs, Evans ran Boston in 2013 and had completed the course when the first bomb exploded. She was about a block away from the blast.

“I was close enough to feel it, hear it, see the big plume, hear the people screaming at the finish line,” Evans said.

This year she said it felt like she had come full circle when she crossed the finish line.

“I was crying uncontrollably and I couldn’t stop myself. There were people coming up to me, hugging me because they knew the story because I had run part of the race with them,” said Evans.

Evans graduated with an exercise sports science degree and is a personal trainer at Champions Health & Fitness in Greenville. She has always been physically active but decided to take up long distance running only about 10 years ago with some friends. That first half-marathon has now turned into 13 full marathons.

“I just love it. The way I feel mentally, just the sense of accomplishment. I just don’t get that anywhere else,” she said.

Temperatures this year were in the mid-60s when the race began – warmer than what most long distance runners prefer. Evans said she struggled to get to the finish line because of the warmer temperatures and is not happy with her time of 4:29:44. However, as she closed in on the final meters of her run, it was all worth it.

“When you hit Boylston and you hit that finish line, I’m getting chills just thinking about it because it’s so overwhelming,” Evans said. “My goal now is to qualify for 2019.”

(Left) Louis Kinlaw ’04 sporting his ECU hat and his wife Shannon ‘14 a Brody graduate took a photo together before the race. (Right) Kinlaw poses with his finishers medal. (photo courtesy of Louis Kinlaw)

(Left) Louis Kinlaw ’04 sporting his ECU hat and his wife Shannon ‘14 a Brody graduate took a photo together before the race. (Right) Kinlaw poses with his finishers medal.
(photo courtesy of Louis Kinlaw)

All along the Boston streets, Pirate pride was welling inside of Kinlaw. He graduated from ECU in industrial technology and is an engineering group leader with Bosch Home Appliances in New Bern. Every race he runs, he wears one of his East Carolina hats. Even though Boston is a long way away from Greenville, he didn’t feel far from home.

“You just have 26 miles of people just cheering you on. At least every couple of miles I’d hear a ‘Go Pirates’ or a ‘Go ECU’ or something like that,” Kinlaw said.

This was Kinlaw’s second marathon. He qualified for Boston during his first marathon. He said he’s always been a runner but got into long-distance running four years ago with a half-marathon, like Evans. While Kinlaw’s Boston time of 3:22:50 would be many runners’ personal best, he is looking to do better the next time.

“It was painful at the end, but it was probably one of the best experiences of my life,” Kinlaw said. “When you turn onto Boylston Street for the finish, there are thousands of people there. It was a pretty surreal moment for me – pretty emotional to see that and to experience that.”

 

 

-by Rich Klindworth 

Ron Clark to speak at 3rd annual Corporate and Leadership Awards

East Carolina University alumnus Ron Clark, ’94, will be the featured speaker for the third annual Corporate and Leadership Awards banquet hosted by the ECU Division of Student Affairs at 6 p.m. April 22 at the Greenville Hilton.

Clark, a New York Times bestselling author, the subject of the movie, “The Ron Clark Story,” and Disney’s American Teacher of the Year, started working with students in Aurora before teaching in New York City and then founding the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition to educating fifth- to eighth-grade students, the internationally acclaimed school serves as a professional development site for teachers. To date, more than 40,000 educators have visited the Ron Clark Academy to be trained by Clark and his award-winning staff.

ECU alumnus Ron Clark, ’94. (contributed photo)

ECU alumnus Ron Clark, ’94. (contributed photo)

The recipients of the 40 Under 40 Leadership Awards will be recognized at the banquet. These alumni under the age of 40 have excelled after graduating from ECU and are now using their experience to make an impact in their respective professions, local communities and the world.

This year’s honorees represent 11 different states and one award winner will travel from Ontario, Canada to attend. Many are North Carolina residents with the remaining living across the country – from California to New York and Florida.

Awards also will be presented to corporate partners who have made positive impacts for ECU and its students, as well as individuals who serve as advocates for student affairs.

For tickets or information, call Zack Hawkins in student affairs at 252-737-4970 or email hawkinsz@ecu.edu.

 

2017 40 Under 40 Leadership Awards Honorees

Arts & Humanities

Trevor James Avery – Jacksonville

Tyler A. Griffin – Miami, Florida

Jennifer Parks Rezeli – Greenville

Augustus D. Willis IV – Raleigh

Jeremy Woodard – New York, New York

 

Business

Rasheca Barrow – Houston, Texas

Dr. Charlie Brown – Washington

Cristen A. Jones – Charleston, South Carolina

Justin Lucas – Chicago, Illinois

Victor R. Moore Jr. – Greenville

Bradley Pearce – Davidson

Scott Poag – Augusta, Georgia

Jamie Lynn Sigler – San Diego, California

Heather Waters – Greenville

 

Health & Wellness

Steven Carmichael – Charlotte

Dr. Abiola Fajobi – Ontario, Canada

Lex Gillette – Chula Vista, California

Dr. Glenn Harvin – Greenville

Natasha C. Holley – Ahoskie

Dr. Shondell Jones – Winterville

Dr. Shannon Baker Powell – Grimesland

Dr. Jessica Tomalusa – Wake Forest

 

Public Service

Melissa Adamson – Greenville

Honorable April M. Smith – Fayetteville

Captain Christine Guthrie – Melbourne, Florida

Major Derri G. Stormer – Winston-Salem

Brock Letchworth – Greenville

Mindy Ann Walker – Raleigh

Aleshia Hunt – Greenville

Mona Lesane Townes – Knightdale

Captain Sheontee Frank – Summerville, South Carolina

 

Research & Education

April Paul Baer – Frostburg, Maryland

Dr. Carenado Davis – Winterville

Dr. Jasmine Graham – Indianapolis, Indiana

Gregory Hedgepeth – Boca Raton, Florida

Angela McCall Hill – Coats

Leshaun T. Jenkins – Tarboro

Dr. Steve M. Lassiter, Jr. – Greenville

Dr. Keeley J. Pratt – Columbus, Ohio

Recardo Tucker – Atlanta, Georgia

 

 

-by Jules Norwood

College of Nursing inducts 10 into Hall of Fame

The East Carolina College of Nursing inducted 10 members into its Hall of Fame on Friday, March 31, during a ceremony held at the Hilton Hotel Greenville. The event, which also recognized the college’s 2017 Distinguished Alumnus, honors outstanding contributors to nursing in the areas of education, administration, research and practice.

The college of Nursing inducted 10 new members into its Hall of Fame and honored its 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient on Saturday, April 1, 2017, at the Hilton Greenville. From left, Polly Johnson, Genemarie McGee, Debra Pomeroy, Sharon Overton, Donna Montana-Rhodes, Linda Hofler, Dean Sylvia Brown, Donna Gardner, Jean Matthews, Jayne Holland, Sonya Hardin and Mary Holland. (Photos by Conley Evans)

The college of Nursing inducted 10 new members into its Hall of Fame and honored its 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient on Saturday, April 1, 2017, at the Hilton Greenville. From left, Polly Johnson, Genemarie McGee, Debra Pomeroy, Sharon Overton, Donna Montana-Rhodes, Linda Hofler, Dean Sylvia Brown, Donna Gardner, Jean Matthews, Jayne Holland, Sonya Hardin and Mary Holland. (Photos by Conley Evans)

This year’s class includes inductees that hold leadership roles in major medical centers, the CEO of a statewide nonprofit nursing organization, esteemed nursing faculty members and one former U.S. Navy commander.

The Hall of Fame has raised approximately $94,000 for a merit-based student scholarship fund since its inception in 2011.

Distinguished Alumni Award recipient Linda Hofler, left, and College of Nursing Dean Sylvia Brown.

Distinguished Alumni Award recipient Linda Hofler, left, and College of Nursing Dean Sylvia Brown.

“The Hall of Fame was established to recognize the service of nurses who are considered to be among the most highly regarded nurse leaders and to acknowledge the significant impact that inductees have made to the advancement of nursing,” said Dr. Sylvia Brown, dean of the College of Nursing. “This Hall of Fame not only recognizes our outstanding leaders, but is another way to give back to future generations of nurses.”

The 2016-2017 Hall of Fame Scholarship recipient, Kelly Bulloch, a master’s student in the nurse anesthetist program, was recognized at the event.

The 2017 inductees join a list of 90 Hall of Fame members. Each new member receives a flame-shaped award that resembles the lamp illustrated on the college’s nursing pin. The lamp and its associated flame symbolize a commitment to service and a vibrant life. This year’s Hall of Fame class:

  • Donna Jean Gardner, Freeport, PA
  • Sonya Hardin, Greenville, NC
  • Jayne Holland, Savannah, GA
  • Mary Holland, Greenville, NC
  • Polly Johnson, Chapel Hill, NC
  • Jean Matthews, Ahoskie, NC
  • Genemarie McGee, Chesapeake, VA
  • Donna Montana-Rhodes, Washington, NC
  • Sharon Overton, Greenville, NC
  • Debra Pomeroy, Winterville, NC

On a night set aside for celebrating influential nurse leaders, the college also recognized the recipient of its 2017 Distinguished Alumnus Award. This year’s awardee is Linda Hofler of Greenville, who earned both her master’s and PhD in nursing from ECU. Hofler serves as the senior vice president — nurse executive at Vidant Medical Center, the level-one trauma center that serves a 29-county region in eastern North Carolina.

Learn more about the College of Nursing’s Hall of Fame and Distinguished Alumnus Award by visiting www.nursing.ecu.edu/hof.cfm.

 

 

-by Natalie Sayewich, University Communication

Campus Recreation & Wellness summer camps

ECU’s Campus Recreation and Wellness (CRW) will begin Summer Camp registration for students, faculty, and staff on Tuesday, March 14th at 8:00 a.m. The CRW offers camps for children ages 5-13, with Rec Junior being ages 5-8 and Recreation Nation being ages 8-13.

Registration details and program information can be accessed by going to our website: www.ecu.edu/crw/summercamps.

For more information please contact Jon Wall at 252-328-1565 or walljo@ecu.edu.

School of Music alumnus wins another Grammy

School of Music alumnus Chris Bullock (BM Performance, Jazz Studies, 2003) won his third Grammy with the multi-genre band Snarky Puppy on February 12, 2017.

This year’s win was for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album, which the band also won in 2016. They won for Best R&B Performance in 2014. A multi-instrumentalist, Bullock performs on saxophone, clarinet, flutes and synths, and has interests in hip-hop and electronic music including deejaying, beat making and production.

ECU’s College of Education inducts 12 into Educators Hall of Fame

Twelve educators and advocates from across North Carolina were inducted into East Carolina University’s Educators Hall of Fame on Jan. 28.

The 18th annual event raised more than $20,000 for student scholarships in the ECU College of Education.

The inductees were Carla Frinsko of Winterville, Dr. Robert C. Hanes of Charlotte, Dr. B. Grant Hayes of Greenville, the late Ruth Barnhill Jackson of Greenville, Gwenlyn Goodson Jeffreys of Greensboro, Peggy Jackson Nelson of Greenville, Dr. Katherine O’Connor of Hillsborough, the late Patricia Peoples of Greenville, Dr. John A Swope of Greenville, Sandra Warren of Snow Hill, Dr. Kathi Wilhite of Tarboro, and Mary Alice Yarbrough of Greenville.

 ECU’s College of Education inducted 12 people into the Hall of Fame on Jan. 28. They include, from left to right, seated, Dr. Katherine O’Connor, Mary Alice Yarbrough, Dr. Kathi Wilhite, Carla Frinsko and Peggy Jackson Nelson, and left to right, standing, Dr. John Swope, Hazel Walker in honor of Patricia Peoples, Sandra Warren, Elizabeth Cousar for Dr. Robert Hanes, and Dr. Grant Hayes, dean of the College of Education. (contributed photo)

ECU’s College of Education inducted 12 people into the Hall of Fame on Jan. 28. They include, from left to right, seated, Dr. Katherine O’Connor, Mary Alice Yarbrough, Dr. Kathi Wilhite, Carla Frinsko and Peggy Jackson Nelson, and left to right, standing, Dr. John Swope, Hazel Walker in honor of Patricia Peoples, Sandra Warren, Elizabeth Cousar for Dr. Robert Hanes, and Dr. Grant Hayes, dean of the College of Education. (contributed photo)

A special guest at the ceremony was Bob Sawyer, retired teacher, ECU alumnus and former Dean’s Advisory Council member, who had the idea for creating the Hall of Fame. Sawyer, an ECU swimmer and charter member of the university’s Sports Hall of Fame, believed that teachers deserved the same recognition as athletes.

Each inductee was sponsored with a monetary gift of $1,000 or more in support of the Educators Hall of Fame scholarship endowment and will be recognized with a plaque on the Hall of Fame wall in the college. Annual interest from the endowment is used to fund merit-based scholarships for College of Education students.

Since 1999, the Hall of Fame has recognized the service and contributions of more than 455 individuals who have impacted the field of education and ECU’s College of Education. The program has raised more than $560,000 toward a goal of $1 million for the endowment.

For more information, contact Terah Archie, director of the Office of Community Relations and Outreach, at Archiet15@ecu.edu or 252-737-1257.

 

 

-by Crystal Baity

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