The Black Alumni Chapter of the East Carolina Alumni Association marked East Carolina University’s Homecoming with its second annual Awards Banquet and Gala.
The event, which had a theme of “Empowering our Future,” was held Oct. 29 at the Greenville Hilton and included entertainment by ECU’s own Carroll Dashiell & Company. ECU graduate Dr. Anthony Jackson, superintendent of Vance County Schools, served as the master of ceremonies.
The keynote address was presented by ECU Board of Trustees member Danny Scott of Swansea, Illinois.
Scott called on all of those attending to get involved, stay engaged or become active in ECU – whether it’s serving as a mentor or on a university board, providing an internship to an ECU student, or donating to a university scholarship fund or other area of personal interest.
“Now it’s more important than ever to be involved and engaged with our alma mater,” Scott said. “We need your talents, expertise, knowledge, leadership and courage.”
Taunya Stevens-Johnson received the 2016 Laura Marie Leary Elliott Scholarship.
Elliott was the first African-American undergraduate student to receive a degree from ECU. The Laura Marie Leary Elliott Memorial Scholarship Fund honors her and assists students pursuing careers in fields that are historically underrepresented by minority populations. This may include fields related to science, mathematics, engineering, technology or any other field that applicants can demonstrate as being historically underrepresented by minority students.
Elliott’s sister, Ruth Asbury, presented the scholarship award to Stevens-Johnson, who is double-majoring in secondary education and mathematics and plans to teach high school math.
A senior from Barberton, Ohio, Stevens-Johnson works as a student worker in the Department of Mathematics and as a tutor in the ECU C.A.V.E. (College Algebra Virtual Environment), a learning lab in Joyner Library. She is also a Hattie M. Strong Foundation scholar.
Rev. Dr. Kenneth Hammond received the Dr. Andrew Best Trailblazer Award. He is senior pastor at Union Baptist Church in Durham, which has more than 7,000 members.
Hammond earned a bachelor of arts degree in history and a master’s degree in education from ECU and his doctor of divinity degree from Shaw University. During his years at ECU, he was the first African-American elected senior class president.
Linda Thompson Thomas of Charlotte received the Laura Marie Leary Elliott Courageous Leader award. After retiring from Duke Energy in 2015 as director of Human Resources Business Partners, Thomas continued her involvement on campus including serving as a board member to the Student Affairs Advancement Council and as a member of the Board of Visitors and the East Carolina Alumni Association Board.
And Dr. Virginia Hardy, vice chancellor for Student Affairs at ECU, received the Ledonia Wright Outstanding Faculty-Staff Award, which honors a current or past ECU employee who has made outstanding contributions to the university community and to educating ECU students.
In the community, Hardy has served on the boards of Greenville Utilities and Pitt Community College and as chair of the Oakwood School’s Horizon Project Board.
In announcing Hardy, 1980 ECU graduate Karen Evans of Washington, D.C., who served as the chair of the awards committee, said, “Dr. Hardy strives to utilize every available ‘pulpit’ in her efforts to enhance student success, student learning, leadership development and the overall quality of life for ECU students inside and outside of the classroom. … (She) is committed to educating the next generation of leaders who will be prepared to serve locally as well as globally.”
–ECU News Services