Chancellor Cecil Staton awarded three of his Chancellor’s Amethysts at Thursday night’s East Carolina University Board of Trustees dinner. The Chancellor’s Amethyst is the premiere recognition of philanthropic commitment at East Carolina University. He honored BB&T, Carl and Connie Rogers, and Drs. Mary Raab and William McConnell for their ongoing generosity and service to the university.
Staton recognized BB&T as one of ECU’s most loyal corporate supporters. Over the lifetime of BB&T’s support of the university, it has donated more than $3.6 million, which includes its support for the BB&T Center for Leadership Development at ECU. In addition, BB&T has pledged $1 million to the Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium Southside Renovation Campaign.
“Much like East Carolina, BB&T is a mission-driven organization with a clearly defined set of values,” Staton said. “If you look at BB&T’s philanthropic support of ECU, you will see where this culture aligns quite nicely with the work being done across campus to ensure student success, instill a passion for public service, and transform our region.”
Carl Rogers is a 1970 ECU alumnus with a bachelor’s degree in physical education. He is in his sixth year as a member of the Pirate Club Executive Committee after serving as the ECU Educational Foundation president in 2015-16. The Rogers’ lifetime giving to the university of nearly $350,000 will be increasing through their pledge of $875,000 to name the Pirate Club Level located within the renovated southside tower in addition to their premium seating commitment. Their past commitments have helped several capital projects, including those funding Clark-LeClair Stadium, the Smith-Williams Basketball Practice Facility and the Step Up to The Highest Level Campaign.
“The Pirate pride runs deep within Carl and Connie Rogers,” Staton said.
Raab and McConnell have long worked to support medical services in eastern North Carolina. Raab joined the ECU oncology department in 1977, eventually becoming the first female chief of medical staff at what is now Vidant Medical Center. She and her late husband, Dr. Spencer Raab, played a pivotal role in establishing the Leo W. Jenkins Cancer Center.
McConnell helped create Eastern Radiologists in Greenville. He also served as the hospital’s chief of medical staff. Through the ECU Medical & Health Sciences Foundation, they have established the Drs. Mary and Spencer Raab Distinguished Professorship in Medical Oncology and the R. William McConnell, MD, Medical Student Scholarship Endowment, in addition to supporting numerous other initiatives around campus.
“Servant leadership is in Mary and Bill’s DNA,” Staton said. “They have touched so many lives at East Carolina University and in the eastern North Carolina community. They are truly the type of people we would love our students, faculty and staff to model themselves after.”
The honorees join the Golden LEAF Foundation and Walter and Marie Williams as the only recipients of the Chancellor’s Amethyst.
Staton also recognized several ECU alumni whose terms are expiring on the ECU Board of Trustees and the University of North Carolina Board of Governors.
Robert Rippy and Henry Hinton have completed one term on the Board of Governors and have been members of the Public Affairs Committee and the University Governance Committee.
Each received a pewter plate in recognition of their service. Staton said ECU hasn’t always had the kind of involvement and advocacy on the UNC system board that it has had over the past few years, and that’s due in part to the three outgoing members.
Craig Souza served two terms on the Board of Governors and previously served as an ECU trustee.
Staton also recognized four outgoing ECU trustees: Terry Yeargan, Danny Scott, Steve Jones and Student Government Association President Ryan Beeson. Jones spent the last two years as chair of the board. Each received a desk box and a Board of Trustees chair.
-by Rich Klindworth