East Carolina University’s Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences recognized its high-achieving first-year freshmen and transfer students at the college’s annual ECU Excels Awards Ceremony on Feb. 17 in the Mendenhall Student Center Great Rooms.
The event, which began in 2010 and is in its eighth year, honored 573 Harriot College students who achieved a GPA of 3.0 or higher in their first semester at ECU.
Dr. William M. Downs, dean of the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, welcomed the students and their guests to the celebration.
“ECU is an exceptional place. We really do put our students first,” said Downs. “ECU Excels is all about recognizing that you are already on the path to success and a timely graduation. It is a huge accomplishment.”
Following the dean’s comments, three officers from the THCAS Dean’s Student Leadership Council gave formal remarks about their lives at ECU. They provided words of wisdom to current Excels awardees on how to be successful throughout their academic career at ECU.
Chair of the council Lily Faulconer, an Honors College student who will graduate in May with degrees in political science and multidisciplinary studies, said, “Your time of transition is not over after your first semester. You’re going to experience many types of transition. You may find yourself in a time that feels like constant chaos, but you’ve already demonstrated your ability to adapt to a new environment and to new responsibilities.”
“I want to encourage you to continue on this path,” said Faulconer. “Think of today and our celebration of your success. Think of how hard you worked to be here at East Carolina, reflect on your successes and remember the incredible opportunities you have had and will have as a student and future graduate and alumni of East Carolina University.”
“ECU is a community, a family, a network of support and a hub of resources. You have everything you need to succeed nestled somewhere on our campus. Take advantage of what ECU has to offer you,” Faulconer concluded.
Katharine Chandler, co-chair of the leadership council who is majoring in history, philosophy, religious studies and great books, said “the key to success is to harness strength in all your academic endeavors.”
Within her first two years at ECU, Chandler studied abroad in Italy, South Africa and India. She said that getting to know her professors and being involved in campus organizations helped her focus and achieve her goals.
“It was because of the professors that I was able to accomplish so much,” said Chandler.
Virginia Vasquez-Rios, secretary of the leadership council and a sophomore biology major, was the final student to speak at the event.
“You should be very proud of yourselves,” said Vasquez-Rios.
Vasquez-Rios re-iterated Chandler’s comment about getting to know the professors at ECU, and also told students to use their time wisely and apply themselves in everything they do.
“Apply, apply, apply,” said Vasquez-Rios. “Persist in what you think will help you reach your goals.”
Honorees of the event received a certificate to commemorate their accomplishments and had the opportunity to have photos taken by a professional photographer. Additionally, the scholars and their guests celebrated with cake and mingled with faculty and associate deans from Harriot College.
-by Lacey Gray, Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences