Category Archives: Events

Graduates decorate caps to celebrate degrees

Graduating from college is an accomplishment and expressing that elation has become a tradition at East Carolina University. Approximately half of ECU graduates decorate their mortarboards celebrating their accomplishments, using Pirate symbols, Bible verses and glitter.

The annual grad cap contest sponsored by the East Carolina Alumni Association once again showcased some very creative designs.

Any graduating student was eligible to enter their creation in the contest. Graduates were encouraged to be as creative as they wanted without blocking someone else’s view at commencement. Students wrote their favorite sayings, added their favorite gems, or even reshaped their caps to represent their future.

This year, 78 students submitted photos of their caps by email, Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

The winner, Carolyn Walence, won with her Peter Pan inspired cap with the quote, “Everything ends and so our story begins.”

She will receive a free diploma frame from Dowdy Student Stores courtesy of the East Carolina Alumni Association.

–Rich Klindworth

ECU School of Art and Design hosts 2016 MFA Thesis Exhibition

East Carolina University’s School of Art and Design is hosting the 2016 MFA Thesis Exhibition until May 20 in the Wellington B. Gray Gallery.

The 2016 exhibiting artists who will graduate with master of fine arts degrees in May are Sarah Harvell, Alyssa Karpa and Amber D Watts.

Artwork by ECU graduate student Sarah Harvell featured at the 2016 MFA Thesis Exhibition

The exhibition includes a wide range of materials and aesthetics with artists representing three studio areas in the School of Art and Design—Harvell in metal design, Karpa in textile design and Watts in painting.

In her artist statement, Harvell wrote “I revere the strength, beauty, and practicality of a seedpod in all its life stages… I represent these forms in copper with shell forming, a technique that enables me to mimic the sensuous forms and curving lines of seedpods.”

“This body of work depicts my process of therapy and rejuvenation found through creating art,“ Karpa said. “Displayed here are several fiber art techniques—embroidery, crochet, rusting and decaying fiber, and creating sculpture with hog gut and wire—that illustrate my recovery from abuse as well as the methods that now help me cope with residual anxiety.”

Artwork by ECU graduate student Alyssa Karpa featured at the 2016 MFA Thesis Exhibition

Artwork by ECU graduate student Alyssa Karpa featured at the 2016 MFA Thesis Exhibition

In writing about her art, Watts said “I am passionate about the topic of food because of my sociocultural identifiers. The lenses I wear… include being the oldest of three daughters, the mother of a boy, a feminist, a consumer, a producer, an artist, a student and a teacher. Through the construction of mixed media assemblages, I critique contemporary food culture in the United States.”

Artwork by ECU graduate student Amber D Watts featured at the 2016 MFA Thesis Exhibition

Gray Gallery is located off 5th and Jarvis Streets in the Jenkins Fine Arts Center at ECU. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. Call 252-328-1312 for more information.

–Crystal Baity

ECU School of Art and Design hosts NC National Art Honor Society high school students

East Carolina University’s School of Art and Design hosted the North Carolina chapter of the National Art Honor Society’s annual retreat on April 8.

ECU welcomed approximately 200 exceptional high school art students from 11 schools throughout the state to participate in art workshops conducted by ECU School of Art and Design faculty. Students chose to participate in two workshops, selecting from classroom as canvas, screenprinting, shoot a short, eye tracking, enameling, collage, book arts, make a TV show, non-traditional drawing and painting, and shooting a video interview.

Regional high schools with art students participating included South Central High SchoolJH Rose High School and Pasquotank County High School.

The retreat was coordinated by ECU alumnus Jody Stouffer, high school art teacher from Lee County High School and director of the North Carolina chapter of the National Art Honor Society.


“Our faculty were excited about the opportunity to showcase their concentrations,” said Robert Quinn, ECU professor of art education. “We developed some really engaging workshops that gave high school students a taste of what life is like as an art student at ECU.”

Participating ECU art faculty included Quinn, Scott Eagle, Ken Wyatt, Lisa Beth Robinson, Alice Arnold, Mi-Sook Hur, Cynthia Bickley-Green, Erick Green, Michael Dermody and Christine Zoller.

The NAHS traveling exhibition, featuring artwork submitted by National Art Honor Society high school chapters in North Carolina, was on exhibit in ECU’s Burroughs Welcome Gallery in Jenkins Fine Art Center during the workshop.

In addition to the workshops, students were introduced to ECU’s art facilities and toured the ECU campus.

ECU has the largest studio art program in North Carolina, which is fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. Curriculum areas include animation, art foundations, ceramics, cinema, drawing, graphic design, illustration, interactive media, metals, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, textile design and video.

–Harley Dartt

Joyner Library hosting human library event

The Third Annual Human Library event will be taking place on Tuesday, April 12 from 1-4 p.m. in the Faulkner Gallery of Joyner Library.


This special event allows attendees to check out human beings. Each of the “human books” is pre-selected because they have an interesting life story to share. After attendees choose a human book based on the title and description provided, they are paired with them to have a 10-15 minute conversation.

Topics this year include religion and spirituality, health-related topics, families, and more. The purpose of the event is to open dialog on campus about including people of all beliefs, walks of life, abilities, and backgrounds. This is a Wellness Passport Premiere event; classes are invited to take part in the program, as well. It is free and open to the public.

The Humans of Greenville gallery opening will take place directly afterwards at 4:30 p.m.


Contact Katy Kavanagh Webb at Joyner Library to learn more: or 252-328-0734.

ECU to hold annual fashion show

Ready-to-wear and art-inspired fashion will hit the runway at East Carolina University’s 12th annual Apparel and Interior Merchandising Organization (AIMO) Fashion Show.

The event will be held 7-9 p.m. Thursday, April 14 at Rock Springs Center, 4025 NC Highway 43, Greenville.

The stage[1]

The stage set-up from last year’s show. Contributed photo.

Produced and modeled by students, this year’s theme is Parisian Garden Party. Spring fashions for women and men from local stores and boutiques will be showcased including Pink – A Lilly Pulitzer Signature Store, Shimmer, Belk, Truly Yours, Campus Corner, Bald Head Blues, Olly Oxen and Beloved. Wearable art creations from ECU textile design students also will be featured.

Tickets are $10 for students and $15 for non-students and will be available at the door or in advance by contacting Dr. Runying Chen, associate professor of interior design and merchandising, at or 252-328-1329.

Belk group[1]

Student models and designers pose backstage after last year’s event. Contributed photo.

Since it began in 2004, funds from the event go to support professional development for AIMO students. The show gives students real-world experience and skills in community engagement, model and wardrobe line up, stage design and production.

–Crystal Baity

Former student presidents surprise Chancellor Ballard with home-cooked meal

Photos by Cliff Hollis

Seven past SGA presidents and guests met on Summit street and carried food to prepare chicken parmesan at the Ballard’s home on Saturday, March 5. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

When a chancellor retires, formal receptions with various dignitaries are traditional, but one group of students at East Carolina University wanted to do something more personal.

Several former student body presidents got together and hosted a surprise home-cooked dinner for outgoing Chancellor Steve Ballard and his wife Nancy at the chancellor’s residence on Saturday, March 5.


“We wanted to do something in an intimate setting and honor him in a personal manner,” said Drew Griffin ’08, who coordinated the event. He served as president during the 2008-2009 school year as a last semester senior and first semester graduate student. “We wanted him to hear how much we appreciated him in a way that he could relax and soak it all in.”

Griffin and many of the other former presidents have kept in touch over the years, so when they heard Ballard was retiring, they knew they wanted to put together a nice surprise for him, it was just a question of how. Griffin and the others worked in secret with Mrs. Ballard to set a date and make their plans. A meal on campus or at a restaurant would attract too much attention, and catering an event at the house would spoil the surprise.

“I told Mrs. Ballard, how about we do this: we’ll just show up with bags full of groceries and cook dinner for everyone,” Griffin said.


It took some doing, with former presidents and spouses coming in from multiple states, and Mrs. Ballard having to convince her husband to stay home that night instead of attending a baseball game as he loves to do, but the event went off without a hitch.

After enjoying a meal of chicken parmesan, roasted vegetables and Caesar salad, everyone took turns sharing what Chancellor Ballard meant to them and what they had learned from him.

“It’s rare to encounter a leader that treats you as a peer,” said Justin Davis ’15, who served as president in 2012. Like all student body presidents at ECU, Davis served as an ex officio member of the Board of Trustees.

“Serving on the board can be daunting for a 20-year-old,” Davis said. “He really listened to us. That does something for your confidence and professional development. I learned as much on the board as I did in class. His character and commitment made us who we are as people today.”


Davis is now the director of business development for a local catering company. Griffin is founding vice president of a consulting firm for the government in Washington, D.C.

“The environment he created at ECU allowed us to learn about leadership and entrepreneurship,” Griffin said. “He set an example. He was so poised under pressure. We got to see that up close. That’s definitely something I took away from ECU. It was nice to put life to the words we’ve been feeling all these years.”

Davis learned from Ballard that leadership is rendering vision into reality. Davis says, “His impact has been felt not only through the university but through this whole area.”

Drew Griffin (08-09); Keri Brockett Carelas (07-08); Bradley Congleton (09-10); Chancellor Steve Ballard; Justin Davis (12-13); Jake Srednicki (14-15); Tremayne Smith (10-11); Josh Martinkovic (11-12)

Left to right: Drew Griffin (08-09); Keri Brockett Carelas (07-08); Bradley Congleton (09-10); Chancellor Steve Ballard; Justin Davis (12-13); Jake Srednicki (14-15); Tremayne Smith (10-11); Josh Martinkovic (11-12)

–Jackie Drake, ECU News Services

Department of Criminal Justice to Host Career Fair

The Department of Criminal Justice at East Carolina University will hold the 2016 Criminal Justice Career Fair from 1 – 3 p.m. Thursday, March 17, in the Mendenhall Student Center on the ECU campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Participants include more than 30 federal, state and local criminal justice agencies as well as North Carolina law schools. The FBI, NCIS, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Marshals Service, Federal Bureau of Prisons, U.S. Armed Forces, North Carolina Department of Public Safety, North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, Raleigh Police Department, Greenville Police Department, UNC‐Chapel Hill School of Law and Campbell University School of Law are a sampling of organizations that will attend to discuss criminal justice careers and job opportunities.

ECU hosts the Academy of Leisure Sciences Teaching Institute

East Carolina University’s Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies in the College of Health and Human Performance hosted the 2016 Academy of Leisure Sciences Teaching Institute Feb. 24-26.

Nearly 90 professionals nationwide attended the event themed: Honoring the Past, Treasuring the Present and Shaping the Future.

“The ALS Teaching Institute provided all participating faculty and students interested in teaching the opportunity to learn best practices and new pedagogical innovations to help reach a new generation of students,” said Dr. David Loy, associate professor in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies.

ECU Associate Professor Dr. Richard Williams speaks at the 2016 Academy of Leisure Sciences Teaching Institute (Photo by Chuck Baldwin)

ECU Associate Professor Dr. Richard Williams speaks at the 2016 Academy of Leisure Sciences Teaching Institute (Photos by Chuck Baldwin)

Session topics included faculty collaboration between and within disciplines, fostering digital literacy and utilizing online and technological resources as educational tools.

The department’s planning committee included Drs. David Loy, Paige Viren, Clifton Watts and Nelson Cooper.

“Our planning committee for the teaching institute wanted to demonstrate East Carolina University’s leadership in integrating technology in higher education,” said Loy. “What a great opportunity for our peers to see the wonderful things we are doing here as East Carolina.”

ECU Professor Dr. Abbie Brown, Department of Mathematics, Science and Instructional Technology Education, delivered the keynote address entitled, The Networked Teacher: Instruction that Honors the Past, Keeps Pace with the Present and Looks to the Future.

“The Academy of Leisure Sciences Teaching Institute has a long history,” said Cooper.

ECU hosts the 2016 Academy of Leisure Sciences Teaching Institute Feb. 24-26.

ECU hosts the 2016 Academy of Leisure Sciences Teaching Institute Feb. 24-26.

“Recreation, parks, tourism, sport, and leisure educators from across the nation gather biennially to discuss best practices and share success stories of successful teaching and learning in our discipline. This was the first time East Carolina hosted the Teaching Institute and we were really excited to be selected.”

The institute aims to share information among recreation, parks, tourism, sport and leisure educators concerning traditional and new trends related to education, education administration, teaching, research so that educators can remain current in the techniques, content, and skills needed in higher education, according to the website.

–Kathy Muse

ECU celebrates International Women’s Day

Voices were raised and myths began to shatter during International Women’s Day March 3 at East Carolina University.

About 100 people including faculty, staff and students attended ECU’s third annual observation of the day recognizing the achievements and challenges of women around the world, celebrated in various forms since the early 1900s.

“It was really well attended,” said ECU staff member and event organizer Rai D’Honore, a member of the Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Women, which sponsored the event.

Intl Womens Day1.JPG

“The purpose was to examine some critical issues of gender relations and to inspire people both at ECU and in the community to work together to resolve such issues,” D’Honore said.

The theme of the day was “Sex, Violence, and Gender Roles.” National and local leaders including several officials from ECU and Pitt County led panel discussions on topics like the narrow portrayal of genders in the media, the perils of prosecuting sexual assault cases, transgender issues, and remedying intimate partner violence and the stigma surrounding it.

“There is a need to shatter the silence,” said keynote speaker Dr. Thema Bryant-Davis, an associate professor of psychology at Pepperdine University and a nationally recognized expert on sexual trauma and healing.

“What does recovery look like? I looked around and I didn’t see any examples,” said Bryant-Davis, who is a survivor of sexual trauma herself. “If we speak, we tend to speak from a broken place. When we recover we often stop speaking out.”

Dr. Thema Bryant-Davis, a professor of psychology at Pepperdine University and national expert on recovery after sexual trauma, addressed approximately 100 people during her keynote address in Mendenhall Student Center as part of International Women’s Day at East Carolina University on March 3.

Dr. Thema Bryant-Davis, a professor of psychology at Pepperdine University and national expert on recovery after sexual trauma, addressed approximately 100 people during her keynote address in Mendenhall Student Center as part of International Women’s Day at East Carolina University on March 3.

Bryant-Davis led listeners in a chant of “silence no more, I was born to roar” and encouraged men in the audience to participate as well. She acknowledged that men can be both survivors and allies in efforts against gender violence.

“It is so important to have male allies and create space for everyone at the table,” Bryant-Davis said. “People think feminists hate men but that is not so. We must build up our entire community while addressing issues of gender.”

Essential to recovery after sexual assault is for victims to reclaim their sexuality, according to Bryant-Davis.

“Often people don’t talk about sex except for the ugliness of it,” she said. “Sexuality is a gift. It is part of who we are and should be celebrated.”

Sex is everywhere, but society says we can’t talk openly about it, ECU Victim Advocate Kat Bursky told listeners during her panel, “The Myth of the Slut.”

Women can often be the biggest perpetuators of this myth by shaming other women, Bursky said, which is makes it all the more important to criticize cultural norms and speak out in support of victims of sexual assault or shaming.

“I do not buy into the idea that women are competitive and do not get along,” Bryant-Davis said. “That is a myth we are taught. When we build each other up, there is no stopping us.”

International Women’s Day is sponsored by the Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Women with support from the Office of the Provost, the Division of Student Affairs and ECU Women’s Studies. For more information on the Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Women, visit

–Jackie Drake

1 2 3 4 5 42