Category Archives: Service

Harriot College Collecting Items for Pitt County Angel Closet

Harriot College’s Staff Council is holding a donation drive for the Pitt County Angel Closet. Each department and the dean’s office has a box where contributions may be dropped off before Dec. 8. (contributed photo)

Harriot College’s Staff Council is holding a donation drive for the Pitt County Angel Closet. Each department and the dean’s office has a box where contributions may be dropped off before Dec. 8 (contributed photo)

In this season of thanks and giving, East Carolina University’s Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences is dedicated to helping the community’s youngest citizens. The THCAS Staff Council is hosting a donation drive, Nov. 13 – Dec. 8, with proceeds going to the Pitt County Angel Closet.

Each of the 16 departments in the college was given a box to decorate and place near their office, where individuals can donate new bibs, baby bottles, pacifiers, diapers, wipes, pull-ups, underwear, socks and winter clothes for children of all ages.

“We thought a donation drive would be a great way to get people involved with a local organization,” said Amelia Thompson, chair of the council’s planning subcommittee. “The Angel Closet was in need of several items, and we thought that we could really make a difference for them this year.”

The goal of the council is to collect 500 items for the organization.

Dr. William M. Downs, dean of Harriot College, is particularly drawn to helping children.

On Nov. 28, at the half-way point for donations, Downs and members of the staff council will walk around to the departments and collect the items donated up to that point. Then, they will deliver those items to the Pitt County Angel Closet, with the final collection and drop-off occuring on Dec. 8.


-by Lacey L. Gray, University Communications

Task Force Dagger and ECU team up to explore underwater WWII sites

Task Force Dagger, a nonprofit organization that supports all U.S. Special Operations Command service members and their families, is joining forces with the East Carolina University Department of History’s maritime studies program to explore and research WWII underwater archaeological sites in the western Pacific.

The maritime studies program has several faculty and staff that work on military-related and WWII archaeological sites all over the world.

Dr. Jennifer McKinnon investigates a Kawanishi H8K Japanese seaplane. (Photo by Jon Carpenter)

Dr. Jennifer McKinnon investigates a Kawanishi H8K Japanese seaplane. (Photo by Jon Carpenter)

Associate professor Dr. Jennifer McKinnon has been working on military sites in the Pacific for nearly 10 years. In partnership with Ships of Exploration and Discovery and the local community of Saipan, McKinnon developed the WWII Maritime Heritage Trail: Battle of Saipan in 2009. The heritage trail consists of nine underwater U.S. and Japanese sites in Saipan’s crystal-clear, tropical lagoons. The sites include amphibious vehicles such as landing vehicles and tanks, aircraft, and shipwrecks, all lost in the 1944 Battle of Saipan.

McKinnon said that the partnership with Task Force Dagger is a boon for continuing to research these sites. “Active military and veterans have an incredible firsthand knowledge of warfare, tactics and military material,” she said. “Their knowledge and experience has the potential to contribute so much to the research we are conducting in the Pacific. It really is a reciprocal relationship.”

Charles “Keith” David, managing director of Task Force Dagger and retired U.S. Army Special Forces, said the organization is looking forward to solidifying the collaboration through a memorandum of agreement and seeking grant funding for the project.

The Task Force Dagger Foundation will join McKinnon and the maritime studies program next summer in a special recreational therapy adaptive event that trains special operations command service members in scuba diving and underwater archaeology. The team will then travel to Saipan to continue locating and recording WWII underwater archaeological sites.

For more information about Task Force Dagger visit For more information about the WWII Maritime Heritage Trail visit


Contact: Dr. Jennifer McKinnon,, 252-328-6788

Dr. Hardy Receives Distinguished Service Award

Article originally published on Pitt County Community College’s Website

Pitt Community College administrators took time during Thursday’s graduation ceremony to show their appreciation to three Board of Trustees members for outstanding service to the college and community.

Before nearly 700 graduates turned their tassels in East Carolina University’s Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum, Distinguished Service Awards were presented to former trustees Virginia Hardy and Jimmy Nelson and current trustee Walter Williams.

Hardy, a Greenville native, is ECU’s Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. She served as a PCC Trustee from 2008 to 2016, after being appointed to the board by Pitt County Commissioners. As a trustee, she chaired the college’s Personnel Committee for two years and served on numerous other committees.

In presenting Hardy with her award, PCC Trustee Patti Sanders-Smith noted that Hardy utilized the student affairs and employee leadership experience she gained at ECU to provide trustees and college administrative staff with welcomed insight throughout her eight years of service.

Dr. Virginia Hardy. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Dr. Virginia Hardy. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

When she first joined PCC’s governing board, Hardy called it a chance to serve the community. She praised the college for its versatility in meeting the training needs of local business and industry and for giving people “choices to better their lives.”

The youngest of eight children, Hardy earned a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She later received a master’s in counseling from ECU and a Ph.D. in counseling from N.C. State University.

“Education has always been important to both my family and me,” she said. “My parents expected that each of us would attain postsecondary education so that we would be afforded opportunities that weren’t available to them.”

A Bethel native, Nelson was appointed to the board by former Gov. Mike Easley in 2004. In 12 years as a trustee, he served on several committees and chaired the Building and Grounds Committee during the planning stages of the Science and Technology Center now under construction and scheduled to open later this year.

Nelson’s first encounter with PCC came as a high school student, when he enrolled in several college courses before graduating from North Pitt. He went on to enroll at UNC-Chapel Hill as a Morehead Scholar and earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1977.

As a UNC student, Nelson participated in student government and varsity athletics. As a member of the Tar Heels track team, he was named to the All-Atlantic Coast Conference Academic Honor Roll.

Nelson continued his studies at Campbell University School of Law and received a law degree in 1980. He joined the firm of Mark W. Owens Jr., where he was named a partner in 1983 and continues to practice to this day.

The son of Frances Nelson and the late Jimmy Nelson Sr., Jimmy Nelson Jr. and his wife, Beth, have three adult children – Jay, Suzanne and McKenna.

Williams, who has been a PCC Trustee since 2005, is an ECU alumnus and the founder of Trade Oil Company. A Pitt County Commissioners appointee, he has referred to PCC as “an investment in the area’s future” and has served on numerous college committees, including Building and Grounds, Finance and Audit, and Personnel.

“Mr. Williams has frequently served as the legislative liaison with elected officials of the North Carolina General Assembly for the Board of Trustees,” PCC Trustee Don Mills said in presenting Williams with his award. “His counsel has been invaluable in advocating for community college budget priorities.”

Mills noted that it was rather appropriate for Williams to receive his Distinguished Service Award during a PCC graduation ceremony taking place in a facility that bears his name.

Raised on a tobacco farm just south of Greenville, Williams has long given back to his community, both financially and through volunteer service.

In 2007, the Council for the Support and Advancement of Education named him its southeast regional winner of the Bill Franklin Volunteer of the Year Award in recognition of his dedicated service to his alma mater. A year later, he served as co-chair of the PCC Foundation’s Futures First Campaign Committee, helping raise $8 million to fund new technology, student scholarships and construction of a 34,000-square-foot addition to the college’s health sciences facilities.

“You can go through life coasting or floating along, or you can be aggressive,” Williams said of the campaign. “If the leadership and citizens of Pitt County want Pitt Community College to be on the cutting edge, then we need to move forward, and the capital campaign is just part of moving forward.”

PCC has presented Distinguished Service Awards each spring during graduation since the honor was created by trustees in 1989 to recognize individuals for their efforts to enhance the college’s mission and services.

Volunteers Needed for Fall Move-In

Campus Living is seeking groups and organizations to assist with Fall 2017 freshmen move-in, which begins at noon on Tuesday, August 15 and runs through Sunday, August 20. They will focus on volunteer efforts Wednesday, August 16 through the end of the day on Friday, August 18.

As in past years, Campus Living will rely on volunteers to assist residents with carrying boxes and furniture, answering questions, providing directions, and, for the first time, assisting with their indoor check-in process.

If you are involved with an organization or group interested in participating, please arrange for a representative to contact Dave Hilbert at They will schedule meetings with representatives of each organization in early July, at which time they will collect each group’s availability. Campus Living will distribute a volunteer schedule and provide additional updates as they approach the week of the move-in.

Pirates team up with Vs. Cancer Foundation

ECU's Pirates Vs. Cancer Volunteers. (Photos by Dean Shore)

ECU’s Pirates Vs. Cancer volunteers (Photos by Dean Shore)

On May 8, ECU partnered with the Vs. Cancer Foundation to raise money for the fight against childhood cancer. Pirates Vs. Cancer encouraged students, faculty and staff to raise money and awareness to help children who are battling cancer in eastern North Carolina and throughout the country.

During the Pirates Vs. Cancer event at ECU’s Lake Laupus, fourteen men shaved their heads, five women donated at least eight inches of their hair to be made into wigs and at least ten others volunteered.

Trevor Hunt, ECU Brody School of Medicine M.D. Candidate.

Trevor Hunt, ECU Brody School of Medicine M.D. Candidate.

“We want to help kids who are battling deadly cancers right here in our community while also fighting to beat cancer on a national scale through research in treatments and cures,” said Trevor Hunt, first-year medical student at ECU and event organizer. “Many kids battling cancer lose their hair involuntarily, but the rest of us have a choice. We are choosing to go bald to stand beside them in this fight.”

Originally the group had hoped to raise $5,000 to be split evenly between the James and Connie Maynard Children’s Hospital at Vidant and the national pediatric oncology research effort. As of May 15, they had exceeded their expectations and raised $7,185 with an updated goal of $7,500!

To learn more about Pirates Vs. Cancer or to donate to this amazing cause, click here.



The legacy of philanthropy takes center stage at the Chancellor’s Amethyst

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.

Evans – BB&T’s Northeastern North Carolina Regional President, Scott Evans (right), accepts the Chancellor’s Amethyst from Chancellor Cecil Staton on behalf of BB&T. (Photos by Will Preslar.)

BB&T’s Northeastern North Carolina Regional President, Scott Evans (right), accepts the Chancellor’s Amethyst from Chancellor Cecil Staton on behalf of BB&T. (Photos by Will Preslar)

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.”

Connie and Carl (right) Rogers receive the Chancellor’s Amethyst from Chancellor Staton for their continued support and service to ECU.

Connie and Carl (right) Rogers receive the Chancellor’s Amethyst from Chancellor Staton for their continued support and service to ECU.

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.

Drs. Bill McConnell (left) and Mary Raab accept the Chancellor’s Amethyst from Chancellor Staton.

Drs. Bill McConnell (left) and Mary Raab accept the Chancellor’s Amethyst from Chancellor Staton.

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.

Outgoing ECU Board of Trustees member Terry Yeargan (right) and Chancellor Staton show off their Pirate Pride at Thursday night’s dinner.

Outgoing ECU Board of Trustees member Terry Yeargan (right) and Chancellor Staton show off their Pirate Pride at Thursday night’s dinner.

“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.

Outgoing UNC Board of Governors member Craig Souza (right) is recognized by Chancellor Staton for his service.

Outgoing UNC Board of Governors member Craig Souza (right) is recognized by Chancellor Staton for his service.

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


ECU’s Faulconer lauded for service to Kinston community

East Carolina University senior Lily Faulconer recently received an award for her service as Miss Kinston-Lenoir County 2016.

Kinston Mayor B.J. Murphy’02 recognized Faulconer, an EC Scholar in the Honors College at ECU, during the 62nd annual pageant on Feb. 4.

At left, ECU senior Lily Faulconer received a service award from Kinston Mayor B.J. Murphy at the Miss Kinston-Lenoir County Pageant held Feb. 4. Faulconer just completed her year as Miss Kinston-Lenoir County. (contributed photo)

At left, ECU senior Lily Faulconer received a service award from Kinston Mayor B.J. Murphy at the Miss Kinston-Lenoir County Pageant held Feb. 4. Faulconer just completed her year as Miss Kinston-Lenoir County. (contributed photo)

“Lily has adopted our community as her own – from making us clean and green to accepting an internship with the Down East Wood Ducks,” Murphy said. “Kinston is a better place today because of her investment of time, energy and passion.”

During her tenure as Miss Kinston-Lenoir County, Faulconer promoted her platform of protecting the environment through community clean ups, presentations to faith and business groups, and work in schools.

Faulconer represented Kinston at the 2016 Miss North Carolina Pageant, where she was awarded the Dana L. Reason Evans Quality of Life Award and an N.C. Electric Membership Cooperative STEM Scholarship.

In Greenville, Faulconer pioneered ECU’s participation in the GameDay Recycling Challenge, a waste reduction competition between colleges and universities. ECU took first place in the American Athletic Conference in 2014 and received recognition in 2015 and 2016.

Faulconer chairs the dean’s student advisory council in the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences and serves as the student representative on the university’s sustainability committee. She is completing an honors internship with the Down East Wood Ducks, the Class A-affiliate minor league baseball team of the Texas Rangers.
Faulconer will graduate in May with dual degrees in political science and multidisciplinary studies. She will pursue a master’s degree in kinesiology concentrating in sports management at ECU before applying to law school with a goal of working in environmental sports policy.


-by Crystal Baity

ECU employee named Pitt County Firefighter of the Year

East Carolina University employee Charles Suggs, a crew leader in moving services, was awarded Pitt County Firefighter of the Year during a special ceremony on Jan. 19.

Suggs has worked at ECU for 12 years and been a volunteer firefighter for 14 years. He is a deputy chief with the Grifton Fire Department. Suggs was selected as Grifton’s Firefighter of the Year, which put him in the running for the countywide honor.

ECU employee Charles Suggs was named Pitt County Firefighter of the Year on Jan. 19. (contributed photo)

ECU employee Charles Suggs was named Pitt County Firefighter of the Year on Jan. 19.
(Contributed photo)

The Firefighter of the Year award is presented annually to a firefighter who has demonstrated outstanding support and leadership to their department and the community. The selection committee was made up of fire service representatives outside of Pitt County.

Suggs spent nine days working with the department’s chief during the flooding after Hurricane Matthew, answering calls for service, coordinating staff and organizing search and rescue efforts with outside agencies traveling to assist Grifton. In addition to rescue efforts, he helped evacuate the Grifton Fire Department, which is prone to flooding and helped citizens move to higher ground as the floodwaters approached.

Suggs said his parents instilled in him the importance of helping the community.

“I got involved when I was young to have something to do and I fell in love with the true meaning of what serving is all about,” said Suggs.

He encourages people to get involved with their local volunteer fire departments.

“Become a volunteer firefighter or support your local department. We need more volunteers at our departments in Pitt County,” said Suggs.


-by Jamie Smith

Community and Regional Development program is semifinalist for national award

The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, has recognized East Carolina University as a semifinalist in this year’s Innovations in American Government Awards competition.

ECU’s Community and Regional Development program will compete to be named a finalist in the competition and have the chance to be awarded $100,000 in Cambridge this spring.

The Community and Regional Development program advanced from a pool of more than 500 applications from all 50 states and was selected by the Innovations Award evaluators as an example of novel and effective action that has had significant impact and that they believe can be replicated across the country and the world.

“We are humbled and excited about this opportunity. ECU has a commitment to student success, public service and regional transformation. This selection shows that our commitments aren’t hollow words but actions. We have a community to serve, and we take that responsibility seriously,” said Dr. Cecil Staton, chancellor of ECU.

ECU’s Community and Regional Development program proactively targets distressed, low-wealth and limited capacity communities with economic development products, technical assistance and financial resources that can help increase competitiveness and build stronger, more vibrant and capable communities.

Since 2010, the program has facilitated $2.7 million of investments in eastern North Carolina communities, leveraged $24 million for community projects, established 61 formal community partnerships, completed 32 locally driven community development projects and offered 98 Community Capacity Building training sessions.

“We have an innovative program that is showing tangible results,” said Kenny Flowers, assistant vice chancellor for community and regional development at ECU. “Along with our partners, we are investing resources, but more importantly, we are training those who are directly responsible for eastern North Carolina communities. Through our engagement and collaboration, we hope to add value and help improve the competitive profile of our region.”

“These programs demonstrate that there are no prerequisites for doing the good work of governing,” said Stephen Goldsmith, director of the Innovations in American Government Program at the Ash Center. “Small towns and massive cities, huge federal agencies and local school districts, large budgets or no budgets at all — what makes government work best is the drive to do better, and this group proves that drive can be found anywhere.”

The Ash Center expects to announce 10 programs that will be named finalists and be invited to Cambridge to present to the Innovation Awards Program’s National Selection Committee in March, with the grand prize winners to be named in June.

For more information about ECU’s Community and Regional Development program, visit

For the full list of semifinalists, and for more information regarding the Innovations in American Government Awards, visit

The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation advances excellence in governance and strengthens democratic institutions worldwide. Through its research, education, international programs and government innovations awards, the center fosters creative and effective government problem solving and serves as a catalyst for addressing many of the most pressing needs of the world’s citizens. For more information, visit


-by Rich Klindworth

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