East Carolina University continues to thank its generous donors for providing financial gifts to students. This academic year, 175 Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences students will receive nearly $215,000 in scholarship support from 331 donors.
The donors were formally thanked at the college’s second annual scholarship luncheon held Sept. 22 in the Murphy Center’s Harvey Hall. Nearly 225 scholarship recipients, donors and department faculty attended the event.
“I am very proud of everybody in this room here today,” said Dr. William M. Downs, dean of the THCAS. “You are indispensable to this great national university.”
Downs said that for many students, scholarship support “makes the basic core difference” between attending college or not attending college, and that scholarship support increases the likelihood of success and the timely completion of a degree.
Opening remarks were continued by ECU provost Ron Mitchelson, Alumni Association president Heath Bowman and THCAS director of alumni relations and outreach Jessica Nottingham.
“I am absolutely inspired by the choices donors make to support the success of ECU students,” said Mitchelson. “It really is a remarkable thing. You are at the heart of those dreams; students’ dreams…We are the place where student’s lives are transformed.”
Retired United States Air Force Colonel Thomas Shubert, ECU ROTC and Harriot College political science alumnus, presented this year’s keynote address.
He told the students that it is necessary in one’s life to take risks and chances, not to be afraid to fail, to continue on and make an impact by serving as a mentor for others.
“The world does not end if you don’t get straight As,” said Shubert. “You have to take risks. Learn from failure and you are still going to succeed.”
Following Shubert’s remarks, three Harriot College scholarship recipients formally thanked their donors and expressed their sincere gratitude for the opportunities provided them.
Seth Sutton, senior geological sciences major and recipient of the C.Q. Brown Scholarship, plans to continue his education through graduate school. He wants to become a professor of paleontology, studying dinosaur fossils.
“Professors in our department connect with their students,” said Sutton. He gave credit to a number of geological sciences faculty, including department chair Dr. Steve Culver.
“He gave me the confidence to continue on my path,” said Sutton. “The fact that the chair of our department took the time and effort to meet with me is pretty cool and astonishing.”
Sutton reiterated that it was an honor to receive the C.Q. Brown Scholarship. He said it eased his financial burden so that he did not have to work, giving him more time to focus on his academics.
Stephen Hart, junior political science major and criminal justice minor, is the recipient of the Col. Louis & Mrs. Trudy Gomes Award and the John F. Minges III Scholarship. He mentioned his scholarship awards also alleviate the financial burden of attending college, allowing him to focus on his studies with the intention of attending law school in the future.
He said he was “determined to go to college, no matter what.”
“I am grateful for this opportunity the Minges and the Gomes families have given me,” said Hart. “I will represent the donors and the Political Science Department to the best of my ability – with hard work and dedication – to further my academic success.”
Shainah Andrews, junior English major and recipient of the Jim & Pam Mullen THCAS Study Abroad Scholarship, thanked all the individuals involved in the day’s event.
Ever since the age of six, Andrews dreamed of being a pediatrician, until she studied abroad in London this July.
She said that being able to travel down some of the same streets as the authors she read as a child, allowed her “to become one with my favorite fictional characters.”
This three-week-long experience changed her mind about her future.
“Life has a funny way of taking us down many paths. Some which we plan, or envision, and others that we don’t,” said Andrews. “Never did it really cross my mind that I would be changing my minor from science to linguistics the summer before my junior year, completely abandoning the idea of becoming a doctor.”
“Truth be told, I’m a terrified person,” said Andrews “I’m terrified, but here’s the catch. I don’t let that fear debilitate me. I use it as fuel to do the things I yearn to.”
She thanked the Mullens, saying that because of them the “desires of her heart are in fact tangible.”
Concluding the event, Downs again congratulated all the students and thanked the donors for their support.
“It’s all about the students, and those are three great testimonials,” he said.
-by Lacey L. Gray, University Communications