Pulitzer-prize winning poet coming to ECU

Pulitzer-prize winning poet Stephen Dunn will be reading from his work at 5 p.m. on Friday, October 21 at the Greenville Museum of Art.

Stephen Dunn (Photo by Bernard C. Meyers)

Stephen Dunn (Photo by Bernard C. Meyers)

The event is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by Thomas Harriet College of Arts and Sciences, the Great Books Program, the Department of English, and the Contemporary Writer’s Series.

Dunn is the author of sixteen books; his poems have appeared in Poetry, The Atlantic, The Nation, the New Yorker, the American Poetry Review, the New Republic, and many other journals. Since 1974 he has taught at Richard Stockton College of NJ, where he is Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing. Dunn has been a Visiting Professor at The University of Washington, NYU, Columbia, and The University of Michigan. 

ECU College of Education honors scholarship recipients and donors

More than 100 students in East Carolina University’s College of Education have received a record amount of scholarship support for this academic year.

More than $550,000 in merit and need-based scholarships has been distributed to 106 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral education students. The awards range from $250 to $20,000. All education students are eligible to receive some of the awards while others are earmarked for specific education majors or programs.

“Attracting the best students and ensuring access to an East Carolina University education rank among our highest priorities at ECU—and scholarships help us accomplish both of these objectives,” said Chris Dyba, vice chancellor for advancement at ECU, who spoke Aug. 26 at the College of Education’s Scholarship Recipient and Donor Recognition Ceremony at Rock Springs Center.

At center, Dr. Paul Gemperline, dean of the ECU Graduate School, stands with graduate students (left to right) Lauren Master, Sarah Burke, Paula Howell, Idella Wilson and Matesha Jones who received Master in Teacher (MAT) Tuition grants-in-aid. The scholarships are awarded to students who show outstanding promise for significant contributions to the field of education. The funds support MAT students during their full-time internship semester and are funded by the ECU Graduate School.

At center, Dr. Paul Gemperline, dean of the ECU Graduate School, stands with graduate students (left to right) Lauren Master, Sarah Burke, Paula Howell, Idella Wilson and Matesha Jones who received Master in Teacher (MAT) Tuition grants-in-aid. The scholarships are awarded to students who show outstanding promise for significant contributions to the field of education. The funds support MAT students during their full-time internship semester and are funded by the ECU Graduate School.

At the event, Dr. Grant Hayes, dean of the College of Education, acknowledged the importance of student support.

“The college is committed to preparing talented education professionals in many fields, including counseling, adult education, educational leadership, and library science, to name a few,” said Hayes at the ceremony. “It is inspiring to see how our donors are making it possible for these exceptional individuals to pursue their passions and impact the lives of others in a positive way.”

Scholarships are often established with private funds to honor or remember influential educators and support the academic pursuits of future education professionals. 

“For many of our students, the importance of scholarships and financial aid cannot be overstated,” said Dyba. “Today’s shifting economy poses a significant challenge, but donors like you turn our students’ dreams into a reality.”

ECU’s College of Education is the largest producer of new teachers in the state and the oldest professional school on campus. The mission of the College of Education is the preparation of professional educators and allied practitioners, including teachers, counselors, media coordinators, special education professionals, and principals and administrators.

For more information, visit ECU’s university scholarships website at www.ecu.edu/universityscholarships.

A reading by 2nd annual Hallberg Award-winning undergrad writer at ECU

Tuesday, September 27th 7:00 pm

1005 Bate Building, ECU, East Fifth Street | Greenville, NC 27858

The ECU English Department and the Creative Writing Area presents a reading with Q & A by Cameron Green, this year’s Bill Hallberg Award in Creative Writing winner. Green will read his winning story, “Why the News is Bad for You,” which was chosen this year by Garth Risk Hallberg, in Room 1005 of the Bate Building on the ECU main campus, on Tuesday evening, September 27th, at 7 pm. Garth Risk Hallberg is Bill’s son and author of the acclaimed novel, City on Fire.

The Bill Hallberg Award, open to undergraduates at colleges in NC, VA, TN, and SC, was established to honor the late ECU Creative Writing Professor and to celebrate the literary efforts of undergraduate students in our region. The winner receives $500 and is invited to read at ECU. Bill Hallberg was the author of several books and a longtime professor at East Carolina University. His novel, The Rub of the Green, concerned golf and was published by Doubleday in 1988. The New York Times Book Review called it “a story to be enjoyed by non-golfers and savored by those who love the game.” A memoir, The Soul of Golf, followed in 1997. He also edited Perfect Lies, an anthology of golf stories by John Updike, Walker Percy, and others.

A question and answer session will follow the reading. This event is free to the public and the ECU community, thanks to the ECU English Department and the Creative Writing faculty.

For further information, please contact Creative Writing Area Coordinator: John Hoppenthaler HOPPENTHALERJ@ecu.edu; tel. 252-328-5562

ECU biology students educate Greenville community through service-learning projects

East Carolina University biology students and faculty are educating the public through various service-learning projects within the city of Greenville. The activities, which started in fall 2015, are funded by a $20,000 grant awarded to the East Carolina Biodiversity Initiative from the Dominion Foundation – the philanthropic arm of Dominion, one of the nation’s largest producers and transporters of energy.

In collaboration with Greenville Recreation and Parks, faculty and students in the Thomas Harriot Collage of Arts and Sciences Department of Biology have spent the past year working on various projects.

“The work supported by this grant is an excellent example of ECU’s emphasis on serving the region, increasing public-private partnerships and promoting STEM opportunities,” said Director of Outreach for the East Carolina Biodiversity Initiative Dr. Heather Vance-Chalcraft. “We are proud of our collaboration with Greenville Recreation and Parks.”

Through funding provided by the grant, ECU undergraduates enrolled in a service-learning plant biology course assisted with the removal of invasive species from public spaces. The idea to create and install educational signage along local green spaces developed out of the class exercise to remove the invasive species.

“Students in the course worked to remove an exotic plant species that has been spreading rapidly through the Greenville Greenways,” said Dr. Carol Goodwillie, associate professor of biology. “The idea of developing a sign came from the students themselves, as they became passionate about the project and wanted to educate the public.”


Each year, the Greenville Greenway receives many visitors who come to enjoy the outdoors while walking their dogs, taking a jog or run, or biking the paths that run along the Tar River.


“The new signage on the greenway provides visitors with information to facilitate their understanding of the value of the natural resources that occur along the greenway,” said Dr. David Chalcraft, former director of the East Carolina Biodiversity Initiative. “An enhanced public understanding of nature is critical to ensure the preservation of our precious natural resources so that they can be enjoyed by future generations.”

The signs created by ECU students now are installed and visible to the community. Two signs are located along the Greenville Greenway, one in the Town Commons and one at River Park North.

“The high quality signage resulting from this partnership is an asset to the city’s greenway system and to its citizens, educating greenway visitors on a variety of environmental issues,” said Director of the Greenville Recreation and Parks Department Gary Fenton. “We are grateful for the opportunity to ‘join forces’ with ECU’s Biodiversity Initiative.”

After such a positive interaction over the past year, faculty and students at ECU hope to continue work on collaborative projects with the city in the future.

–Lacey Gray

Alumnae Spotlights: An entrepreneur and a mobile crisis director

At the age of five, Dana McQueen knew that she wanted to become an interior designer and her passion has helped her continue a family legacy.

McQueen earned a degree in interior design in 1992 and decided to return to her family’s business at McQueen’s Interiors in Morehead City.  She admits a family business can sometimes be complex but said the knowledge gained from earning her degree helped with a successful ownership transition.

Dana McQueen

Dana McQueen

“My passion for my clients and interior design coupled with my staff have kept this long-standing business alive,” McQueen said.  Since taking the helm, McQueen has improved business practices including adding a barcode system for inventory and hiring additional designers. She has also expanded the showroom, adding 4,000 sq. ft. of space.

Named Business Women of the Year in 2014 by Crystal Magazine, McQueen said her favorite class at ECU was space planning.  “I still use this knowledge every day,” she said.  “I know the world of computers has opened up so many opportunities with computer-aided design, but it is always best to know the basics with a pencil, paper, and a scale.”

As a successful business owner, McQueen knows firsthand the time involved in building a clientele and communicating with them regarding their wants and needs.  The best part of her job is seeing a project completed and a happy client she said.

Another successful College of Health and Human Performance alumna is leading the largest mobile crisis management service in the state.

Mona Townes, who earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in social work, oversees mobile crisis services to 23 eastern North Carolina counties provided by Integrated Family Services, PLLC.

“My passion is intervening when people are at their worst and to help them see that things can get better,” Townes said. Her team delivers integrated crisis response, crisis intervention and prevention 24/7 to any location in the community, according to the website. Townes said crisis intervention is challenging.

Mona Townes

Mona Townes

“The reward is when you work with a person who admits that without our support, without our ability to provide them with hope, they had planned on taking their life,” she said.

It was Townes’ time at ECU that helped shape her leadership skills.  “I learned that no matter what my background is or where I came from, I could be successful,” said Townes.  “I saw several highly educated and experienced women that looked like me.”

Her favorite course was Human Behavior and Social Environment taught by Dr. Lessie Bass.

Among her many accolades, Townes received the ECU School of Social Work 2015 Rising Star Award.  She serves as a member of the National Association of Social Workers and assists as a training instructor for the local Crisis Intervention Team.  She is a licensed clinical additions specialist associate and is certified by the National Council on Behavioral Health as a facilitator for Youth and Adult Mental Health First Aid.

–Kathy Muse

United States Marine Band to perform at ECU on Oct. 3

The United States Marine Band “The President’s Own” will hold a free performance at East Carolina University’s Wright Auditorium on Monday, Oct. 3 at 7:30 p.m.

US Marine Band

“’The President’s Own’ is perhaps the finest wind ensemble in the United States. It’s an honor to host these musicians on behalf of the citizens of the region,” said Michael Crane, producing artistic director of the S. Rudolph Alexander Performing Arts Series, a co-sponsor of the event. “The musicality on stage, coupled with the workshops and master classes the members offer behind the scenes to K-12 and university students, makes this event exceptionally valuable in our community. Hosting the band exemplifies ECU’s motto, ‘to serve.’”

US Marine Band

There are fewer than 200 tickets remaining for the performance. Tickets can be reserved at https://marineband.ticketleap.com

People without tickets who want to attend are asked to arrive at the auditorium on Oct. 3 by 6:45 p.m., when any extra tickets will start being distributed. At 7:15 p.m., everyone will be allowed in the auditorium until seats are filled, so ticket holders are encouraged to arrive early to claim their seat.

The United States Marine Band provides music for the President of the United States, state arrival ceremonies, dinners and receptions. The band appears at the White House more than 200 times each year, and participates in more than 500 public and official performances across the country during the fall concert tour. 

At ECU, the program will include John Phillip Sousa marches, such as “Semper Fidelis” and “The Stars and Stripes Forever;” however, the program also presents a diversity of wind ensemble literature, possibly including film music by John Williams, Bach’s “Fantasia and Fugue in C minor,” and selections from Wagner, Bernstein, Holst and Puccini.

Parking enforcement will be relaxed for the event, allowing patrons to park near the auditorium in A1 spaces that are not specially designated or reserved. Those with handicap plates and tags can park in designated spots on Wright Circle and Beckwith Drive on a first-come, first-served basis.

US Marine Band

Patrons with walkers and wheelchairs may use an elevator located at the Dowdy Student Stores entrance. Assistive listening devices are available on request at the event. Large print programs for the visually impaired are available when requested at least 48 hours in advance.

The performance is co-sponsored by ECU’s S. Rudolph Alexander Performing Arts Series and Cooke Communications.

Established in 1798 by an Act of Congress signed by President John Adams, the United States Marine Band is America’s oldest continuously active professional musical organization. 

The band made its White House debut on New Year’s Day, 1801, and has performed at the inauguration of every President since Thomas Jefferson, who is credited with giving the band the title, “The President’s Own.”

In 1891, the band’s legendary 17th director, John Philip Sousa, led the Marine Band on its first concert tour. As a result, for more than 100 years, the Marine Band has toured throughout the country performing in communities both large and small. Marine Band concerts offer a unique blend of traditional concert band and contemporary wind ensemble music suitable for people of all ages and musical tastes.

For questions, contact Michael Crane at cranemi@ecu.edu or 252-328-5386.

–Crystal Baity

Prize-winning author coming to ECU

Author Jim Grimsley will meet with East Carolina University students and read from his best-selling memoir, “How I Learned to Shed My Skin,” on Sept. 22.

Grimsley will speak about his personal experiences growing up during segregation in Jones County at 3:15 p.m. in Mendenhall Student Center’s Great Rooms. At 8 p.m., he will read from his memoir at the Greenville Museum of Art, 802 Evans St. 



Grimsley also will announce the winner of the North Carolina Literary Review’s Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize at the Greenville Museum of Art. The winner will receive $250 and their essay will be published in the North Carolina Literary Review (NCLR) in 2017. The prize is named for the publication’s founding editor and funded by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association.

Both events are free and open to the public and are part of a series of events celebrating the 25th issue of the annual NCLR. Sponsors include ECU’s English and creative writing departments, the NCLR and Greenville Museum of Art.

Grimsley, who is white, combines the story of how Jones County schools were integrated, first by a “Freedom of Choice” desegregation plan and then by federal mandate, with his personal account of how he learned to be a racist while growing up there — and then unlearned those lessons. Black classmates brought into a whites-only school system by integration taught him how to “shed” his racism.

Since 1999, Grimsley has been senior writer in residence at Emory University in Atlanta and is one of 50 active fellows in the Fellowship of Southern Writers. He has won numerous awards and prizes for his writing, including the 2005 Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Lila Wallace/Reader’s Digest Writers Award, the Lambda Literary Award for Fiction, the Asimov Readers’ Award, the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction, and the Bryan Prize for Drama. He has been named Georgia Author of the Year twice.

Grimsley has been an active supporter of the eastern North Carolina literary scene as a participant in the annual literary homecomings that were hosted by ECU for a decade and as a frequent contributor to NCLR. He did most of his background research for “How I Shed My Skin” at ECU’s Joyner Library and was featured at a Greenville Museum of Art reading last December.

Grimsley’s books and the NCLR will be available for purchase at the GMA reading. For more information, contact Alex Albright at 252-328-4876 or the Greenville Museum of Art at 252-758-1946.

–Sophronia Knott

Chancellor’s Roadshow seeks out lawmakers

Round two of East Carolina University Chancellor Cecil Staton’s “Roadshow” took him to the Triangle to speak with legislators, members of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors and ECU alumni. On Sept. 14, more than 100 people came to Prestonwood Country Club in Cary to meet Staton.

The chancellor used his two-day stop in the Triangle to speak with lawmakers regarding funding to support increased enrollment at the Brody School of Medicine and construction of a modern building.

“We’re going in to ask for some big things, and it may take us a little while to get there, but I need you to be an ambassador for your institution,” Staton told the crowd.

The economic impact of all the Brody-educated physicians in North Carolina is $3 billion a year, the chancellor said.

“North Carolina needs more of what Brody does,” Staton said. “We train physicians who serve in underserved, needy areas of this state.

“This is an important trip and the chancellor will be over here often with a legislative agenda that’s really right now focused on the Brody School of Medicine,” said Chris Dyba, vice chancellor for University Advancement. “We have ambitious plans to increase enrollment in the Brody School of Medicine, expand residency opportunities with the hope of retaining more talent in state and ultimately start a discussion about a new building.  To accomplish these ambitious goals, we need the state legislature to partner with our alumni to make this possible.”

Staton began his roadshow in August at the Murphy Center in Greenville and plans to visit nearly a dozen locations in North Carolina and along the east coast. During the visits, Staton plans to speak with alumni and friends of the university about his vision for ECU, including efforts to grow the university’s national profile, increase research funding, expand international studies and prepare for a comprehensive campaign.

The chancellor’s next roadshow event will be Oct. 5 in Norfolk, Virginia, and then Oct. 18 to Charlotte. For more information, contact ECU Advancement at 252-328-9550 or visit ecu.edu/give.

–Rich Klindworth

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