East Carolina University Chancellor Cecil P. Staton was initiated into the ECU Chapter of Phi Kappa Phi, the national honor society, during a ceremony April 9 in Wright Auditorium.
Membership into Phi Kappa Phi is extended by invitation only to undergraduate and graduate students who are at the top of their respective classes. Faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the university are nominated for induction into Phi Kappa Phi.
“One my favorite activities as chancellor is interacting with our students, learning about their own academic journeys and hearing how the university is making a positive difference in their lives,” Staton said. “I am honored to help recognize the academic achievements of these impressive scholars on our campus and to be inducted into Phi Kappa Phi at ECU along with them.”
Dr. Marianna Walker, president of the ECU Chapter of Phi Kappa Phi, welcomed the students and their guests and inducted Staton into the society.
“We are honored to induct Chancellor Staton into Phi Kappa Phi at our ECU Chapter,” she said. “We look forward to our collaboration with the chancellor to promote and recognize our distinguished community of scholars, in all academic fields, at East Carolina University.”
ECU’s Chapter of Phi Kappa Phi was formally installed on April 17, 1970. The university chapter provides student achievement awards, sponsors awards as part of ECU’s Undergraduate Research Symposium and sponsors public lectures, forums and debates.
A first-generation college student, Staton grew up in Greenville, South Carolina and attended Furman University. He received masters’ of theology and divinity degrees from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and a doctorate in Old Testament, Hebrew and ancient Near Eastern studies from the University of Oxford in England.
Before beginning his role as ECU’s chancellor on July 1, 2016, Staton served as vice chancellor for extended education for the University System of Georgia, which included time as the interim president of Valdosta State University. Additionally, he was associate provost at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, and served five terms as a Georgia state senator.
Earlier this spring, Staton was formally installed March 24 as the university’s 11th chancellor, following a week-long celebration of campus events. As chancellor, Staton is the leader of 12 colleges and schools, almost 29,000 students, 5,800 faculty and staff, and nearly 170,000 alumni.
Phi Kappa Phi was founded in 1897 at the University of Maine and is the nation’s oldest, largest and most selective honor society for all academic disciplines. It hosts chapters on more than 300 campuses across the United States, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. Each year, approximately 30,000 members are initiated into the society.
-by Lacey Gray, University Communication