Lucas re-elected chair of Board of Trustees

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ECU Chancellor Steve Ballard, left, and Board of Trustees chairman Bob Lucas share a light moment at the ECU Board of Trustees meeting July 19. Lucas was re-elected as board chair during the meeting. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)


By Crystal Baity
ECU News Services

East Carolina University’s Board of Trustees welcomed a new board member and elected officers to one-year terms on the 13-member governing body July 19.

M. Justin Davis, ECU’s new Student Government Association president, was sworn in as an ex-officio member of the board. Robert V. Lucas, a Selma attorney and 1974 graduate of ECU, was re-elected chairman.

The nominating committee presented two nominees for vice chair: current vice chair Carol Mabe of Oriental and Robert Brinkley of Charlotte. Brinkley was elected on an 8-5 vote, with Brinkley, Edwin Clark, Justin Davis, Steven Jones, Bobby Owens, Danny Scott, Kieran Shanahan and Mark Tipton voting for Brinkley, and Joel Butler, Ken Chalk, Deborah Davis, Lucas and Mabe voting for Mabe.

Butler of Grimesland was re-elected secretary by acclimation after Tipton nominated Shanahan, who declined, and Jones, who also declined.

Before the slate of officers was presented, nominating committee chair Chalk said the board has, “90 plus percent of the time,” elected officers to serve consecutive one-year terms, while the vice chair normally moves up to the chair position in subsequent years. Chalk said most universities follow the same process. Advantages include continuity of leadership while disadvantages could be limited opportunities for some members to serve or a process that appears to be a “rubber stamp,” he said.

Before the vote for vice chair, Shanahan expressed his support for annual elections. “I think it’s important going forward we consider every year the person and the strength they bring to the table,” he said. Tipton agreed, saying having a leadership ladder and one-year terms strengthens the board, and doesn’t weaken it. “I don’t see it as having a competition between officers,” he said.

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SGA president Justin Davis was sworn in at the July 19 Board of Trustees meeting.

Chalk said all board members are leaders, in elected and non-elected positions. “If you’re on the board of trustees, you are a leader. There are multiple roles you can all serve,” he said.

Following the election, Lucas said he was “appreciative and humbled in the confidence the board has in me. I will continue to try and reach out and engage the board members as much as possible, and to communicate with them,” Lucas said. “We’ve got a very talented group and try hard to use the talents of all 13.”

Lucas said the board’s vote on the vice chair position was unusual but the bylaws allow for it. He congratulated Brinkley, and commended Mabe’s service as vice chair. “She has done an outstanding job and she will be in consideration for chairman in another year as will Mr. Brinkley,” Lucas said. “I believe the board has done a good job picking either one.”

Brinkley expressed confidence in Lucas as chairman, and said the vice chair election “shows we have lots of strong leaders. We have just so many qualified people to serve.”

Lucas is founding and senior partner of the law firm Lucas, Denning & Ellerbe. He served on the board as SGA president in 1974 and graduated with a degree in political science. Lucas received his law degree from the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala.

Brinkley is a partner with the McGuireWoods law firm in Charlotte, where he serves on the boards of directors/trustees of various charitable and civic organizations. He has practiced law in Greensboro and Charlotte for 24 years. He is a summa cum laude graduate of ECU with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He received his JD degree (magna cum laude) from Wake Forest University.

Butler is chief external affairs officer and president of foundations at Vidant Health. He is the health care system’s primary point of contact with many organizations throughout eastern North Carolina. He received a master’s degree in public administration from ECU and is a former chair of the university’s Board of Visitors, an advocacy organization.

Davis, of Rocky Mount, is a senior at ECU majoring in political science. He was elected president of the SGA in April and, as such, serves as an ex-officio member of the board. Davis, 22, has been a member of the ECU Marching Pirates, Phi Mu Alpha Music Fraternity, Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity, the ECU Symphonic Wind Ensemble, ECU New Student Orientation, the Volunteer and Service Learning Center, and SGA where he was previously elected to two consecutive terms as treasurer.