Category Archives: Upcoming

Inaugural Honors College class among grads

The academic achievements of East Carolina University students are always celebrated at commencement. But this year’s class includes an especially remarkable group.

The commencement ceremony will begin with a processional at 9 a.m. Friday, May 9 in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. During the event, more than 3,800 students are expected to receive their degrees, including approximately 2,795 bachelor degree candidates and 1,067 graduate degree candidates, of which 79 will receive medical degrees from the Brody School of Medicine.

Among the graduates at ECU’s 2014 spring commencement ceremony are more than 50 members of the inaugural class of the university’s Honors College.

The Honors College graduates have undergone four years of rigorous academic coursework, interdisciplinary seminars, intensive research, pre-professional internships, leadership development, immersive service-learning projects and study-abroad opportunities.

“Students who are also recruited for other top universities in North Carolina are now choosing ECU as a result of our unique Honors College model,” said Dr. Marianna Walker, who became dean of the Honors College in July 2013. “These students will graduate having a sense of philanthropy and loyalty to the university. Their success is East Carolina University’s success. East Carolina University’s success is eastern North Carolina’s success.”

Dr. Marilyn Sheerer

Dr. Marilyn Sheerer

Dr. Marilyn Sheerer, ECU’s outgoing provost, will deliver the spring 2014 commencement address. Sheerer helped transition the Honors College from a program to full college status.

As provost, Sheerer is ECU’s chief academic officer with oversight of academic programming, enrollment management, institutional planning and research, and equity and diversity. She plans to step down in August.

Since 2008, Sheerer has been provost and senior vice chancellor for academic affairs.

She joined ECU in 1996 as chair of the Department of Elementary and Middle Grades Education in the then School of Education. She was appointed dean of the renamed College of Education in 1998. In her eight years as dean, Sheerer emphasized collaborative partnerships with school systems and community colleges, made changes in the college’s organizational structure, increased grant and private funds in support of strategic priorities and built the largest distance education program in professional education in the UNC system.

During her tenure at the university, she has worked closely with the Chancellor’s Executive Council, the academic deans and department chairs, the Faculty Senate and individual faculty members across the campus.

A native of Pennsylvania, Sheerer holds a bachelor’s degree from Bloomsburg State College, a master’s from Syracuse University and a Ph.D. from Ohio University. She previously held faculty and administrative positions at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and Northern Illinois University.

Many colleges, schools and departments will hold unit recognition ceremonies during commencement weekend. A complete listing can be found at

University Awards Day set for April 30


ECU faculty and staff members will be honored for excellence in teaching, service, leadership and engagement during an annual awards day ceremony April 30. Among the honorees is Dr. Martha “Marti” Engelke from the College of Nursing, recipient of the 2014 Scholarship of Engagement award. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)


By Jeannine Manning Hutson
ECU News Services

East Carolina University will mark Founders Day/University Awards Day on April 30, recognizing the establishment of the institution 107 years ago by the N.C. General Assembly.

The university’s top awards in teaching, scholarship of engagement, research and creative achievement, leadership and the Centennial Awards of Excellence will be announced during an event at 9 a.m. in Hendrix Theatre, Mendenhall Student Center. During the event, this year’s inductees into the Servire Society will be recognized.

Later that day, in Mendenhall Student Center’s Great Room, Chancellor Steve Ballard will recognize the newest members of the Servire Society during an induction reception at 1:30 p.m.

Each Servire Society inductee has contributed 100 or more hours of volunteer service – without compensation and outside his or her normal realm of duties – to the community at large within the previous year.

Also recognized will be several community organizations that provide opportunities for faculty, staff and students to perform volunteer service.

At 3 p.m., the university will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the partnership that created the Queen Anne’s Revenge Conservation Lab. The event will be at the lab, which is housed on ECU’s West Research Campus, 1157 VOA Site C Road, Greenville.

In the QAR lab, artifacts go through a 12-step conservation process that includes documenting the artifact, cleaning, desalination, consolidation, drying and final analysis. The lab is a joint venture between the university and the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.

Large tanks in the QAR lab hold hundreds of artifacts – from anchors and barrel hoops to glass beads and nails – pulled from the shipwreck site of Blackbeard’s flagship Queen Anne’s Revenge in Beaufort Inlet.

Civil rights activist to speak at ECU

Julian Bond, civil rights activist and professor emeritus of the Corcoran Department of History at the University of Virginia, will deliver the Lawrence F. Brewster Lecture in History at East Carolina University.

Julian Bond

Julian Bond

Bond will discuss “Civil Rights, Then and Now,” at 7 p.m. Jan. 28 in ECU’s Wright Auditorium. The presentation is part of the 2013-14 Voyages of Discovery Lecture Series. A question and answer session will immediately follow the presentation.

Bond is distinguished professor in residence in the Department of Government at the American University in Washington, D.C., He is also known as an activist in the civil rights, economic justice and peace movements. In 1960, he helped organize the Atlanta University Center Committee on Appeal for Human Rights, which directed several years of non-violent protests, and by 1962, won integration of Atlanta’s movie theaters, lunch counters and parks.

He served for two decades in the Georgia House and Georgia Senate, drafting more than 60 bills that became law. In 1968, Bond became the first African American to be nominated for the vice presidency of the United States.

He has received the American Civil Liberties Union Bill of Rights Awards from Massachusetts and Georgia, and was named one of America’s Top 200 Leaders by Time magazine. He holds 25 honorary degrees.

Dr. John A. Tucker, director of the Voyages of Discovery Lecture Series, said that Bond’s lecture honors Greenville physicians Dr. Andrew Best, Dr. Fred Irons, Dr. Malene Irons, Dr. Ray Minges and Dr. Earl Trevathan for their contributions to the social health of ECU and the Greenville community. “These physicians led the movement to desegregate Pitt County Memorial Hospital, now Vidant, in the early 1960s,” Tucker said.

To make a contribution to the series, or for additional information, contact Tucker at 252-328-1028, or via email at Additional information is also available at

Polar Bear Plunge highlights new year

East Carolina University’s Division of Student Affairs is hosting two events to help students kick off the spring semester.PB 2014.jpg

The 18th annual Polar Bear Plunge is set for 7 p.m. Jan. 23 at the Student Recreation Center outdoor pool.  Registration begins at 6:30 p.m. with an ECU One Card required. All ECU students, faculty and staff are invited to jump into the icy waters of the outdoor pool. ECU Women’s Basketball Coach Heather Macy will kick-start the event as the ceremonial first jumper.

The Polar Bear Plunge started at ECU in 1997 as part of the grand opening of the Student Recreation Center and 35 participants took the plunge. The event has grown annually, breaking records each year since 2010. Last year, 1,094 jumpers participated.

During the event, participants may enjoy refreshments and attend the Get-A-Clue Involvement Fair, which provides information on programs and activities with organizations on campus. Get-A-Clue begins at 6:30 p.m. and is also held at the Student Recreation Center. Campus Recreation & Wellness, Campus Living & Dining, Coca-Cola, and Student Involvement and Leadership sponsor the Polar Bear Plunge and Get-A-Clue.

On Jan. 24 from 10 p.m. – 2 a.m. is the second annual Highlight the Night dance at ECU’s Student Recreation Center.  The dance will feature DJ K-Ro and DJ Thomas, both ECU students.  The Student Activities Board welcomed more than 1,200 students to the inaugural event last year.

Sears to deliver commencement address

ECU professor Sam Sears was recognized for his work with cardiac patients with the 2013 O. Max Gardner Award. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

ECU professor Sam Sears was recognized for his work with cardiac patients with the 2013 O. Max Gardner Award. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)


East Carolina University professor Sam Sears, winner of the 2013 O. Max Gardner Award, will deliver the keynote address at ECU’s annual fall commencement, Dec. 13. The event begins with a processional at 10 a.m. in Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum.

Sears is director of the ECU doctoral program in health psychology. His research has focused on coping strategies for patients who are living with implantable cardiovert defibrillators. He is widely considered the world’s leading expert on the psychological implications for patients living with the life-saving heart devices.

For additional information about commencement, visit

Celebrating African-American history at ECU

In honor of African-American history month in February, a number of events have been scheduled at East Carolina University, including the following:

Feb. 21, 7 p.m.
Willis Building Auditorium
Courage to Change: Economic Prosperity
Guest lecturers Kenny Flowers and Ray Rogers

Feb. 23, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m.
A Red Carpet Affair, Pre-Motown event
East Carolina Heart Institute
Featuring Lynnette Taylor, WITN anchor
African-American Awards of Excellence

Feb. 23, 8 p.m.
Wright Auditorium
“A Tribute to Motown”
Featuring Ronee Martin and Christie Dashiell

Feb. 28, 8:30 – 11 a.m.
Pitt Community College Student Center
Black Male Achievement Community Forum
Dr. Ivory Toldson and Derek Koen

Feb 28, 7 p.m.
Wright Auditorium
Courage to Change: Education for the 21st Century
Beyond the Bricks with Dr. Ivory Toldson

March 5 , 7 p.m.

Hendrix Theatre
Courage to Change: Arts, Culture and Quality of Life
Guest lecturer Dr. Carroll Dashiell

‘A Tribute to Motown’ celebrates Black History Month

The ECU School of Music Jazz Studies Program and the Hilton Greenville will present “A Tribute to Motown Show” as a Black History Month concert celebrating African-Americans’ many contributions to the music world at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23 in Wright Auditorium at ECU.

Admission is $12.50 for the general public, $7.50 for students. For tickets, call 1-800-ECU-ARTS.

The concert features Ronee Martin, blues and jazz vocalist, and Christie Dashiell, Afro Blue-featured vocalist, performing Motown classics including “Respect,” “Dr. Feel Good,” “Dancin’ in the Street,” “Sugar Pie Honey Bunch,” “Kansas City,” “My Girl” and many more. Carroll V. Dashiell Jr. is the concert music director.

Martin has worked with songwriters and producers including Burt Bacharach and Carol Bayer Sagar, and Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. She was featured vocalist for Tom Scott on “One Day/ One Night” and on the compilation “Sensation” with Joe Sample, Tom Scott and Hubert Laws, and she has sung background for Elton John, Seal, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw.

Christie Dashiell has appeared in concert performances with Smokey Robinson, Fred Hammond, Boney James, Geri Allen, Vanessa Rubin, Nnenna Freelon, Carmen Lundy, Mary Stallings and the Smithsonian Masterworks Jazz Orchestra. She is a recipient of the Down Beat Magazine 2008 and 2010 Outstanding Soloist Award, winning in the jazz vocal category and as soloist with Afro Blue, winning the 2011 Best College Graduate Jazz Vocalist Award.

Martin and Dashiell will be assisted by Bill Ford, special guest piano/synthesizers; Jon Ozment, special guest piano/synthesizers; Carroll V. Dashiell Jr., music director, bass; Jeff Bair, Jeremiah Miller and Vaughn Ambrose, saxophones; Carroll V. Dashiell III, drums; Joe Phillips, guitar; Joey Stultz, ethnic percussion; Karen Peele, trombone; Steve Peckous, tenor sax; and James Old, trumpet. Background vocals are by “3 D”: Cameron Dashiell, Rochelle Rice, Alden Quick and Marvin Thorne.

Prior to the concert, ECU’s Organization of African-American Staff will host “A Red Carpet Affair,” celebrating Black History Month and the value of African-American employees and students.

The two-hour event includes a dinner banquet and the inaugural presentation of the new ECU African-American Awards of Excellence. Lynnette Taylor, anchor for WITN News at 6 p.m., will give a keynote address.

Festivities begin at 4:30 p.m. at the East Carolina Heart Institute. Package tickets are available for people interested in attending both the banquet and Motown concert, priced at $23 for students and $35 for faculty, staff and the public. After Feb. 18, package prices increase to $28 for ECU students and $40 for faculty, staff, and the public.

ECU hosts international affairs forum

East Carolina University will host the Foreign Policy Association’s Great Decisions Program beginning in January 2013.

Now in its ninth year at ECU, the program will run for eight consecutive Saturdays Jan. 19 through March 9. Sessions will be held from 10 a.m. to noon in the Rivers West Building auditorium on campus. Great Decisions is co-sponsored by the World Affairs Council of Eastern North Carolina.

The program consists of a series of lectures by academic and professional experts on topics such as Threat Assessment, China in Africa, Myanmar and Southeast Asia, the Future of the Euro, Egypt, NATO, Iran and Intervention.

Full-time ECU students, staff and faculty may attend for free and purchase the program book for $19. For the general public, the fee is $37 for all eight sessions and includes membership in the WAC-ENC. The textbook is $19. Individual sessions are $6. To register for the series, visit the Great Decisions web site at

For additional information, contact Dr. Sylvie Debevec Henning at 252-328-5520, or via email at Individuals requesting accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) should call 252-737-1016 (voice/TTY) at least 48 hours prior to each event.

Pirates to participate in New Orleans Bowl on Dec. 22

ECU Pirates running back Vintavious Cooper of Homerville, Ga., carries the football against Houston Nov. 3 at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
(Photo by Jay Clark)


East Carolina has accepted an invitation to play in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, La. beginning at 11 a.m. Central Time/noon Eastern on Dec. 22.

The Pirates will play against the Ragin’ Cajuns of Louisiana-Lafayette.

Individuals wishing to purchase tickets may call the ECU Athletics Ticket Office at 800-DIAL-ECU or visit Fans unable to attend the game are asked to purchase tickets to be donated to local military stationed at the Naval Construction Battalion Center in Gulfport, Miss.

Book reading, signing to feature editor Joy Sparrow


Joyner Library at East Carolina University will host a book reading and signing with editor Joy Sparrow at 10:30 a.m. Dec. 8 in the Manuscripts and Rare Books Department.

Sparrow has compiled Civil War letters from the Greenville/Pitt County area detailing the experiences and relationship between a father, Captain Thomas Sparrow, and his son, George Sparrow, during the Civil War era.

Former space shuttle commander to speak at ECU

The first woman to pilot and command an American spacecraft will present the Voyages of Discovery Space Exploration Lecture at 7 p.m., Nov. 13, in Wright Auditorium.


Sponsored by the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences and the ECU Space Grant Project, Col. Eileen Collins will discuss “Leadership Lesson from Apollo to Discovery.”

Collins has led a life of leadership and achievement. Her dream of becoming a pilot developed during her early childhood, and she first learned to fly at her local airport in Elmira, N.Y. After graduating from Syracuse University in 1978, Collins entered the Air Force Undergraduate Pilot Training Program, where she discovered an even more ambitious and loftier dream to become an astronaut.

Her dream became a reality in 1991 when she joined the astronaut program. In 1995, she flew on her first shuttle mission on STS-63 Discovery, becoming the first woman to pilot a space shuttle. In 1999, aboard STS-93 Columbia, Collins hit another milestone when she became the first woman to command a shuttle mission.

In July 2005, Collins flew her final NASA mission as commander of STS-114 Discovery’s historic ‘Return to Flight’ mission following the 2003 loss of the shuttle Columbia. A veteran of four space flights, Collins has logged more than 872 hours in space.

Upon receiving the National Space Trophy, Collins spoke of a new dream. She said that “people will discover and invent new ways to fly higher, faster and farther, and that someday humans will travel beyond our solar system. It will be expensive, it will be risky, and we will make mistakes as we go. But we will do it because we are explorers by nature.”

For more information about the lecture series, contact Dr. John A. Tucker, series director, at 252-328-1028 or or visit the website at

The series will continue in 2013 with two presentations: the Jarvis Lecture on Christianity and Culture, featuring Dr. Amy-Jill Levine, on March 5; and the joint Thomas Harriot/Lawrence F. Brewster Lecture in History, featuring Dr. Daniel Richter, on March 21.

Complimentary tickets for Collins’ space lecture are available to ECU students, faculty and staff members with a valid ECU ID. Tickets for the general public are $10; call the ECU Central Ticket Office at 252-328-4788 or 1-800-ECU-ARTS.

‘The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks’ focus of presentation

David Lacks, the grandson of Henrietta Lacks, will be on campus Nov. 12 to speak about the book that details her contribution—cells taken without her knowledge in 1951—to modern medical research. Those HeLa cells became the basis for decades of research, including the polio vaccine and gene mapping.

The highly acclaimed “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot was selected for the Pirate Summer Read this year. The work tells the story of Henrietta Lacks, the forgotten woman behind one of the most important tools in modern medicine, and of her descendants, many of whom feel betrayed by the scientific establishment.

David Lacks will speak at 7 p.m., Nov. 12 in Wright Auditorium. He will present a first-person perspective on the collision between ethics, race and the commercialization of human tissue, and how the experience has changed the Lacks family forever. This is a free and open event.

First-year students are asked to complete the Pirate Read before arriving on campus each August.

Bill Cosby to visit ECU

Legendary author, comedian and actor  Bill Cosby will speak at 8 p.m. Sept. 20 in Wright Auditorium on the campus of East Carolina University, as part of the S. Rudolph Alexander Performing Arts Series.

Perhaps best known for his popular television series, “The Cosby Show,” Cosby has also excelled as an author, stand-up comic, television producer, musician, actor and activist. His efforts have earned eight Gold Records, three Emmy awards, five Platinum records and five Grammy Awards.

Cosby created the educational cartoon comedy series “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids,” starred in the 1960s action show, “I Spy,” and hosted two seasons of “Kids Say the Darndest Things.”

He has authored a number of books including “Fatherhood,” “Time Flies” and “Love and Marriage.”

Cosby earned a doctoral degree in Education from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1976.

For additional information about the performance series and the Cosby visit, go to


Lecture series includes paleontologist, space shuttle pilot

A third generation paleontologist and the first woman to pilot a space shuttle are among the speakers in the 2012-13 Voyages of Discovery Lecture Series at East Carolina University.


Dr. Louise Leakey will present “Secrets in the Sands: Revelations into How We Became Human,” Oct. 2. A member of the celebrated Leakey family of explorers, Leakey is a paleontologist, conservationist, an anthropology research professor at Stony Brook University and explorer-in-residence at National Geographic.

Col. Eileen Collins, the first woman to pilot and command a space shuttle will present “Leadership Lessons from Apollo to Discovery” Nov. 13.

The Jarvis Lecture on Christianity and Culture on March 5, 2013 will feature Dr. Amy-Jill Levine, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of New Testament Studies at Vanderbilt University Divinity School. Levine will discuss “Strange Bedfellows: The Bible, American Politics, and Homosexuality.”

Rounding out the series on March 21, 2013, Dr. Daniel K. Richter, Roy F. and Jeannette P. Nichols Professor of American History at the University of Pennsylvania, will examine “Native Peoples and the Battle of Nooherooka.”

The first African American female in space, a third generation paleontologist and the first woman to pilot a space shuttle was the first speaker in the series Sept. 5. Dr. Mae C. Jemison opened the lecture series with “Exploring the Frontiers of Science and Human Potential.” Jemison flew into space aboard the Space Shuttle “Endeavor” in 1992, becoming the first African American woman to make that journey.

All lectures are open to the public and begin at 7 p.m. in Wright Auditorium, unless otherwise noted. Complimentary tickets are available to ECU students, faculty and staff, and are $10 for the general public, with the exception of the March 2013 Jarvis Lecture, which is free to all attendees. For tickets, call the ECU Central Ticket Office at 252-328-4788 or 1-800-ECU-ARTS.

For additional information about the series, contact Dr. John Tucker, director of the lecture series, at 252-328-1028 or, or visit the series’ website at


Literary Homecoming to feature Charles Frazier

North Carolina author Ron Rash addresses participants at the 2011 Annual Literature Homecoming event at East Carolina University. (Contributed photo)

East Carolina University will honor the region’s literary traditions Sept. 21 and 22 during the Ninth Annual Eastern North Carolina Literary Homecoming, presented by Joyner Library and the North Carolina Literary Review. The event will offer interactive workshops in addition to panel presentations.

Seven North Carolina writers and two filmmakers will discuss the translation of the written word into film during the event which has the theme, “Litflix: Adapting North Carolina Literature into Film.”

For nine years, the ENCLH has been nourishing and revitalizing the creative spirit for writers as the event provides a place where artists and community members can interact and share ideas. The works represented by the award-winning authors encompass a variety of genres including poetry, fiction, historical nonfiction, and drama and how they tie into Eastern North Carolina culture.

Each year, the Literary Homecoming kicks off with the presentation of the Roberts Award for Literary Inspiration. This year the award will be presented Sept. 21 to eastern North Carolina poet James Applewhite for his significant influence upon the literature of the state.

“The Roberts Award, named in honor of B.W.C. and Snow Roberts of Durham, is a fitting way to honor James Applewhite,” said Maury York, Joyner Library’s assistant director for special collections. York described Applewhite as an outstanding poet with deep roots in eastern North Carolina.

Also on Sept. 21, Timothy B. Tyson will speak about the film adaptation of his book “Blood Done Sign My Name” in a lecture on “Civil Rights Meets Silver Screen.”

On the second day of the event, several North Carolina writers whose literary works have been adapted into film will explore how film can both enhance and distract from the meaning of the written word. As Americans steadily turn away from reading and more toward cinema and television, the literary homecoming strives to reemphasize the value of the written word, while recognizing the value of visual media as a catalyst toward that end, said Margaret D. Bauer, Rives Chair of Southern Literature and editor of the North Carolina Literary Review.

The luncheon on Sept. 22 will feature a reading by Daniel Wallace, author of “Big Fish,” which was adapted into a 2003 feature film directed by Tim Burton and starring Ewan McGregor.

Award-winning author Charles Frazier will deliver the keynote session at 4 p.m. Sept 22. Frazier’s first novel, “Cold Mountain,” winner of the 1997 National Book Award, the 1997 W.D. Weatherford Award, and the 1998 Boeke Prize, was adapted in 2003 into a major motion picture that was nominated for seven Academy Awards. Frazier’s second novel, “Thirteen Moons,” was selected as the first literary work to be translated into the Cherokee language. His most recent novel is “Nightwoods.”

Bauer encourages everyone to “read poetry by James Applewhite and essays by Frazier and Tyson, as well as articles about other guest writers’ film adaptations, in the recently released 2012 issue of the North Carolina Literary Review and then join us at ECU to meet these literary stars in person.”

All events, except for the Sept. 22 author’s luncheon ($15) are free and open to the public. Visit the Homecoming online at, call 252-328-6514, or e-mail


* * *

Saturday, Sept. 22, Program of Events

All events will be held in Joyner Library

Registration     8-8:30 a.m.

Opening Remarks

9-10:30 a.m.

Panel: The Blockbuster, the Independent Film, and the Made-for-TV Movie: Different Venues, Different AudiencesCharles Frazier, Timothy Tyson and James Dodson:  Some literary works make it to the silver screen, while others are enjoyed on the small screen in the comfort of our living rooms. Regardless of where a book’s visual adaptation is seen, a variety of audiences will experience the original stories, which may ultimately draw them to the books. Charles Frazier, author of “Cold Mountain,” will discuss the 2003 adaption of his bestselling novel. Timothy Tyson, author of “Blood Done Sign My Name,” will discuss how independent films, such as the one based on his book, can reach target audiences, even though they might have a limited viewership. James Dodson, author of “Faithful Travelers,” will discuss the book’s television adaptation, “Dodson’s Journey,” and its relationship to the book and its audience.

Workshop #1* 
Writing Fiction for YouthEleanora E. Tate: Tate will demonstrate how to create a story and present it in a manner that captures the attention of youth today.

10:45–12:15 pm.            

Workshop #2*  Writing Memoir and Creative NonfictionJames Dodson: Dodson will demonstrate how to use storytelling prose to captivate readers while conveying memories and events from real life.

Workshop #3* 
Writing a ScreenplayDaniel Wallace: Wallace will discuss using elements of screenwriting and artistic license when adapting a literary work for a film.

10:45–12 p.m.            

Panel: Pop(corn) Culture: How Youth Audiences Shape Literary and Film Industries Eleanora E. Tate and Lois Duncan Book and film audiences change with the times. Children’s and young adult audiences are no exception. With their increased exposure to films, television shows, and video games, children are immersed in visual media that reflect their changing world. Tate, author of “Just an Overnight Guest,” will discuss the artistic decisions that went into the adaptation of her children’s book about sibling rivalry and jealousy into a heartwarming, award-winning TV movie. Duncan, author of “Hotel for Dogs,” will discuss adapting a humorous story into a full-length feature film. The authors will also discuss how these films can inspire children and young adults to read the books on which they are based.

12:30–2 p.m.           

Luncheon (in the Mendenhall Student Center)*
Reading by Daniel Wallace, author of “Big Fish”

2-3:45 p.m.

Panel: Short Stories into Short FilmsElisabeth Benfey, Dante James and Randall Kenan:  In this session, two filmmakers will discuss the decisions involved during adaptation, and a fiction writer will relate his reaction to having his writing adapted. Filmmaker James will screen and then discuss his adaptation of Charles Chesnutt’s “The Doll,” and Benfey will do the same for her Duke students’ film based on Kenan’s “The Foundations of the Earth.” Kenan will address his reaction to watching what were once images in his head – and then words on the page – become images on a screen. The panelists will also address audience questions.

2:15–3:45 p.m.

Workshop #4* 
Poetry WritingJeffrey Franklin:  North Carolina Literary Review poetry editor Jeffrey Franklin will conduct a poetry writing workshop in which he will help participants recognize the importance of the poetic line and the original (rather than clichéd) image –common problems he has seen in submissions to NCLR over the years. Participants will have a chance to hear others’ work and to interact with their peers in a workshop setting.

2:15–3:45 p.m.

Workshop #5* 
How to Build a Story Lois Duncan: Duncan will lead participants through the process of developing character and plot to keep the reader interested and focused on the story. Participants will have the opportunity to begin to write their own stories and receive feedback from both participants and the facilitator.

4 p.m.

Talking with Charles Frazier, author of “Cold Mountain.”


Awards Day, Founders Day celebrations to be held April 25

The Annual Awards Day and Founders Day celebration at East Carolina University will be held from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. April 25 at Hendrix Theatre, Mendenhall Student Cetner on campus.

ECU faculty and staff are presented with awards during the 2011 celebration. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

At the time, the university will celebrate the accomplishments, achievements and special recognitions due to members of the faculty, staff and administration, while commemorating the founding of East Carolina in 1907.

Recognitions to be announced include: the UNC Board of Governors Teaching Awards, the UNC Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching, the UNC Board of Governors Distinguished Professor for Teaching Awards, ECU Scholar-Teacher Awards, ECU Alumni Association Awards, the Robert L. Jones Award for Outstanding Teaching, Lifetime and Five-year Achievement awards, the Alumni Association Awards for Outstanding Teaching, the Max Ray Joyner Award for Faculty Service through Continuing Education, the James L. Talton Jr. Leadership Award and induction into the Servire Society.

A reception will follow in the Cynthia Lounge.

State of University address set for April 10

Chancellor Steve Ballard

East Carolina University Chancellor Steve Ballard will present the State of the University address at 11 a.m. April 10 at Hendrix Theatre in Mendenhall Student Center on campus.

Students, faculty, staff and members of the Greenville community are invited to attend.

Individuals unable to attend may view the event both during and after at

Philip Levine, U.S. Poet Laureate, coming to ECU

The great American “working man’s poet” will visit East Carolina University in late April for a public reading of his work.

U.S. Poet Laureat Philip Levine (Photo by Matt Valentine)

Philip Levine, named U.S. Poet Laureate by the Library of Congress in August 2011, will be on campus for the Contemporary Writers Series, which is sponsored by the ECU Division of Research and Graduate Studies and the Department of English. The series aims to expose students and other readers to award-winning fiction and nonfiction writers, translators and poets.

Levine will read from his work at 8 p.m. April 25 at the Greenville Museum of Art on Evans Street. An avid fan of John Coltrane and other jazz greats, the poet and arriving guests will be welcomed by the music of a jazz trio.

The event is free and open to the university community and public.

Levine was born and raised in Detroit, a city which figures prominently in his poetry. He worked several industrial jobs before leaving Michigan in 1953 for the University of Iowa, where he studied at the Writer’s Workshop under influential poets Robert Lowell and John Berryman. He later moved to California and taught for many years at California State University, Fresno and New York University. Now retired, Levine resides in Fresno, Calif., and Brooklyn, N.Y., with his wife.

Author of more than 20 books of poetry, essays, and translations, Levine won the National Book Award in 1991 for his collection, “What Work Is,” and the Pulitzer Prize in 1995 for “The Simple Truth.” He has also received numerous other awards, including the first American Book Award for Poetry and, on two occasions, the National Critics Circle Book Award. His most recent collection, “News of the World,” was published in 2010.

Librarian of Congress James Billington, who selected Levine as poet laureate, describes him as a poet of “the industrial heartland.” Known for his urban landscapes and working-class themes, Levine has been seen as an American poet in the tradition of Walt Whitman.

Tom Douglass, a literature professor in ECU’s Department of English and one of the organizers of the Contemporary Writers Series, believes there is no better time to hear the poetry of Levine firsthand, given the nation’s weak economic state and fading industrial landscape.

“The working life of our country is on its knees, and Levine is often read as an activist for the working class, a voice for those whose voices are increasingly not being heard,” said Douglass.

“Our young people seem to understand that what they need is meaningful work that leads to dignity and a sense of self-worth,” said poet John Hoppenthaler, Contemporary Writers Series committee member and ECU professor. “They seem to know, as Levine’s wonderful poem ‘What Work Is’ suggests, that compassion and love are byproducts of the solidity and possibility that good jobs provide. With so little meaningful work currently available, all that remains is for the outraged and disenfranchised to occupy public areas across America to express their discontent. No one other than Phil Levine ought to be poet laureate in times such as these.”

Now in its second year, the Contemporary Writers Series brought novelists Colm Tóibín and Colum McCann to campus in 2011. In 2012 the series aims to highlight American poets, and following Levine’s visit in April, poet and Pulitzer Prize winner Natasha Tretheway will visit ECU in the fall.

The CWS is dedicated to hosting the best writers working today for the benefit of students and the university community, Douglass said.

For more information about Levine’s visit or the Contemporary Writers Series at ECU, contact Tom Douglass at or Liza Wieland at

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