Family Tradition


Carla Lilley, left, and daughter Ashton of Williamston prepare to move Ashton in to Garrett Hall for East Carolina University’s fall semester during Aug. 16 move in day. Ashton will live in the same room where both her mother and her aunt lived while attending ECU. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

Freshman moves into Garrett Hall room more than 30 years after her mother, aunt

By Crystal Baity
ECU News Services

Garrett Hall has changed in the 30 years since Carla Manning Lilley lived in the same room that her daughter, East Carolina University freshman Ashton Lilley, moved in Aug. 16.

But the sink is still there.

Carla of Williamston lived in Garrett as an undergraduate child development and family relations major from 1975 until 1979 and stayed as a graduate student another year in what was then an all-female residence hall. It’s now co-ed.

Carla immediately noticed some changes to the third floor room on move-in day: air conditioning, carpet, furniture and the doors that had been removed from the closets.

But the sink and mirrored vanity was still in a familiar spot. “This is the sterling feature of this room,” Carla said. “Not many had a sink with running water in a dorm room.”

Carla and her first roommate, Carol Tice, now Carol Tice Bazemore from Williamston, set up a full kitchen and often cooked large meals to share with friends, which made the sink especially helpful for preparation and clean up.

“We had two refrigerators, two crock pots, two electric frying pans, a toaster oven,” Carla said. “It’s a wonder we didn’t overload everything.”

Current rules allow only one refrigerator and no electric frying pans. Toaster ovens are still okay.

During Carla’s senior year, her younger sister and Ashton’s aunt, Marsha, moved in.


Carla Lilley was pleased to see that one of the room’s best features – the sink – was still in its place.

“It’s just a great place to live,” said Carla, noting the university has more than doubled in size since her time on campus.

Bill McCartney, associate vice chancellor of campus living, said it’s only the second time in his 32 years in higher education that he’s been asked if an incoming student could live in the same room as a family member.

When Carla asked if her daughter could live in her old dorm room, he wanted to help.

“Here’s a family with such a rich tradition with ECU that we should encourage this and allow them to continue this unique trip through higher education on our campus,” McCartney said.

Carla and Roy Lilley’s son, Taylor, is a senior at ECU. He didn’t live in Garrett, but he has been a Marching Pirate all four years. They have cousins who are Pirates too.

“I think it’s really cool,” said Ashton, 18. “I don’t really know anybody that can say they lived in their mom and aunt’s old room.”

The physical layout of Garrett is the same as it was 37 years ago including stairs but no elevator. “The room is not significantly different,” McCartney said. Study lounges were added on each floor.

“Those in college in the 60s and 70s lived in sparse buildings,” he said, adding a sink in the room then was a novelty. “Life in a residence hall has gotten significantly more comfortable.”

Among Carla’s memories was her own move in day.

“When we showed up, we brought buckets of pale yellow paint, drop cloths, the works,” she said. “We painted it top to bottom. We had matching curtains, comforters and bed skirts. We tried to coordinate everything.”

Ashton, who has worked as a lifeguard the past three summers, said she and roommate Caroline Whitaker of Robersonville talked about some things they were bringing in advance, but “were planning to wing it.”

Both are interested in the sciences. Whitaker plans to major in chemistry, and Ashton intends to go on to graduate school in physical therapy.

“I’m looking forward to meeting a lot of people,” said Ashton, who graduated from Riverside High School which has about 500 students.

“Going from 500 to almost 30,000 is a big change.”


Roy Lilley helps his daughter Ashton move her personal belongings into Garrett Residence Hall.

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