College of Business new concentration

Directed by Brenda Wells, an insurance expert who holds a Ph.D. in risk management and insurance from the University of Georgia, ECU’s risk management and insurance concentration is a direct result of partnerships with industry professionals. More than 40 students have already enrolled.

“Risk management is a broad academic field, which can include traditional insurance-related risk management — earthquakes, hurricanes, fire, life, health, and retirement planning — as well as financial risk, such as interest, exchange rates, and credit,” Wells said.

“Not only do we teach our students the nuts and bolts of business at ECU, we also hone the skills essential for success in the business world. Our graduates will enjoy successful careers at companies large and small and are well prepared to enter all facets of the insurance industry.”

Officials also announced a collaboration between ECU and The National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research, which will allow students to earn the University Associate Certified Insurance Counselor designation through their coursework ‒ giving an important head start on earning the prestigious Certified Insurance Counselor designation.

Students in the program also participate in industry-specific conferences throughout the year, including the annual conference of the Independent Insurance Agents of North Carolina. Important decision makers in the industry visit campus throughout the year, such as North Carolina Commissioner of Insurance Wayne Goodwin, who spoke to the ECU Society of Risk Management and Insurance in 2010.

The kickoff celebration included a visit by national insurance executive Bob Restrepo, chairman, president and CEO of State Auto Insurance Companies. Restrepo welcomed students to the insurance industry at a presentation sponsored by the Beta Gamma Sigma Distinguished Lecture Series.

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Words of Support

Associate Vice Chancellor for Campus Operations Bill Bagnell and Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences Phyllis Horns greet Gov. Beverly Perdue during a quick inspection of the ECU School of Dental Medicine construction site on Feb. 17. Operating funds for the dental school were included in the governor's proposed budget which she announced earlier that day. (Photos by Jeannine Manning Hutson)

Perdue pledges support for dental school during visit Feb. 17

By Mary Schulken

GREENVILLE   (Feb. 17, 2011)   —   N.C. Gov. Beverly Perdue said funding to open East Carolina University’s School of Dental Medicine is an urgent need that should stay on track despite the state’s toughest budget in 60 years.

“I don’t know what we would do if we were to build a building this sophisticated to train dentists for all of North Carolina and have it stand empty,” she said during a visit to the school’s construction site Thursday, Feb. 17.

“I hope the people of the General Assembly understand you can’t do that,” she told university officials and reporters gathered on west campus, where the school’s foundation has begun to rise.

Perdue proposed biennial budget includes the $5 million the UNC system and ECU have requested to keep construction of the dental school on schedule. It also includes funding for enrollment growth and financial aid at the state’s universities while trimming the state’s work force by an estimated 10,000 employees.

University of North Carolina President Tom Ross said state funding for enrollment growth and financial aid are priorities.

“We are particularly thankful that (Gov. Perdue) recognizes the critical importance of our enrollment growth funding and need-based financial aid, although those needs would be only partially met, as well as operating reserves for new buildings,” Ross said.

Still, cuts of the magnitude proposed in the governor’s budget would put an estimated 1,500 jobs at the state’s universities in jeopardy, he said, and students will feel the impact.

“With fewer faculty, staff, and course sections, many more students would not be able to obtain the courses and academic services they need to graduate on time,” he said.

ECU’s School of Dental Medicine is set to admit its first 50 students, all North Carolina residents, in August, with plans to admit 50 each year. Currently, the construction site consists of the building foundation, utilities, and the structure for the dental school basement. The steel to frame the building is expected to arrive later this month.

The UNC system has asked for $3.5 million in fiscal year 2011-2012 and $1.5 million in fiscal year 2012-13 to operate the dental school.

North Carolina is below the national average in the ratio of dentists to population, and that ratio has declined recently as the population has increased faster than the supply of practitioners. That need drove the establishment of a second state dental school.

On Thursday, Perdue chatted with ECU Chancellor Steve Ballard at the construction site, asking him how things were going at ECU.

“Things are good,” Ballard said. “We are doing what we are supposed to be doing.”

“I hope I’ll be back again when there’s more to see here at the dental school,” Perdue said.

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Trustees: ECU must prepare for cuts

East Carolina University needs to prepare for stressful changes as the state legislature eyes a budget that sharply shrinks government, members of the board of trustees said today in a budget update and discussion.  “It comes down to we’re going to have to do some uncomfortable things, such as eliminate some schools and ask students to pay,” said trustee Bob Greczyn. Read more at http://www.ecu.edu/news/newsstory.cfm?ID=1913

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Valentine Gift

June Long, an executive assistant at the Brody School of Medicine, recalls her Valentine's Day kidney transplant. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

A Valentine’s Day gift of a different sort

ECU staff member recalls the Feb. 14 kidney transplant that gave her a new life

By Doug Boyd

GREENVILLE, N.C. (Feb. 11, 2011) — June Long was with her daughter browsing Valentine’s Day cards when she received the call.

A match to replace Long’s failing kidneys had been found and was on its way to North Carolina. If the new kidney and Long passed the final matching criteria, she would undergo a transplant the following day, Feb. 14, 1997.

“It was very emotional,” said Long, 62. “It’s just overwhelming when you know something that means so much to you has cost a family so much.”

The transplant surgeon on call that day at East Carolina University was Dr. Paul Cunningham, now dean of the Brody School of Medicine at ECU.

“He said, ‘It’s about a perfect match. We’re going to the O.R.,’” Long said.

Feb. 14 isn’t just Valentine’s Day at the Cunningham household. It’s also the Cunninghams’ wedding anniversary, and that year was their 10th. “Our plans usually involve not doing a whole lot other than spend time with each other,” Cunningham said. “Typically, I cook a meal.”

When Cunningham told his wife, Sydney, their anniversary and Valentine’s Day dinner would have to wait, her response was warm.

“She felt this was the best Valentine’s Day gift we could give one another – to help somebody,” Cunningham said.

Long was prepped for surgery, and the operation proceeded. After Cunningham made all the connections, the new kidney began working before his eyes.

“From a surgeon’s viewpoint, it’s so exciting to be able to do that and see the thing run,” Cunningham said. “It’s like a kid at Christmas; you put the battery in the toy and see it work.”

Long, who worked at the ECU medical school in 1997 and still does, as an executive assistant, has enjoyed 14 years of normal life. She said anti-rejection medication is far better than 10 hours of dialysis each night. “I was pretty much tied to the dialysis machine,” she said. “All you do is take a handful of pills, and that’s so much better than being on dialysis.

“This has been a real good match,” she added. “I’ve never had any rejection episodes. It’s been a great kidney.”

In addition, new anti-rejection medications have fewer side-effects and are less damaging to the kidneys and body, Cunningham said.

While the job of dean leaves no time for surgery, that’s OK with Cunningham. “There’s a time for everything,” he said. “My job now is to support those who are doing transplants now.”

More than 280 eastern North Carolinians are awaiting a kidney transplant, according to ECU experts. ECU surgeons performed 73 kidney transplants in 2010.

For more information about kidney transplants at ECU, call 252-744-2620.

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Interview with Paul Rogat Loeb

Paul Rogat Loeb: ‘You can’t be afraid to take on the challenges’

GREENVILLE, N.C.   (Feb. 24, 2011)   —   In his tours of college campuses, author and activist Paul Rogat Loeb has observed that many students lack an understanding of how social change occurs. They know, for instance, that Rosa Parks refused to sit in the back of the bus, but they don’t know about the years of behind-the-scenes work that precipitated the Montgomery bus boycott.

Educators have a unique responsibility to change that, Loeb argued Wednesday at the 8th annual ECU Conference on Service-Learning. Loeb, who has lectured to 400 colleges around the country, has published five books, including the “Soul of a Citizen,” which has more than 100,000 copies in print. An updated edition was published in April.

Loeb spoke with ECU News Services about the role of universities in social change and how professors can develop civically engaged students.  Read the full interview at http://www.ecu.edu/news/newsstory.cfm?ID=1912.

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