Southern Gerontological Society honors ECU sociology professor



The Southern Gerontological Society honored East Carolina University professor of sociology Dr. James “Jim” Mitchell with induction into the Gerontologists Rooted in the South (GRITS) Hall of Fame for 2013. The announcement took place at the Society’s 34th annual meeting in Charlotte on April 7.

The GRITS Hall of Fame seeks to recognize individuals who have made important contributions to the Southern Gerontological Society and to the field of gerontology through research, teaching, administration, advocacy or applied practice. It also seeks to honor those members who serve as role models for future generations interested in the advancement of knowledge and practice in the field of aging.

“Initially, I viewed this induction somewhat light-heartedly,” Mitchell said. “I became a bit more serious about it when I looked at the rather small list of six former inductees. All former honorees, including two mentors and friends who have died, have made significant contributions to the field of gerontology. I was pretty humbled by this designation, which speaks to the independence and the support that I have received from ECU over the years.”

A native of Minnesota, Mitchell joined ECU’s Department of Sociology in the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences in 1980. He was director of the Brody School of Medicine’s Center on Aging for 25 years and associate director of the UNC Institute on Aging for 12 years. Currently, Mitchell serves as the director of the ECU Center for Diversity and Inequality Research, housed in the Department of Sociology.

Prior to coming to ECU, Mitchell completed a pre-doctoral fellowship with the Midwest Council for Social Research on Aging. He received his doctoral degree from Oklahoma State University, his graduate degree from the University of Wyoming and his undergraduate degree from Bemidji State University in Minnesota.

Mitchell’s research and writing is based in eastern North Carolina, describing and explaining disparity by race, gender and residence in health outcomes and access to assistive services among community-dwelling older people. Additional research and writings in applied gerontology focus on preventative health behavior among community-dwelling older adults.

Mitchell is an active member of the Southern Gerontological Society and has served on various committees and leadership positions. He was awarded the SGS’s Academic Gerontologist Award in 2000, served as editor of the Journal of Applied Gerontology from 2003–07 and as President of SGS from 2009–10.

For additional information, contact Mitchell at 252-328-6768 or


ECU grad student awarded for poster presentation


Erin Schofield

Erin Schofield, a second year graduate student in occupational therapy, was selected as the recipient of the 2013 ECU Research and Creative Achievement Week Graduate Education Poster Presentation award. Her entry was titled “Examining the use of the Shore Handwriting Screening to assess the handwriting skills of pre-kindergarteners.”

Schofield was also accepted to present her research in poster form at the national American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) conference that will be held at the end of this month in San Diego. She will be attending with her project mentor, Dr. Denise Donica.


Holocaust survivor to speak on campus April 16

Holocaust survivor Morris Glass will share his story at 4 p.m. on April 16 in Hendrix Theatre, Mendenhall Student Center on the East Carolina University campus.



Glass was imprisoned in a series of six death camps – including Auschwitz – after the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939 when he was 11 years old. He lost 42 members of his family to the Holocaust.

This event is free and open to the public. For questions about the event, contact David Smith at 252-328-5524,

The presentation is sponsored by the N.C. Council on the Holocaust. Read more about the council at


Hospitality leadership students plan, execute event

Members of the ECU class that helped organize the Women of Distinction event were, left to righ, James Coker, Bobbie Whelan, Hannah Duffy, Greyson Fesperman, Nikki Seward, profesor Dr. Alleah Crawford, Megan Bishop, Kara Dough, Jessica Eubanks and Thomas Barber. (Photo by Nicole Wood)

Members of the ECU class that helped organize the Women of Distinction event were, left to right, James Coker, Bobbie Whelan, Hannah Duffy, Greyson Fesperman, Nikki Seward, profesor Dr. Alleah Crawford, Megan Bishop, Kara Dough, Jessica Eubanks and Thomas Barber. (Photo by Nicole Wood)

East Carolina University students in hospitality leadership collaborated with the Chancellor’s Council on the Status of Women to plan and execute the awards presentation for women of distinction April 8.

The students were members of ECU professor Dr. Alleah Crawford’s meeting and special events productions and delivery class. In preparation for their work this spring, the students took Dr. George Fenich’s meeting, event and convention planning course, in which they submitted proposals for planning an event. This spring the winning proposal was selected by the Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Women.

The students were Nikki Seward, Kara Dough, Bobbie Whelan, Megan Bishop, Greyson Fesperman, Hannah Duffy, Jessica Eubanks, James Coker and Thomas Barber. Additional students in the College of Human Ecology volunteered to help out with the event.


ECU students Thomas Barber and Kara Dough check the centerpieces. (Photo by Nicole Wood)



Poet Nikki Giovanni caps ECU Anniversary of Desegregation commemoration

East Carolina University will conclude a yearlong commemoration of the 50th anniversary of its desegregation with a presentation by acclaimed poet Nikki Giovanni. The program is set for 7 p.m. on April 24 in Wright Auditorium.



Outspoken in her writing and lectures, Giovanni prides herself on being “a Black American, a daughter, a mother, a professor of English.” During the past 30 years, she has fought for civil rights and equality through her work as poet, writer, commentator, activist and educator.

The 50th anniversary celebration at ECU begin in the fall semester when Laura Marie Leary Elliott returned to campus, attending her first ECU football game and joining in the Homecoming Parade. Elliott was the first African American student of East Carolina College in 1963.

Additional events commemorating the anniversary included a five-part lecture series titled “A Courage to Change,” in which African American leaders and educators spoke on topics related to ECU’s five strategic directions. Those strategic directions are education for a new century, the leadership university, economic prosperity in the East, health care and medical innovation and the arts, culture and the quality of life.

Giovanni’s presentation is free and open to the public. Attendees are required to secure a ticket through the ECU Central Ticket Office in the Mendenhall Student Center.