Lassiter to receive School of Communication’s distinguished alumni award

The East Carolina University School of Communication’s Seventh Annual Spring Reception will include presentation of the school’s distinguished alumni award to communication professional Valeria Lassiter. The event is set for 6 p.m. April 20 at the Greenville Museum of Art.

Valeria Lassiter

Valeria Lassiter

The award recognizes alumni with a minimum of four years of work history, outstanding and uncommon achievement in one’s profession, in civic affairs, and/or politics.

Lassiter, who graduated from ECU in 1990, is the founder and CEO of Lassiter & Associates, a strategic partnership and fundraising management firm based in Chevy Chase, Md. She has more than 20 years of experience in the private, government and nonprofit sectors. Her clients come from education, arts and culture, unions, faith-based and public policy organizations.

“It is an honor for me to receive the Distinguished Alumni Award from the School of Communication. I am deeply appreciative of my experience at ECU,” Lassiter said.

Lassiter is an instructor for the Georgetown University executive nonprofit management certificate program, where she has trained more than 1,000 executives in corporate-nonprofit partnerships, development and fundraising. Before forming Lassiter & Associates in 2003, she was vice president of development for the Darrell Green Youth Life Foundation and project director for the Marriott Foundation for People with Disabilities, Bridges from School to Work program.

A champion for women’s rights and women in leadership, Lassiter served as the administrative director for the 75th anniversary celebration of women suffrage in America, and she is chair of the board of directors for the Women’s Roundtable at ECU, leading an effort to create a legacy of women leaders and raise access scholarships for students. In addition to her bachelor’s degree from ECU, Lassiter holds a master of divinity degree from Colgate Rochester Divinity School.

The annual reception is organized by CommCrew, the school’s alumni and supporters’ organization. Priced at $25 for the public and $10 for students, tickets to the reception are available by calling 252-328-4227.

The reception follows an open house to showcase the school’s new multimedia newsroom and communication center, set for 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. in the Joyner East classroom building on campus. Read more about the open house at http://blog.ecu.edu/sites/poeight/?p=5690.

Both events are open to the public.

 

 

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Open house to showcase multimedia newsroom, communication center

ECU student AnnaMaria Gallozzi is shown in the School of Communication's new multimedia newsroom. (COntributed photo)

ECU student AnnaMaria Gallozzi is shown in the School of Communication’s new multimedia newsroom. (Contributed photo)

 

The East Carolina University School of Communication will show its new multimedia newsroom and communication center in an open house from 4:30 – 5:30 April 20.

Visitors will tour facilities on the second floor of Joyner East, across the plaza from Joyner Library. Room 215 houses the multimedia newsroom, and Room 205 is actually a four-room communication center with separate spaces available for research and meetings. Faculty and students from the school’s Student Ambassador program will demonstrate equipment.

“The newsroom is designed to mimic a real world newsroom giving students real world experience in creating and delivering content for a television newscast,” School of Communication Director Linda Kean said. The facilites includes new computers, three studio cameras, a TriCaster, an audio board, an anchor desk and a green screen. The newsroom’s virtual sets enable the plain green backdrop of the anchoring desk to be transformed into a city skyline and numerous other scenes.

The communication center features a two-way mirror for focus group research, an eye tracker and a biofeedback machine. In addition to providing a controlled research environment, the center will be available for workshops and one-on-one help with presentation preparation and delivery.

“We’re excited to show alumni and friends the improvements we’ve made recently in terms of technology and facilities,” said Glenn Hubbard, who teaches in the newsroom. “We are offering great experiences for our students, which is something our supporters can be proud of.”

Newscasts created in the newsroom are available under the name Pirate News Network on YouTube.

Following the open house, the School of Communication/CommCrew Seventh Annual Spring Reception will be held at 6 p.m. at the Greenville Museum of Art.

The open house is free and open to the public. The evening reception requires a ticket, which can be purchased by calling 252-328-4227.

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ECU community mourns loss of instructor

By Kathryn Kennedy and Jeannine Manning Hutson
ECU News Services

Co-workers and students of East Carolina University teaching instructor Debbie O’Neal are grieving this week following her death March 31.

She and her husband – both rated pilots – were killed when their fixed-wing Lancair LC-42 aircraft crashed in a Winston-Salem residential neighborhood after experiencing engine trouble, a National Traffic Safety Board official told media on Monday.

Funeral services are scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday, April 3 at Rock Springs Center, 4025 N.C. Highway 43 N, Greenville.

An additional memorial service was held Tuesday, April 2 at the Washington Eye Center, where her husband, Dennis, worked.

O’Neal came to ECU in 2004, and this semester she was teaching three sections of English composition in the classroom and two distance-education sections of English grammar.

Department of English Chair Jeffrey Johnson spent Tuesday meeting with students in O’Neal’s classes, accompanied by staff from the ECU counseling center. He said the students were “taking it hard,” and many asked if they could reach out to her family.

“Her students know how invested she was in them,” Johnson said. “She was really outgoing, full of energy and ideas, generous with her time. All these qualities of hers…make (the loss) even harder.”

O’Neal was very involved in the ECU Language Academy, which provides intensive English-language instruction to international students and professionals. She also worked with the College of Education by developing ways to integrate English as a second language (ESL) teacher education into existing curriculum.

Marjorie Ringler, associate professor in the College of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership, said she and O’Neal worked closely for years. “We were inseparable at work and as friends as well,” Ringler said Tuesday.

O’Neal was a linguist and Ringler works on partnerships with principals and school districts; together they were a great team, Ringler said. The pair recently attended an international conference in Dallas, presenting their success in teaching English as a second language in a rural eastern North Carolina school.

O’Neal engaged her classroom students as well, Ringler said, and held them to high standards.

“In the Department of English, she saw her students as her kids,” Ringler continued. “She was a mother to them because (she taught) the freshman composition class.”

She added that O’Neal kept in touch with many students and would get Facebook and email messages about how she had changed their lives. “She made sure everybody knew that she cared,” Ringler said.

“She lived life to the fullest. She was a pilot, made her own jewelry, and was always in touch with her three kids. She skied as well. What did she not do? And she tackled everything head on.”

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Folger Shakespeare Library exhibit features ECU connections

Irish mantle 1, resized

A replica of an Irish mantle, or cloak, created by East Carolina University School of Art and Design students in Robin Haller’s textile and design course is part of the exhibit at the Folger Shakespeare Library. Photo courtesy of the Folger Shakespeare Library.

By Alexa DeCarr, ECU News Services

An exhibit on display at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., is showcasing the achievements of Dr. Thomas Herron, an associate professor of English at East Carolina University, students in ECU’s School of Art and Design and the University Multimedia Center.

The exhibit, which opened in January and runs through May 19, is named “Nobility and Newcomers in Renaissance Ireland” and focuses on the Irish upper class during the 16th to mid-17th century and its cultural exchanges with England. It investigates the political struggles of the period while acknowledging the ways in which English and Irish cultures influenced each other through achievements in literature, architecture and the arts.

“It goes beyond the black and white view of the interactions between the English and the Irish,” Herron said of the exhibit.

Students in ECU assistant professor Robin Haller’s textile and design course recreated a replica of an Irish mantle, which Herron said is a type of outer covering or cloak worn by the Irish. The University Multimedia Center also contributed to the exhibit by creating a 3-D computerized recreation of a tower house castle from the Middle Ages that allows viewers to get a virtual tour.

Herron said that a 16th century portrait of Queen Elizabeth I “discovered” in Manteo while hanging in plain sight during a conference organized by the ECU English Department is on display at the exhibit as well.

“ECU has been so generous and has played a major role in the exhibit,” Herron said. “Different departments within the university have gone out of their way to help with the exhibit.”

While the exhibit focuses on Europe during the Renaissance, Herron said modern Americans can still appreciate it.

“Shakespeare is a powerful influence on the U.S. and our culture,” he said. “And many Americans have Irish roots.”

The exhibit, “Nobility and Newcomers in Renaissance Ireland,” features portraits, manuscripts, artifacts, family records, and rare books drawn from collections in Ireland and the United States. The exhibition includes nearly 100 items from the Folger collection, as well as materials from the National Gallery of Ireland, the University of Wisconsin, the National Portrait Gallery, the National Library of Ireland, and private collections.

Brendan Kane, a historian of modern Ireland and an associate professor at the University of Connecticut, was the co-curator of the exhibit.

For more information on the exhibit, visit www.folger.edu/Ireland or contact Tom Herron at herront@ecu.edu.

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