Award-winning alumnus completes triology

Rick Atkinson

ECU alumnus and award-winning writer Rick Atkinson

By Steve Tuttle
East editor

Members of the Greatest Generation may enjoy reading Rick Atkinson’s book about their greatest triumph – the liberation of Europe during the final battles of World War II.

“The Guns at Last Light” is the final volume of Atkinson’s Liberation Trilogy. In the first two books, he takes the reader into North Africa and the pivotal invasion of Italy. In this final installment, the Allies are poised to invade Europe on D-Day and fight their way to Berlin.bookcover1

Atkinson graduated from East Carolina University in 1974; eight years later, as a reporter for the Kansas City Times, he won a Pulitzer Prize for reporting on the horrific casualties suffered in Vietnam by the West Point Class of 1966. He’s been writing about soldiers and wars ever since.

He won a second Pulitzer in 2003 for “An Army at War,” the first book in the Liberation Trilogy. Interviewed for a 2009 story in ECU’s East magazine (http://www.ecu.edu/east), Atkinson said he heard that news while pushing toward Baghdad as an embedded reporter with the 101st Airborne Division.

Released May 14 by Henry Holt & Co., “Last Light” is not a book for the timid. One reviewer described it as “the literary equivalent of the first 15 minutes of ‘Saving Private Ryan.’”

Atkinson majored in English at ECU and has said he never intended to become a writer. ‘Like many people, I blundered into my life’s work,” he said in the East story. “So I’m not sure there were many influences from college in play. I didn’t work for the school newspaper. I studied literature so I came to appreciate fine writing but can’t say I practiced it much at that time.”

Atkinson was a student in ECU’s budding Honors Program, where he fell under the influence of professor David Sanders, who led the program.

“He and others led me to believe that I had a talent for writing, and that perhaps I might even make a living at it,” Atkinson said during a recollection for an Honors College anniversary event.

“Forty years later I remain deeply imprinted by the Program and the Caring teachers who helped me to find my pole star.”

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Hurricane workshop, town meeting set for May

A NASA image shows Hurricane Sandy approaching the east coast.

A NASA image shows Hurricane Sandy approaching the east coast.

Two events are scheduled at East Carolina University this month in preparation for the annual hurricane season.

Hurricane Workshop, May 22

The Fourth Annual North Carolina Emergency Management/East Carolina University Hurricane Workshop set for May 22 highlighted lessons learned from megastorm Hurricane Sandy.

Linda Sturgis

Linda Sturgis

Commander Linda Sturgis, chief of emergency prevention, Coast Guard Sector, New York, keynoted the event and discussed the impacts of Hurricane Sandy.

Mike Sprayberry, the new director of the North Carolina Division of Emergency Management, led the event. Panel discussions addressed emergency communication, modeling and planning for storm surge, and the implications of Hurricane Sandy for planning in North Carolina. Speakers included Gary Szatkowski of the National Weather Service, John Dorman, information technology manager for N.C. CrimeControl and Public Safety, and Darlene Johnson, deputy operations chief/EOC manager for N.C. Emergency Management and additional representatives from local, state, and national agencies, and academia.

The workshop was hosted by N.C. Division of Emergency Management and ECU’s Center for Natural Hazards Research, Institute for Coastal Science and Policy, and Department of English. The event was co-sponsored by North Carolina Sea Grant.

For more information, contact Donna Kain at 252-328-6023, kaind@ecu.edu, or Michelle Covi at 252-737-1772, covim@ecu.edu.

Town Hall Meeting, May 28

The focus of a May 28 town hall meeting will be preparations for the upcoming severe weather season. The event is targeted to loacl residents. It is free and open to the public.

The meeting will begin at 9 a.m. at the Willis Building on 300 East First Street, with topics including hurricane climatology and impacts, forecasts for the 2013 hurricane season, severe weather preparedness at ECU and Pitt County Emergency Management operations.

Tom Pohlman of ECU’s Environmental Health and Safety office will lead the meeting. Also speaking at the event will be John Cole, a warning coordination meteorologist, and Hal Austin, a forecaster, from the Weather Service in Newport. Noel Lee, who is director of Pitt County Emergency Management, will present as well.

Individuals with disabilities requesting accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act should contact the Department for Disability Support Services at (252) 328-6799 (V) or (252) 328-0899 (TTY).

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Last class of health information management students graduate

East Carolina University graduated its final class of Health Information Management students  May 10, completing a long history of educating close to 600 health information management professionals.

The Medical Records Administration department was created in 1970, with Peggy Wood as the first chairperson.  She remained in that position for 26 years. In 1993, the department was renamed Health Information Management.  It was later expanded to include the BS in Health Services Management, and renamed the Department of Health Services and Information Management in 2002.

Since its beginnings, more than 90 percent of the health information management professionals in eastern NC received a degree from ECU.

The decision to discontinue the bachelor’s degree is due to the change in health information technology. In the future, more emphasis will be placed on the sharing of medical information, and computer specialists trained at the graduate level in health informatics will be needed.  Accordingly, as one chapter closes, another will open through the MS in Health Informatics and Information Management.  The first class of students will enter in fall 2013.

 From left, Faisal Olayan Alharbi, Ethel Lee Wright, Deniece N. Russell, Callie R. Woodard, Susan Michelle Haddock and Angela Marie Falsetti are honored as the last group of ECU graduates in the health information management bachelor's program.  Not pictured are distance education students  Dawn Camden, Tina Charlton, and Lacey Williams.


From left, Faisal Olayan Alharbi, Ethel Lee Wright, Deniece N. Russell, Callie R. Woodard, Susan Michelle Haddock and Angela Marie Falsetti are honored as the last group of ECU graduates in the health information management bachelor’s program. Not pictured are distance education students Dawn Camden, Tina Charlton and Lacey Williams.

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St. Amant awarded for teaching, innovation

The Society for Technical Communication (STC), the largest professional society in the field of technical communication, has chosen Kirk St.Amant as a recipient of the Society’s 2013 Jay R. Gould Award for Excellence in Teaching.

The award is given in recognition of excellence in teaching and in mentorship, innovation and creativity in teaching, and contributions that change how technical communication is taught.

In selecting St. Amant for this distinction, the award committee noted his commitment to teaching and mentoring and the contributions he has made to pedagogical innovation in the field – particularly in relation to online education and the globalization/internationalization of teaching practices in the field.

St. Amant was presented with the award at the STC’s 2013 annual conference, which was held on May 5-8 in Atlanta, Ga.

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Parenting classes offered

The ECU Department of Child Development and Family Relations is offering positive parenting classes aimed at promoting positive relationships between parents and children.

The program should help parents develop effective management strategies for dealing with a variety of childhood behavior problems and common developmental issues.

Classes will be held from noon to 1 p.m. on Wednesdays for five weeks this summer. Classes run from May 29 through June 26 in the Rivers Building. Participants must join the program at the first session to gain maximum benefit.

ECU faculty Eboni Baugh, Kerry Littlewood, Sharon Ballard, Lisa Tyndall and Brittney Temple will conduct the classes at no charge. Participants may make a monetary contribution to the department or to the School of Social Work.

Space is limited and reservation is recommended. Call 252-328-4206 or e-mail tyndalll@ecu.edu to register.

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