ECU honors Martin Luther King Jr. through service, speaker

During a previous year's MLK Jr. Day of Service event, ECU College of Business graduate assistants Heather Clayton and Devang Patel worked together to paint a wall in the Salvation Army's Family Store. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

During a previous year’s MLK Jr. Day of Service event, ECU College of Business graduate assistants Heather Clayton and Devang Patel worked together to paint a wall in the Salvation Army’s Family Store. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

East Carolina University students were encouraged to use their day off from classes on Monday, Jan. 20 to participate in a day of service honoring Martin Luther King Jr.

The day’s activities were organized by the Volunteer and Service-Learning Center and other campus groups, which scheduled 10 sites where students could volunteer including the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina, Third Street Community Center, Jarvis Boys and Girls Club, My Sister’s Closet, all in Greenville and A Time for Science in Grifton.

The day began at 8:30 a.m. in Hendrix Theatre, where volunteers met for a light breakfast, watched a video clip of King’s “I have a dream” speech, heard from community leaders about the importance of service and community engagement and participated in team-building exercises.

The students then traveled to their assigned locations.

Also involved in The MLK Day of Service are the Ledonia Wright Cultural Center, Alpha Phi Alpha, the Black Student Union and the Council on Family Relations.

Several other commemorative events were planned for campus, including:

  • 17th Annual Community Unity Breakfast, Monday, 7:30 – 9 a.m., the Murphy Center at ECU. This was a free event, hosted by the Greenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce and the Office of the Mayor, City of Greenville.  Dr. Virginia Hardy, ECU vice chancellor for student affairs, was the featured speaker. The ECU Gospel Choir performed.
  • Humanitarian, actor, author, health and wellness ambassador/educator and philanthropist, Hill Harper spoke on “Visualizing the Dream” to the ECU community, Tuesday, 7 p.m., Wright Auditorium. Free admission, but tickets are required. For ticket information, call 252-328-2466.
  • Dr. Allen Mask will be the keynote speaker at the 30th annual Andrew A. Best M.D. Senior Recognition Banquet on Saturday, Jan. 25, for graduating minority medical students at ECU. Mask is the founder and director of Raleigh Urgent Care and the WRAL-TV health team physician. The event begins at 7 p.m. at the East Carolina Heart Institute at East Carolina University at 115 Heart Drive. The event was sponsored by the ECU Student National Medical Association. Best was Greenville’s first black physician. He died in 2005. Information is available by calling 252-744-2278 or e-mailing






Pirates jump into new year with Polar Bear Plunge, Highlight the Night dance


East Carolina University’s Division of Student Affairs is hosting two events to help students kick off the spring semester.

The 18th annual Polar Bear Plunge is set for 7 p.m. Jan. 23 at the Student Recreation Center outdoor pool.  Registration begins at 6:30 p.m. with an ECU One Card required. All ECU students, faculty and staff are invited to jump into the icy waters of the outdoor pool. ECU Women’s Basketball Coach Heather Macy will kick-start the event as the ceremonial first jumper.

The first 1,100 jumpers will receive a free event T-shirt. Jumpers should bring a towel and fill out a waiver prior to jumping. The waiver can be completed on-site or downloaded at

The Polar Bear Plunge started at ECU in 1997 as part of the grand opening of the Student Recreation Center and 35 participants took the plunge. The event has grown annually, breaking records each year since 2010. Last year, 1,094 jumpers participated.

During the event, participants may enjoy refreshments and attend the Get-A-Clue Involvement Fair, which provides information on programs and activities with organizations on campus. Get-A-Clue begins at 6:30 p.m. and is also held at the Student Recreation Center. Campus Recreation & Wellness, Campus Living & Dining, Coca-Cola, and Student Involvement and Leadership sponsor the Polar Bear Plunge and Get-A-Clue.

On Jan. 24 from 10 p.m. – 2 a.m. is the second annual Highlight the Night dance at ECU’s Student Recreation Center.  The dance will feature DJ K-Ro and DJ Thomas, both ECU students.  The Student Activities Board welcomed more than 1,200 students to the inaugural event last year.

Tickets to the dance are free to ECU students with their One Card. Guests accompanied by an ECU student can attend for $15.



ECU students speak to UNC Board of Governors

ECU junior Kaitlyn  Dutton, left and SGA President Tim Schwan, right, pose with UNC Board of Governors member Fred Eschelman. (Contributed photo)

ECU junior Kaitlyn Dutton, left, and SGA President Tim Schwan, right, pose with UNC Board of Governors member Fred Eschelman, center. (Contributed photo)

By Chris Stansbury
For ECU News Services

East Carolina University is another step closer to approval of the new student centers and parking deck project.  The UNC Board of Governors Budget and Finance committee met Jan. 9 in the Spangler Building in Chapel Hill to discuss the financial plan for the project.

The project calls for two new student centers – one to be built on the main campus and another on the health sciences campus. In addition, a parking deck is planned to connect with the main campus student center.

SGA President Tim Schwan and ECU junior Kaitlyn Dutton were joined by Brig. Gen. James Gorham to show their support for the project as well as answer questions from board members.

Gorham, an ECU alumnus who also has a daughter attending ECU, told board members that this project is a lot like being a parent.

“When you first get married you oftentimes build a starter home to start your family,” said Gorham, vice president of the ECU Parents Council.  “But as your family grows, you have to provide a quality dwelling for your expanding family to grow and have a better quality of life. ECU’s campus has grown considerably in the last 40 years and the students need a quality place for them to grow.”

Schwan and Dutton told the board members about the difficulty students face on ECU’s campus with Mendenhall Student Center, the current student union built in the 1970s.

“To say there is a lack of space for students in Mendenhall is an understatement,” Schwan said. “We need a place that serves as a living room, a place to meet and collaborate. We don’t have that now.”

Dutton added that a lack of a new student center is actually costing students more money.

“Some students face a yearlong wait to secure space in Mendenhall and for other major student events that are annual traditions, we have to host them off campus,” said Dutton. “That requires extra funds for reservations, transportation and off-site logistics and the cost is falling on the students to pay for it.”

Dr. Virginia Hardy, vice chancellor for Student Affairs, who attended the board session along with members of the ECU Board of Trustees, said this was a great experience for the students.

“Kaitlyn and Tim did a wonderful job of representing the East Carolina student body of today and tomorrow,” said Hardy. “They spoke from their heart trying to convince the Board of Governors to invest in ECU’s future and the success of our future students.”

The next step in the process for ECU’s student centers and parking deck project is the vote by the UNC Board of Governors on Feb. 20 in Chapel Hill.

For more information, contact Dr. Virginia Hardy at 252-328-6541.


ECU professor’s book on state politics draws interest

Dr. Tom Eamon

Dr. Tom Eamon

A new book on North Carolina politics by East Carolina University political science professor Dr. Thomas Eamon has triggered significant media interest.

Eamon will speak this week on WUNC’s “The State of Things.” He will also join George Olson for segments to run during Public Radio East’s “Morning Edition,” focused on his book about the state’s politics from 1940 to present.

“The Making of a Southern Democracy: North Carolina Politics from Kerr Scott to Pat McCrory,” which outlines state political activities from 1940 to the present, was highlighted in articles that appeared in the News and Observer article, the Charlotte Observer and the Durham Herald Sun.  Read the N&O article here. Read a second N&O article here. Read the Durham Herald Sun article here.

eamonbookEamon was a guest on WPTF in Raleigh, Jan. 6, on the Tom Kearney Show. He will appear on Charlotte’s NPR station WFAE on Jan. 17.

Eamon will be at the Quail Ridge Bookstore in Raleigh Jan. 16 for the official kickoff and book-signing, and at Park Road Books in Charlotte on Jan. 18.

For additional information about the book, visit UNC press.


ECU researcher’s wedding held in SeaWorld’s penguin habitat

ECU's Susanne Grieve and new husband Jeff Rawson celebrated their wedding in SeaWorld's penguin habitat this month. The couple met while completing research in Antartica. Photo by Jason Collier/SeaWorld Orlando

ECU’s Susanne Grieve and new husband Jeff Rawson celebrated their wedding in SeaWorld’s penguin habitat this month. The couple met while completing research in Antarctica. Photo by Jason Collier/SeaWorld Orlando

A SeaWorld wedding between East Carolina University’s director of conservation Susanne Grieve and Jeff Rawson, who met during a 2012 trip to Antarctica, is featured on the Orlando Sentinel and the local station, WFTV9.

The two were wed in the 32-degree penguin habitat at SeaWorld in Orlando, attended by 250 penguins inside SeaWorld’s Antarctica exhibit.

Read complete article at

Read coverage in the Orlando Sentinel.