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In Memoriam – Dr. Charles E. Stevens

Dr. Charles E. Stevens of Greenville, who taught piano at East Carolina University for 30 years before accepting emeritus status in 1990, died Sept. 4. He was 89. Stevens, who received his master’s degree in music at ECU in 1954 and his doctorate in music from UNC Chapel Hill in 1957, was dean of the School of Music for the last six years of his tenure.



He recently was honored for more than 50 years of service to the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia national music fraternity.

Survivors include daughters Margaret Mauney of Winston-Salem, a 1976 ECU graduate, and Mary Charles Jenkins, a 1979 graduate, and son-in-law Jack Jenkins, a 1978 graduate, both of Morehead City.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Charles E. and Margaret S. Stevens Endowment, ECU Foundation, 2200 S. Charles Blvd., Greenville, NC 27858.

— Steve Tuttle


Athletics director returns from leadership conference

Athletics Director Jeff Compher aboard a Coast Guard vessel off the coast of Florida

Athletics Director Jeff Compher aboard a Coast Guard vessel off the coast of Florida

After spending a week observing America’s top military leaders, East Carolina University Athletics Director Jeff Compher said he is determined to put a greater emphasis on student athletes.

“I need to focus on people to make us better – not facilities or equipment,” Compher said after returning from the Senior Leader Engagement Program (SLEP) sponsored by U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter.

“They kept focusing on people, not assets,” Compher said about the briefings he received from senior officers at the Pentagon and at four large military bases.

“I learned that the military really believes in the principle of commander’s intent, which is that the person at the top sets the objective but every other decision is delegated down. The whole idea is to emphasize people over things.”

Delegating authority allows lower-ranking soldiers to feel they are responsible for and in control of their duties, Compher said.

Master Sgt. John Perusek salutes the U.S flag during morning reveille at Homestead ARB, Fla., prior to the start of the day's winter training activities.

Master Sgt. John Perusek salutes the U.S flag during morning reveille at Homestead ARB, Fla., prior to the start of the day’s winter training activities.

“I talked to one (enlisted soldier) on a ship, and he was quick to inform me that this was his deck and those were his ammunition racks. That’s what we need to do here in sports – make our athletes believe that they are in control of what happens in a game, not their coaches.”

Established in 1948, SLEP is the oldest outreach program in the U.S. Department of Defense and the only event sponsored by the secretary. About two dozen leaders from the worlds of business and higher education were invited to the event, which was held Aug. 23-30. Senior representatives of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard served as lecturers.

The intent of the program was to familiarize participants with the challenges faced by men and women in uniform, both on and off the battlefield.

Compher received briefings at the Pentagon, and then toured two military bases in Florida. He participated in a demonstration of parachute rigging at Ft. Bragg and observed a Naval Special Warfare demonstration at a Norfolk military base.

At Ft. Bragg, Compher met Army Master Sgt. John Perusek, a 25-year veteran of the Green Berets. “He told me something that stuck with me,” Compher said about Perusek. “He said in the military what we do is to look past our differences to achieve a common goal. That’s a great motto for us to follow in sports because we have student athletes from all backgrounds and our challenge is to lead them toward a common goal.”

Perusek also is a member of the elite Black Daggers U.S. Army parachute demonstration team who will parachute into ECU’s Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium at the Nov. 7 home football game during Military Appreciation Day.

Overall, Compher said he was struck by how much the military has in common with college sports.

“They deal with young people; we do too. They have those people for a limited amount of time; we do too. Like the military, we are dealing with people who have made a commitment to do something at the highest level, and we have to be able to train and lead our student athletes so they can accomplish their goals.”

— Steve Tuttle


Fenich Inducted into DMAI’s Inaugural Hall of Fame

Dr. George Fenich (center) receives the Hall of Fame Award from Michael Gehrisch, President and CEO of DMAI (right), and Jason Fulvi, VP of Sales for the Pittsburgh Convention and Visitors Bureau (left). (Contributed photo)

Dr. George Fenich (center) receives the Hall of Fame Award from Michael Gehrisch, President and CEO of DMAI (right), and Jason Fulvi, VP of Sales for the Pittsburgh Convention and Visitors Bureau (left). (Contributed photo)

East Carolina University professor Dr. George Fenich was inducted into the first Hall of Fame class by Destination Marketing Association International, the world’s largest resource for convention and visitors bureaus.

Fenich is a professor in ECU’s School of Hospitality Leadership, which is housed in the College of Business.

The Hall of Fame Award recognizes individuals who have changed the future of destination marketing for the better, made significant contributions to the advancement of the industry and have shaped travel marketing. It is the highest honor that DMAI can bestow.

“DMAI as an organization recognized the importance of leadership in our industry to sustain our 100 year history and grow destination marketing into the multibillion dollar industry that it is today,” Michael Gehrisch, president and CEO of DMAI, said. “Our goal is to shine a spotlight on these pioneers, champions and influencers, and allow our members around the globe an opportunity to get to know them and their works.”

Fenich has helped shape the destination marketing industry for almost three decades and has dedicated his academic career to the advancement of research, scholarship and teaching. He was an industry practitioner before moving into academe.

Today, in addition to his role as a leading academic in the meetings and conventions field, Fenich provides cutting-edge research and analysis to destination marketing organizations across the country through his consulting firm, Fenich & Associates. He has published three industry textbooks, more than 60 peer-reviewed journal articles, and has made more than 150 presentations in the U.S. and abroad to benefit the industry. He has served as a member of DMAI for more than 20 years, including work on the organization’s Student Educator Advisory Council and chairing the DMAI Case Study Competition. He has delivered education programs around the world, from China and Japan to Turkey, France, Mauritius, and South Africa.


ECU student quoted in The Wildlife Society

Albecker (Photo from Coastal Resources Management PhD program)

Molly Albecker Photo from Coastal Resources Management PhD program)

ECU doctoral student Molly Albecker was quoted in an Aug. 28 article posted by The Wildlife Society about her research presented at the Ecological Society of America’s annual conference in Baltimore. Albecker is a student in ECU coastal resources management program.

Her research focused on adaptations in frogs to salt and brackish water.
View the article here.


Ballard announces phased retirement program availability

Chancellor Ballard has announced the availability of the Phased Retirement Program to eligible faculty members. Eligible members receive an invitation to participate through campus mail. Individuals who did not receive a letter but believe they are eligible should contact their vice chancellor.

Additional details about the Phased Retirement Program are available at http://www.ecu.edu/cs-acad/provostvc/formsandinfo.cfm.

Questions about the program should be directed to Linda Ingalls at 252-943-8584 or ingallsl@ecu.edu (Office of the Provost) or Lisa Sutton at 744-1910 or suttonli@ecu.edu (Division of Health Sciences).


ECU student awarded BCIA certification scholarship

An East Carolina University student was one of six recipients nationwide to receive a prestigious scholarship.

Christina Brown-Bochicchio

Christina Brown-Bochicchio

Doctoral student Christina Brown-Bochicchio received the 2015 Francine Butler Scholarship from the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance. The scholarship covers fees for BCIA certification in biofeedback and honors the contributions of Dr. Francine Butler, former executive director of BCIA.

Brown-Bochicchio of Calif. is pursuing a degree in rehabilitation counseling and administration in the College of Allied Health.

She works as a clinical coordinator in the Center for Applied Psychophysiology in the College of Health and Human Performance.


Sharing a special moment from the World Special Olympics


Donna Mooneyham (left) with Abigail Reznek, a swimmer from Maryland who competed on the U.S. aquatics team that Mooneyham coached at the World Special Olympics in Los Angeles. (Contributed photos)


Donna Mooneyham, an adjunct faculty member at East Carolina University’s College of Health and Human Performance, said she experienced many heartwarming moments as a coach of the U.S. aquatics team at the World Special Olympics. Held in Los Angeles July 25 through Aug. 2, the games attracted 6,500 athletes representing 165 countries.

But the one experience she will always treasure, she said, happened after she reached out to another East Carolina University graduate for help motivating an athlete on her team.

“I had an athlete from Kentucky and (at first) he was grumpy and lowly motivated. He wasn’t really gung ho for the competition. As I tried to connect with this individual, I found out he was a big NASCAR fan, and so am I. So we started talking about racing.”

Mooneyham reached out to one of her former ECU students, Greg Morin, who is a pit crew coach at Hendrick Motor Sports in Charlotte. Morin sent the athlete several items donated by NASCAR drivers.

After that, “he started getting very excited about swimming, he smiled more and he seemed to really take off with this encouragement. (At the next competition) he had his personal best time in swimming.”

On the last day of competition, Mooneyham said Morin called to let her know that he had sent something special to the athlete – a video of NASCAR great Jeff Gordon congratulating him for achieving his personal best time in the pool.

“That was such an inspiration that he went out and medaled,” Mooneyham said.

This was Mooneyham’s second time volunteering as a coach at the World Special Olympics. She also was an aquatics coach at the 2011 games held in Greece.

“This time it seemed more special because we were competing here in the U.S., which meant the families of a lot of the athletes could attend. And it was broadcast on ESPN, so there was so much more public awareness about the event. I think it was just really something special that (the parents) could have that experience” of watching their children compete against athletes from around the world, Mooneyham said.

She said a final tally showed that members of the U.S. Aquatics team won 86 medals.

– Steve Tuttle




ECU graduate stars in opera version of “Cold Mountain”

Deborah Nansteel as Lucinda and Nathan Gunn as Inman in the world premiere of Cold Mountain at the Santa Fe Opera.

Deborah Nansteel as Lucinda and Nathan Gunn as Inman in the world premiere of ‘Cold Mountain ‘ at the Santa Fe Opera.

Mezzo-soprano Deborah Nansteel, who earned a degree in music from East Carolina University in 2007, premiered the role of Lucinda in the Santa Fe Opera Festival’s world premiere production of “Cold Mountain” on Aug. 1.

Born in Okinawa, Japan, and raised in Havelock, North Carolina, Nansteel has performed as part of the American Opera Initiative; with the Seattle, Dayton and Merola opera companies; and with the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi in Milan and the Seattle Symphony. She completed her second season at Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program in May.

In its review of the premiere, “Opera Today” wrote that Nansteel “sang with formidable vocal power while expressing the desperation of a runaway slave.”

Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Jennifer Higdon based the opera on Charles Frazier’s 1997 novel. Like the book, the opera tells the story of Confederate soldier W.P. Inman and his struggle to return to his North Carolina home and his wife during the Civil War. Isabel Leonard and Nathan Gunn sing the starring roles.

Additional performances of the opera are scheduled on Aug. 14, 17, 22 and 24. The Dutch recording label PentaTone will release a recording of the premiere.

The opera will be reprised at Opera Philadelphia in February 2016. The North Carolina Opera, a co-commissioner of the opera along with Santa Fe Opera, Opera Philadelphia, and Minnesota Opera, plans to present “Cold Mountain” as part of its 2017-2018 season.

“This piece has deeply ingrained historical and cultural connections to North Carolina that will invigorate our core audience, while inspiring our state-wide community,” said Timothy Myers, artistic director and principal conductor at North Carolina Opera.

– Steve Tuttle


Patriarca named among most influential deans

Former ECU College of Education Dean Dr. Linda A. Patriarca was named one of the 30 most influential deans of education in the United States by Mometrix Test Preparation.



According to the Mometrix web site (http://www.mometrix.com/blog/the-30-most-influential-deans-of-education-in-the-united-states/) the list was developed as a way to honor individuals dedicated to educating the future workforce.

The list was compiled through analysis of state and national awards and honors, education program rankings, degree program rankings and level of pay received by graduates of the teaching programs.
Patriarca stepped down from the dean position this summer. Dr. B. Grant Hayes assumed the role of dean on July 31.