ECU hosts Peace.Love.Pirates.Cure event Oct. 7

East Carolina University’s Campus Recreation & Wellness will host the eighth annual Peace.Love.Pirates.Cure Cancer Awareness Fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 7 in the Student Recreation Center. The event is free and open to ECU students, faculty and staff.

This annual Wellness Passport event promotes cancer awareness and knowledge by providing information tailored to help participants live healthy, cancer-free lives. Included are educational tables and interactive activities designed to help participants avoid skin, breast, cervical, testicular, lung and prostate cancers.

“Peace.Love.Pirates.Cure has reached over 3,500 people since it was introduced in 2007 and we expect another large turnout this year,” said Georgia Childs, associate director for Wellness Programs. “Cancer has impacted every person on our campus in one way or another. It could be the loss of a loved one or someone personally battling cancer, this event brings people together for education, friendship and support.”

Healthy snacks will be available throughout the event, and participants may win T-shirts and other giveaways.

Peace.Love.Pirates.Cure is sponsored by Campus Recreation & Wellness, Student Health Services, Student Government Association, the ECU Department of Health Education and Promotion, ECU Physicians, Leo Jenkins Cancer Center, the American Cancer Society, Colleges Against Cancer, Vidant Health and the Healthy PIRATES student organization.

For more information, contact Georgia Childs at 252-328-5172 or visit


ECU Pirates urged to step outside in nationwide challenge

East Carolina University is asking all Pirates to step outside and get active through the 2015 Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge competition under way through Oct. 17. The university is competing against 58 other institutions representing 30 states.

Grants up to $1,500 will be applied toward outdoor activities on campus, and individual participant prizes are available. Grants are tied to the number of active participants who log their activities and identify ECU as their institution. For 500 participants, ECU will receive $500. If 1,000 Pirates join in, the grant increases to $1,000. For 1,500 active participants, the grant goes up to $1,500.

Participants may sign up and log in at (select East Carolina University).

Points may be earned for a wide variety of outdoor activities including walking, Frisbee golf, fishing and biking, enjoying a hammock, fishing, gardening, hunting, hiking, backpacking, running or jogging, water activities, outdoor yoga, horseshoes, bird watching and stargazing.

Organized team sports like basketball, soccer and football don’t count in the challenge. Activities must be for a minimum of 30 minutes and take place between Sept. 6 and Oct. 17.

For additional information, contact Mark Parker, assistant director for Intramural Sports and Youth & Family at (252) 328-1575 or


Higgs to lead new transportation plan for Atlanta

Clyde Higgs ‘99 of Charlotte, executive vice president of operations and business development for the N.C. Research Campus (NCRR) in Kannapolis, is resigning to be chief operating officer of a group implementing a new transportation plan for Atlanta.

Clyde Higgs

Clyde Higgs

Higgs has led economic development recruitment at NCRR for the past nine years.

In his new job Higgs will be vice president and chief operating officer of Atlanta Beltline, the entity overseeing redevelopment of 22 miles of abandoned railroad tracks running through the center of Atlanta. The old rail line will be transformed into 33 miles of trails, 1,300 acres of parks and 5,600 housing units. Its estimated completion date is 2030.

NCRR is a public-private venture aimed at redeveloping industrial property in Kannapolis, which once was the world’s largest producer of textiles. The state gives NCRR about $30 million a year to support its research programs. The funding is directed through the UNC system. Several UNC system campuses have a presence there.

Higgs is credited with recruiting 20 partners in NCRR, including major universities and international food companies such as General Mills. The center now employs about 1,000 people.

Before joining NCRR, Higgs was the executive director of the technology incubator program at the University of North Texas-Health Science Center. Before working in Texas, he was director of the Office of Technology Transfer & Commercialization at N.C. A&T State University.

Early in his career, Higgs was executive assistant to the president of the N.C. Community College System

Higgs is a graduate of the University of South Alabama who earned a graduate degree in public administration from East Carolina University in 1999.

Higgs recently was elected vice chair of the N.C. State Board of Community Colleges. He chairs the search committee seeking a new president of the state community college system.

— Steve Tuttle


In Memoriam – Clyde Thomas ‘Tom the Jazzman’ Mallison

'Tom the Jazzman' Mallison (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

‘Tom the Jazzman’ Mallison
(Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Clyde Thomas “Tom the Jazzman” Mallison of Greenville, a benefactor of Joyner Library who was widely known for his music program on Public Radio East, died Sept. 6. He succumbed from injuries suffered in a car wreck that occurred shortly after he had completed his show on WTEB New Bern. He was 75.

Mallison, who graduated from East Carolina University in 1966 and was SGA president that year, worked at the Du Pont plant in Kinston for 32 years before retiring in 1998. He hosted the Sunday night jazz program on WTEB for more than 30 years. Before he began his show with WTEB, he broadcast with WOOW AM in Greenville and WITN FM.

In 2009, Mallison donated thousands of jazz music albums from his personal collection to Joyner Library. The recordings span a variety of the sub-genres of jazz, including ragtime, Dixieland, bebop, free, and fusion. The collection now resides in the ECU Music Library.

The Alumni Association honored him with its Distinguished Alumni Service Award in 1998 and its Robert Wright Society Leadership Award. He was a former member of the ECU Board of Visitors, a member of the Chancellor’s Society, a member of the College of Education Advancement Council and a former president of the S. Rudolph Alexander Performing Arts Series.

He is survived by two children and his wife, Frances Mallison, an ECU graduate who is a retired librarian with the Pitt County Schools.

Memorial contributions may be made to Public Radio East, 800 College Court, New Bern, N.C., or First Presbyterian Church Youth Projects Fund, 1400 S. Elm St., Greenville, N.C.


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


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

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


Eastern AHEC breaks ground on new building

An artist’s rendering shows the new building that will house the Eastern Area Health Education Center. (Photo by Steve Tuttle)

An artist’s rendering shows the new building that will house the Eastern Area Health Education Center. (Photo by Steve Tuttle)

The Eastern Area Health Education Center (AHEC) broke ground at 8 a.m. April 30 on a new building in Greenville that will also become the new home of East Carolina University’s Office of Clinical Skills Assessment and Education.

The 36,400-square-foot facility will feature the latest technology to improve the learning environment for the Office of Clinical Skills and the many other educational programs that Eastern AHEC operates, according to Executive Director Dr. Lorrie Basnight.

Clinical Skills now operates out of a mobile unit on the Health Sciences Campus. Clinical Skills uses standardized patients and physical training assistants to assist in the training of health sciences students. Health sciences students learn the physical exam, communication skills and interpersonal skills at Clinical Skills.

Clinical Skills will occupy the second floor of the three-story building, amounting to 10,700 square feet of space, officials said. At its March 24 meeting, the ECU Board of Trustees agreed to lease the space for $203,300 annually for a five-year term with options to renew the lease.

The new building at the corner of Arlington Boulevard and West Fifth Street will replace space that Eastern AHEC now leases on Venture Tower Drive.

“Having both AHEC and Clinical Skills in the same building will provide an opportunity for new types of learning,” Basnight said.

“This will enhance the ability of Eastern AHEC to continue to improve the health and workforce needs in our region,” said Dr. Sylvia Brown, dean of the ECU College of Nursing.

Brown said ECU also would use the new facility for several health-related conferences.

Basnight said a big plus of the new facility will be its accessibility.

“We have people from all over the region who come here for our conferences or for training, and it’s often difficult for them to navigate through the medical campus area and find a place to park. Now it will be so much easier to find us, get parked and get to your meeting quickly,” she said.

Eastern AHEC provides grants to support programs at clinical sites used by ECU’s medical, nursing, dental and allied health students. One such site is the Lucille W. Gorham Intergenerational Community Center.

In 2014, Eastern AHEC and two other regional centers established subsidized housing sites for ECU dental students working in community service learning centers across the state.

Eastern AHEC, which serves 23 counties in eastern North Carolina, is one of nine regional centers that focus on the health care needs of the state’s underserved populations. Its mission is to provide educational programs and services that bridge academic institutions and communities to improve public health.
Basnight said the new facility, including land and furnishings, is expected to cost around $11 million. She said the center has been putting aside savings from its ongoing operations for the past several years to pay for the new facility.

The project is scheduled for completion in 2016. C.A. Lewis is the general contractor.

– Steve Tuttle


Reade Street Market to close for renovation

The Reade Street Market in the West End Dining Hall will close at the end of spring semester to undergo a $269,000 renovation. The project, funded by dining receipts, should be completed by next Aug. 1, according to project manager Michael Talton.

The project includes renovating the existing convenience store space in the market and remodeling of the attached Subway sandwich shop. A semi-private dining area and meeting room also will be added.

— Steve Tuttle