ECU student is role model in service, scholarship

Jordan Widgeon

Jordan Widgeon

By Kathy Muse
College of Health and Human Performance

When Jordan Widgeon left her home in Indian Trail, N.C. to attend East Carolina University, she wanted to enhance her time management skills and learn to make decisions independently.

Widgeon, exercise physiology major in the College of Health and Human Performance, not only mastered this skill, but also emerged as a leader in service because of it.

“I had to learn how to make the most of my free,” she said.

Widgeon accomplished this by becoming active in campus activities and organizations. She serves as a member of the Kinesiology Major’s Club, Pre-Physical Therapy Club and as a sister of Sigma Alpha Omega Christian Sorority.

“Maintaining a good agenda and writing down all of my assignments and events is essential,” said Widgeon.

In her role as teaching assistant in the student development and learning in higher education class, she became a mentor to students who needed to talk about transitions to college life. The class is designed for freshmen who are intended majors in pre-health professions.

“Since I shared the same major with the majority of these students, it was a joyful experience to give advice about challenges I faced only three years earlier,” said Widgeon.

This semester, Widgeon keeps busy with project MENTOR, a research project designed to help obese adolescents experience exercise success. She works three nights a week with one assigned child on campus.

“I love seeing all the kids improve their physical fitness and lose weight with their healthy lifestyle changes, she said.

Following graduation from ECU in May, Widgeon plans to pursue a doctorate in physical therapy at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee.

ECU academic advisor Jennifer Abbott said Widgeon has been an excellent and well-rounded student. She has “maintained a stellar GPA and been active in service to others,” Abbott said. “She is a role model for all students.”

Widgeon’s advice for student success is to get at least seven hours of sleep, go to class daily, get to know professors and always remember to bring an umbrella. She encourages getting involved, networking and helping others.

“It is well worth the time spent,” she said.


Knight Commission executive director to speak on leadership

Amy Perko, executive director of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, will present “The Role of Leadership in Moving College Athletics Forward,” for the Fourth Annual Sports Business Leadership Series, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. March 26 in the Multipurpose Room at the Murphy Center, East Carolina University.Amy Perko Flyer

Perko is a recognized leader on college sports issues, having served in various leadership positions in sports for more than 20 years. In January 2012, she received the NCAA’s prestigious Silver Anniversary Award, which is given to six former college athletes on the occasion of their 25th anniversary from college participation in recognition of their civic and professional contributions.  She was honored as an ACC Legend in 2005.

Perko serves as the Commission’s spokesperson, and has been quoted and interviewed by leading news media, including: USA Today, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News, and numerous public radio stations.

The lecture is sponsored by the Department of Kinesiology in the College of Health and Human Performance.

The event is free and open to the public; tickets are not required.


In Memoriam – Eva Price

Eva Price is pictured with her husband David and their three children. An ECU instructor in the Kinesiology Department, Price lost her battle with cancer Jan. 1. (Photo by Elaine Hughes, Department of Kinesiology)

East Carolina University physical education pedagogy instructor Eva Price died Jan. 1 at the age of 34, following a battle with a rare form of lymphoma.

A native of Cary, Price began teaching full time in 2005 in ECU’s Department of Kinesiology in the College of Health and Human Performance. She designed and implemented the home school physical education program operated by the department.

“Eva was an exceptional person and mother,” said Dr. Glen Gilbert, dean of the College of Health and Human Performance.  “In her short time with us she made a profound impact on students and colleagues…. If you knew her even briefly you would understand why her loss is felt so deeply by many in the HHP family,” he said.

Dr. Stacey Altman, chair of the Department of Kinesiology, said that Price easily developed productive relationships with others. She was “always willing to take on the duties asked of her and did so pleasantly and with plenty of enthusiasm,” Altman said.

A former student, Hannah Priest, remembered Price for her “way of making others feel calm and comfortable, even in stressful situations.

“Eva is one of the most special human beings I have ever known,” she said. “I was awed by her patience, compassion, and kind disposition.”

Academic advisor Jennifer Abbott agreed, noting Price’s “unique ability to see the best in people.”

“She was patient and incredibly giving of her time, her heart and her wisdom.  I very much enjoyed working with her and felt her a true partner working for students’ success,” Abbott said.

Price is survived by husband David, ECU assistant track and field coach, and three children – Lily, Willow and Rivers.

Colleagues are raising funds to offset medical care expenses and support the children’s college fund. Donations for medical expenses may be made through Jan. 15 at Donations for the college fund may be made at

For additional information, visit or

By Kathy Muse, Health and Human Performance


D.J. Gregory featured speaker for ECU’s Ralph Steele Lecture Series

Author D.J. Gregory presented “Chasing a Dream” at ECU Nov. 15 for the Ralph Steele Visiting Lecture series. (Photo by Chuck Baldwin, Health and Human Performance)

A crowd of 300 welcomed D.J. Gregory, author and lecturer, as the speaker for the 2nd annual Ralph Steele Visiting Lecture Nov. 15 at Mendenhall Student Center, East Carolina University.  Gregory presented the lecture, “Chasing a Dream.”

Gregory spoke about his journey of setting and accomplishing an improbable goal. “He encouraged everyone to have dreams to reach and not to let others hold you back,” said Dr. David Loy, associate professor in the department of Recreation and Leisure Studies.

Gregory was born with cerebral palsy, and doctors told his parents that he would probably use a wheelchair for his entire life.  Gregory defeated the odds and learned to walk.

A longtime golf fan, Gregory made a commitment to walk every hole of every round of every PGA golf tournament during 2007-2008.  Walking 900 miles with a cane, he accomplished this goal.  Since then, he has continued to walk the PGA tour with a different golfer each week.

He created a foundation called Walking with Kids to support a variety of children’s charities. He also authored, “Walking with Friends,” which details his challenges, successes, and friendships developed with professional golfers.

A native of Greensboro, N.C., Gregory earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in sports management from Springfield College.

The event was in honor of Dr. Ralph H. Steele (1930-2009), who taught at ECU from 1960-1990.  Steele is considered the founding father of what became ECU’s Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies.  In 1972, Steele established the baccalaureate degree in Parks, Recreation and Conservation at ECU. He served as a teacher, mentor, visionary and leader to many students, faculty, alumni and friends.


ECU professor named fellow of the North American Society for Sport Management


Dr. Melanie Sartore-Baldwin, assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology at East Carolina University, was named a fellow of the North American Society for Sport Management.

She is one of five scholars who received this honor at the 2012 NASSM conference in Seattle.

Fellow status recognizes NASSM scholars by honoring their achievement in sport-related scholarship disseminated through NASSM.

The designation is one of distinction and encourages high standards of research and other forms of scholarship among NASSM’s members.

“We are proud of Dr. Sartore-Baldwin’s international recognition and her commitment to our students,” said Dr. Glen Gilbert, dean of the College of Health and Human Performance.

Her areas of study are diversity-related issues and social justice within sport.

A native of Macomb, Ill., Sartore-Baldwin began teaching at ECU in 2007.  She earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education/exercise science from Western Illinois University in 2000.  She received a dual master’s degree from Indiana University in 2003 and a doctorate from Texas A&M University in 2007.


ECU graduate takes third silver medal at Paralympic Games

YouTube video from the Paralympic Games in London shows ECU graduate Elexis Gillette in competition. He appears about 13 seconds into the video.


East Carolina University graduate Elexis Gillette won a silver medal Sept. 4 in the men’s long jump at the 2012 Paralympics Games in London.

It was Gillette’s third Paralympic silver medal in the event. He has also competed in the long jump at the Athens and Beijing Paralympic Games.

A world record holder in the long jump, Gillette fell short of his personal best, finishing with a leap of 6.34m just behind the winning jump of 6.46 by Ukraine’s Ruslan Katyshe.

ECU graduate Elexis Gillette won his third silver medal in the Paralympic Games in London. (Photo,

Gillette, who has a visual impairment due to congenital detached retina and glauma, has been an international competitor in paralympic track and field since he was a student at ECU. He trained on campus at Bunting Track and the Student Recreation Center.

He graduated from ECU in 2007 with a bachelor of science in recreation and park management from the Recreation and Leisure Studies Department in the College of Health and Human Performance. In 2012, Gillette earned a master’s in business administration from the University of Phoenix.

Highlights in Gillette’s career, as posted on the U.S. Paralympic web site include the following:

  • 2011 IPC World Championships, silver medal (triple jump), bronze medal (200m)
  • 2011 Desert Challenge Games, gold medal (long jump)
  • 2010 U.S. Paralympic National Championship, gold medal (long jump, triple jump 100m, 200m)
  • 2010 Paralympic World Cup, bronze medal (100m)
  • 2008 U.S. Paralympic National Championship, gold medal (long jump, triple jump)
  • 2007 Parapan American Games, silver (long jump)
  • 2006 IPC World Championship, silver (long jump)
  • 2003 IBSA World Games, fifth place (long jump)
  • 2003 News & Observer Athlete of the Year Award
  • 2002 USABA National Championship, gold medal
  • 2002 USABA Male Athlete of the Year
  • World record holder, long jump
  • American record holder, triple jump

The 2012 Paralympic Games began Aug. 29 and run through Sept. 9 in the same venue as the 2012 Olympic Games, providing high level competition for athletes with disabilities. The U.S. Paralympic Team as of Sept. 4 had won 47 medals at the event.

A one-hour highlight show from the paralympic games will be shown on the NBC Sports Network, at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 5 and 6, and at 7 p.m. Sept. 11 Eastern Time.

For additional information on the U.S. Paralympic team and athletes, visit For more information on Gillette, visit

A news feature on the Team USA page highlights Gillette. Read the feature, Lex Gillette balances athletics with musical career.



ECU campaign offers chance to honor military service, support

Newly purchased pavers are shown during the 2011 dedication of the Memorial Walk and Freedom Wall at East Carolina University. The pavers were installed in the brick walkway after the service. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

A campaign under way at East Carolina University presents an opportunity to commemorate military service with a permanent memorial on campus.

The 2012 Service to Nation Campaign is offering engraved brick pavers priced at $125 each to honor individuals who have provided service in support of national defense. That includes military service as well as participation with organizations designed to support military efforts, such as the Veterans Administration, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Support the Troops, Wounded Warriors and similar programs.

Each 6 x 9 inch commemorative paver will be engraved with the honoree’s name and service details, and installed on the Memorial Walk west of Christenbury Memorial Gymnasium. Pavers purchased before Oct. 19 will be installed prior to a Nov. 9 dedication ceremony in honor of Veterans Day.

Proceeds will be used for Army and Air Force ROTC scholarships at ECU.

The campaign is sponsored by the ECU College of Health and Human Performance and the Office of Military Programs. For additional information, contact Steve Duncan at or Kim Walters at or call (252) 328-9572.


ECU alumni selected for NC Sports Hall of Fame

Two East Carolina University alumni are among eight new members of the NC Sports Hall of Fame. Dr. Jerry McGee and Mr. Henry Trevathan will be inducted May 10 at the North Raleigh Hilton.

Both inductees graduated from ECU with a bachelor’s in health and physical education in the College of Health and Human Performance.

McGee ’65 is the president of Wingate University and a native of Rockingham.  He enjoyed officiating college football games for 36 years, working over 400 games, including three national championship games.

Trevathan ’55 is a retired football coach who led Wilson Fike High School to three consecutive 4-A state football championships.  He also coached on the staff of East Carolina University and NSCU football teams.





ECU professor inducted to N.C. Athletic Trainers’ Association Hall of Fame

ECU professor Katie Walsh, right, demonstrates athletic training techniques for students. (Photo by Chuck Baldwin)

 By Kathy Muse

Katie Walsh, director of athletic training at East Carolina University, was inducted to the North Carolina Athletic Trainers’ Association Hall of Fame.

She is one of three women recognized with hall of fame membership.

Walsh was inducted at the NCATA meeting in Wrightsville Beach March 17.

“Dr. Walsh is a true leader in the athletic training profession in every sense of the word,” said James Scifers, NCATA president.  “She has provided steadfast leadership at the state, regional, and national levels.

“Her involvement with the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education has transformed the accreditation process for educating future athletic training professionals,” Scifers said.

Walsh was one of the first females to work full time in men’s professional athletics. Her contributions to the field include working as an athletic trainer at the Olympic Games, authoring professional textbooks, and serving as an officer in the state and district organizations.

She has authored three NATA position statements on lightning safety, served on the North Carolina High School Safety Task Force and assisted with safety and governmental polices.

“Dr. Walsh has always been an exceptional athletic trainer and this recognition is most appropriate,” said Glen Gilbert, dean of the College of Health and Human Performance where this program is housed.

Walsh has been recognizated nationally with the NATA Service Award in 2006 and the Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer Award in 2010.

NCATA is the professional organization for athletic trainers.  Since 1974, the NCATA has served to support athletic trainers, to promote and advance the profession of athletic training in North Carolina. The NCATA is a member of the Mid-Atlantic Athletic Trainers Association (District 3) and the National Athletic Trainers’ Association.