East Carolina Teachers Training School Board of Trustees

Source: University Archives, CH1000

Staff Person: Suellyn Lathrop

The East Carolina Teachers Training School Board of Trustees was created March 7, 1907 in Section 15 of the “Act to Stimulate High School Instruction in the Public Schools of the State and Teacher Training.” That section created a nine member board with the State Superintendent of Public Instruction as chairman, ex officio. The trustees were selected by the State Board of Education. Two members each were selected from the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th congressional districts and one from the 6th district. The terms were staggered with three having two-year terms, three having four-year terms and three having six year terms. The first board consisted of:

East Carolina Teachers Training School Board of Trustees Oath Book

East Carolina Teachers Training School Board of Trustees Oath Book

    Thomas J. Jarvis, former governor from Greenville
    J.B. Leigh, mayor of Elizabeth City
    Claude W. Wilson, supt. of schools in Scotland Neck
    Yancey T. Ormond, state senator from Kinston
    John C. Parker of Trenton
    John R. Banneman of Burgaw
    Ira T. Turlington of Smithfield
    Robert B. White of Franklinton
    James O. Carr of Wilmington
    J.Y. Joyner supt. of public instruction NC

The trustees’ powers and duties were outlined in Section 16 of the act:

    That said Board of Trustees above provided for, upon their election and qualification, shall be and become a body corporate and politic with all the powers usually conferred upon such bodies and necessary to enable them to acquire and hold property, manage and conduct said school, and do all other things necessary for the carrying out of the provisions and purposes of this act.

As soon as Greenville was chosen as the site for the new school they met on March 11, 1908. The first act was to be sworn into office. At left is a page from the oath book showing the oaths sworn by J.Y. Joyner and Thomas J. Jarvis.

The group elected Thomas J. Jarvis, chair, J.Y. Joyner and Yancey T. Ormand to the Executive Committee. The trustees then set about hiring landscapers and architects. The Executive Committee was authorized to “proceed at once, in and through the architects to procure plans and specifications for buildings and submit to the Board for adoption.” [Board of Trustees, Minute Book Volume 1, p. 4]

The Building Committee was formed in 1921 and five buildings (Ragsdale, Whichard, Graham, Cotten, and Fleming) were built over the next eight years. In 1925 the General Assembly was petitioned to increase the size of the board and to make attendance mandatory in order to oversee this construction boom. Sixteen members were appointed and sworn in at the January 16, 1926 meeting which included Mrs. H.G. Connor, Jr. of Wilson became the first woman to serve as a trustee. The increased membership soon proved to be problematic and in 1927 the General Assembly reduced the board to twelve members with the superintendent of public instruction continuing in his ex-officio role.

The Committee on Salaries and Institutional Planning was also created in 1925. It was given the authority of the entire board in approving changes to the curriculum and setting salaries. Through the years as the school grew, the board oversaw the administration of the school along with the president. Presidents were appointed by and reported to the Board of Trustees.

The board’s authority was altered when, in 1972, ECU became a part of the UNC system under the state board of governors. According to the University of North Carolina Code of Operations:

    Each Board of Trustees shall promote the sound development of its institution within the functions prescribed for it, helping it to serve the people of the State in a way that will complement the activities of the other institutions and aiding it to perform at a high level of excellence in every area of endeavor. Each Board of Trustees shall serve as advisor to the Board of Governors on matters pertaining to its institution and shall also serve as advisor to the Chancellor concerning the management and development of the institution. [Bratton, East Carolina University, p. 452]

The board is still comprised of thirteen members, but trustees are now chosen in the following way:

    8 elected by the board of governors
    4 appointed by the governor
    president of the ECU Student Government Association, ex-officio member

The board of trustees elects from its membership a chairperson, vice chairperson, and secretary. The principal powers of the board of trustees are delegated to it by the board of governors.

The Board of Trustees records include the oath book, meeting minutes, executive committee files, building committee files, correspondence, resolutions, by-laws, biographical file and publications. These are available to researchers in University Archives.

Click on the image itself to see an enlarged version.