Women of Distinction

Women of Distinction

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Women of Distinction

The Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Women is preparing for the 2015 ECU Women of Distinction Awards, to be held from 4-6 p.m. April 13, 2015. The awards are given every 2 years and recognize outstanding contributions by 10 women within the ECU and surrounding eastern North Carolina communities.

Nominees for the awards may include current and past ECU faculty, staff, and administrators. Nominations may also be made for outstanding ECU alumnae who serve as community leaders. These women are selected because they demonstrate outstanding leadership through the type and quality of work inside and outside the University; the breadth and diversity of that work; the level of leadership in all aspects of life; mentoring; and her commitment to diversity, empowerment, equality, equity, and/or social justice. Areas in which the nominees should demonstrate outstanding contributions may include, but are not limited to, academics/education; professions; research; health care/services; management/administration; politics; social services; volunteer, charity, community outreach organizations; and athletics.

Click here to view the video recording completed by the ECU Multimedia and Technology Services of the Women of Distinction event.


Holly Garriott, Instructor in the School of Art and Design, is Executive Director of the Pitt County Arts Council at Emerge. She promotes youth arts initiatives and has transformed student and faculty art displays into a grant-funded regional arts hub. Through her work, more people are finding ways to contribute their talents to the community.

Dr. Mary S. Jackson, Professor of Social Work, encourages and empowers students not only to excel academically, but to be strong communicators as well. She has served in various leadership roles within the College of Human Ecology, including professor of criminal justice and past interim director of the School of Social Work. She was the first African American female to receive tenure in the criminal justice department, and is currently writing a book on substance abuse in America.

Dr. Kathryn M. Kolasa, Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and the Department of Pediatrics at the Brody School of Medicine, is a leader in nutrition and promotes healthy lifestyles on a global scale. In addition to research, mentorship, and past service on boards including the state's Childhood Obesity Study Committee, she has contributed her knowledge to the community through a weekly column in the Daily Reflector for more than 25 years.

Dr. Kim Larson, Associate Professor of Nursing, takes her expertise beyond campus to help others. She has been recognized for her work with Latino communities in eastern North Carolina, and helped a class of nursing students raise money to provide a well for a small Guatemalan village. Her unique integration of teaching, research, and service has impacted students, faculty, and patients and has led to her substantial contributions to nursing education.

Julie Poorman, Director of the Office of Student Financial Aid, Financial Services Call Center and the Office of Student Employment, she is nationally known for training financial aid professionals. She places student experience as her highest priority, and lends her expertise to classes, Faculty Senate, Graduate Faculty Assembly, and Board of Trustees meetings as called upon.

Dr. Cindy Putnam-Evans, Associate Dean for Research in the Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, was one of the first female full professors in an ECU science department (biology). She is both a scientist and administrator, placing emphasis on student mentorship and entrepreneurship. She has also participated in the BRIDGES academic leadership program for women at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Marie Theresa (Terry) Shank, ECU alumna, is a community leader, volunteer, and role model. She has served on the Board of Education and as a Pitt County commissioner. She founded the Women's Network of Pitt County, co-founded the North Carolina Center for Women and Public Service, and is a leader and mentor for numerous organizations. Her professional activities through NC Cooperative Education and Pitt Community College have encouraged others to become involved in the community.

Dr. Kathryn Verbanac, Professor of Surgery at the Brody School of Medicine, is a dedicated researcher, mentor, and advocate for faculty. She has received numerous grants to study cancer and other women's health topics. She has mentored doctoral and master's students as well as undergraduate and high-school students. She serves on a variety of ECU committees, was accepted to the ECU Chancellor's Leadership Academy, and is a known advocate for gender equity and policies that foster opportunity for all.

Dr. Beth Wall-Bassett, Assistant Professor of Nutrition Science, led a community garden project in Greenville that created a food source for many residents. She supports her student's research and service-learning efforts and conducts international research, including working in Dominica to assess the nutritional habits and intake of school-age children.



Margie Gallagher

Jamie Kruse

Elizabeth Layman 

Deirdre Mageean

Linda Mooney

Diane Rodriguez-Luterbach

Kathleen Row

Beth Velde

Marianna Walker 



Karen Vail-Smith

Phyllis Horns

Bonnie Mani

Martha Raile Alligood

Patricia Anderson

Helen Diane Meelheim

Candace Pearce

Delores Lola Thompson 



Margaret Bauer

Sheila Gant Bunch

Anne Dickerson

Pat Dunn

Deedee Glascoff

Virginia Hardy

Susan McCammon

Vivian Mott

Marilyn Sheerer

Delores Lola Thompson 


Dr. Linda Allred
Profiles in Leadership Award 

The first Dr. Linda Allred Profiles in Leadership Award was presented in 2007 to Dr. Sharon Knight, who was chosen from among the 10 finalists for the Women of Distinction Award. This protocol was followed in 2009 when the Allred Award was presented to Dr. Marie Farr and 2011 when the award was presented to Diane Campbell. Dr. Linda J. Allred was an associate professor in ECU¹s Psychology Department who died in December of 2005. She directed the Women¹s Studies Program from 1994-95 and was a strong advocate for women's rights and for Americans with disabilities. She was in a wheelchair for the last several years of her life due to a debilitating condition, but she remained an enthusiastic mentor to many faculty and students. Because her death had been so recent when the leadership award was being established, Women's Studies and CCSW--who co-sponsored the first award--voted to honor Linda by naming it for her.  


Dr. Catherine Rigsby, professor of sedimentology, has made an impact not only at ECU but also across the region, state, and world. A professor, researcher, mentor, and scientist, she has received extensive federal funding for research, and is a visiting researcher in the Brazilian National Science Foundation's Science Without Borders program. With a worldly view of teaching, she is a scholar and educator who instills in her students the importance of a strong liberal arts foundation, no matter what a student's area of study. She is active on numerous committees and boards, and currently serves as chair of the UNC Faculty Assembly. In that position, she is an advocate for faculty across the UNC system, serving as their voice relating to policies and educational outcomes. At ECU, Dr. Rigsby is active on the Faculty Governance Committee, Agenda Committee, Committee on Committees, and the Faculty Senate. She has been a Fulbright Scholar to Brazil, has a large volume of scholarlypeer-reviewed publications, and teaches geology courses and labs. 


2011: Diane Campbell


2009: Marie Farr


2007: Sharon Knight

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