Commencement Remarks

Janice Tovey, Chair of the Faculty

May 2009


Good evening Graduates. On behalf of the faculty of East Carolina University, I’m pleased to add my congratulations for your accomplishments. This is an important occasion and one that the faculty is happy to be a part of.

In the Spring and Summer of 1909—100 years ago-- the first faculty of East Carolina Teachers College arrived on campus--ten faculty members who would greet the inaugural class of 174 East Carolina students. The names of several of those faculty members are familiar to you, as they are etched in the names of our campus buildings: William Henry Ragsdale, Sallie Joyner Davis, Maria D. Graham, Mamie R.  Jenkins, Claude W. Wilson, and Herbert E. Austin.  Those faculty members had no idea the impact they would have on this university and its students and alumni.

As you leave this university, you have yet to discover your impact on the region, the state, or the world.  I challenge you to follow the lead of these early faculty and excel in the best traditions of this university: be a leader, be a visionary and search for new ideas, continue to learn about yourself, others and the world, and serve your profession and your community; don’t sell yourself short—believe in yourself, in your abilities, your talents, and your knowledge. You will touch many lives, you will make new discoveries, you will succeed if give yourself a chance and you will make a difference.  We believe in you. We believe you will succeed and make all of us proud.

Finishing your degree and leaving the Pirate “family” may not be easy. Over the last four—or five years, You’ve made new friends—among your peers and among the faculty. Saying goodbye can be tough. We wish you well as leave and set off on your own. The connections you’ve made here shouldn’t be forgotten; they should be nurtured. Stay in touch with your friends, and don’t forget us—your instructors. We won’t forget you. Each of you in your own way has made an impression.

And we will think of you, wonder where you are, and what you are doing. We do want to know—so share your accomplishments with us. Besides we want to feature you on our department’s   website and brag about you—and encourage other students to realize their goals.

So, as you take your leave today, and set off for parts known or unknown, take with you the congratulations and best wishes of the faculty. And, remember, no matter where you are, you’ll always be a Pirate!  Thank you.