The ECU Report

The ECU Report

The Buccaneer sails again

Fifteen years after changing tastes led to its demise, the Buccaneer yearbook will return this fall with students again at the helm. “The staff is lined up and it’s just a matter of getting to work,” says Ken Robol, faculty adviser and director of student engagement. Work will wrap up in April or May, with about 2,000 copies printed. The yearbook will cost about $30 to $40.
The 2006 edition will offer a look at campus life, focusing on seniors, sports, fraternities and sororities. It also will review changes of the past 10 years or so to recap innovations, new buildings and construction, says Genevia Windley Hill, assistant director of student engagement. “This first edition will mesh the old and new,” she says. “We hope to have lots of photographs showing what has happened since the last yearbook was published.”

A survey about two years ago showed students wanted to bring back the yearbook. That, coupled with more demand for magazine-style projects, led the Student Media Board to revive the Buccaneer. Students working on the yearbook will gain practical experience in publishing and earn about $4.20 an hour for their work.

The Buccaneer last appeared in 1990 after several years of declining student interest. The first yearbook was published in 1923 by East Carolina Teachers College and was called the Tecoan—short for “teachers college annual.” By 1953 the institution was known as East Carolina College and the yearbook was renamed the Buccaneer, reflecting its Pirate mascot.

Play ball!

Thirty-five games at Clark-LeClair Stadium, including the third annual Keith LeClair Classic, highlight East Carolina University’s 2006 baseball schedule, which begins Feb. 10 with a three-game homestand against Maryland. The 54-game season will conclude May 24 with the Conference USA tournament in Houston, Texas.

It will be a tough baseball season for ECU, which will play 23 games against eight different teams that participated in the 2005 NCAA Tournament. However, the Pirates, who made their seventh consecutive trip to the NCAA Regionals last year, return 15 lettermen from a team that finished fourth in C-USA.

This year’s Keith LeClair Classic will be Feb. 24-26. Atlantic Coast Conference members N.C. State and Virginia Tech will join ECU, UNC Wilmington, West Virginia and Penn State in the three-day event. The Pirates will square off against N.C. State three times in 2006 with ECU hosting the Wolfpack on April 12 and the Pirates traveling to Raleigh for a pair of games on March 29 and April 18.

The Pirates head to California March 10 for their first road trip of the season against 2004 national champion Cal State Fullerton. ECU will play the second of three games against in-state rival UNC Wilmington on the road March 15, before wrapping up the series in Greenville on March 22.

Tickets for the 2006 baseball season are available online at or by calling the ECU ticket office at (252) 328-4500.

Pirates beef up nonconference schedule

Tailgating never looked better with news that N.C. State, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia are coming to Dowdy-Ficklen the next two seasons. The Pirates will play a total of five games against ACC opponents the next two years and begin a series of nine games against Virginia Tech.

In addition to the full slate of Conference USA opponents, the Pirates will have road games this fall against N.C. State in Raleigh and against Navy in Annapolis, Md.

Perhaps the most surprising news from ECU Director of Athletics Terry Holland is that ECU will play Virginia Tech nine times over the next decade. The Hokies have emerged as a perennial Top 10 team.

The Wolfpack will host the Pirates in Raleigh during the 2006, 2009 and 2013 seasons while N.C. State will play at Dowdy-Ficklen in 2007, 2010 and 2016. The Hokies and Pirates, who were originally scheduled to play next season in Blacksburg, will now push back their series renewal to 2007 at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium. Virginia Tech will make the first of four visits to Greenville in 2009.

ECU and N.C. State will play three times each at Dowdy-Ficklen and Carter-Finley Stadium while Virginia Tech will travel to Greenville four times, host the Pirates in Blacksburg on four occasions and meet once in Charlotte in 2007. In the four seasons from 2007-2010, ECU will play three ACC teams each year.

That certainly doesn’t leave room for lightweights on ECU’s football platter, giving the school one of the toughest nonconference schedules in the nation. The exact dates of next fall’s football games haven’t been released yet, nor have the prices for season tickets, which were $125 last year. For more information, call the ECU Athletics Ticket Office at 1-800-DIAL-ECU or go online at

Surgeons reduce aneurysm treatment to overnight stay

Repairing an aortic aneurysm usually entails major surgery, a long hospitalization and months of convalescence, but vascular surgeons at the Brody School of Medicine have developed a technique that transforms the procedure into a one-hour operation and an overnight hospital stay.

Up to now, the procedure required surgeons to cut a 14-inch opening in a patient’s chest. Recovery required a week’s hospitalization and months for full recovery. The new, minimally-invasive treatment doesn’t require opening the chest; instead, surgeons thread a small tube through the femoral artery in the groin and use X-rays to position a graft at the site of the aneurysm to reinforce the weakened artery.

Among the first patients to benefit from the new technique was a woman in her mid-60s. ECU vascular surgeon Dr. Michael Stoner performed the procedure in late October with assistance from Dr. Frank Parker, ECU vascular surgeon, and Dr. Curt Anderson, ECU cardiothoracic surgeon. The patient was under general anesthesia about an hour; she spent one night in the hospital and was expected to return to normal activities in two to three weeks.

Stoner, Anderson and their ECU colleagues are working to establish a center for the treatment of patients with complex aortic problems under the auspices of the Eastern Carolina Cardiovascular Institute directed by Dr. W. Randolph Chitwood Jr., chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery at the medical school and senior associate vice chancellor for health sciences at ECU.

Chitwood said this latest treatment option for patients with aortic aneurysms is another step forward in treating all types of cardiothoracic and vascular needs in eastern North Carolina. “Our goal is to be a national leader in the treatment of patients with these complex aortic disorders, and we are doing it by attracting highly trained individuals like Dr. Stoner, Dr. Anderson and Dr. Parker,” he said.

Biologist explores connection between plant protein, oxygen

A three-year, $280,000 grant from the National Science Foundation has enabled East Carolina University biologist Cindy Putnam-Evans to explore how a protein found in plants reacts and splits water molecules during photosynthesis. “This reaction is very important because it is virtually the only source of molecular oxygen in the biosphere and almost all life depends upon this oxygen source for survival,” Putnam-Evans said. Her work could prove useful for agricultural applications, as well as for possible synthetic oxygen production.

In other research news:

■ East Carolina University physicist Yong-qing Li is making headlines again with an instrument he developed that allows researchers to “trap” a live human cell in a laser beam for quick analysis. The physicist called the laser beam technique “Raman tweezers” and said it allowed doctors to identify tumor cells in humans at the single-cell level. Now Li and ECU biologist Thomas McConnell are collaborating with colleagues in the Brody School of Medicine to improve the Raman tweezers to give it the image-forming abilities of a microscope. This project will modify the spectrometer to identify normal and cancerous cells, Li said.

■ More than 2,000 people watched from their computers as surgeons from ECU performed gastric bypass surgery at Pitt County Memorial Hospital. Dr. Kenneth G. MacDonald moderated the surgery for online viewers as Dr. William H. Chapman III operated. The hospital received more than 150 e-mails during the live webcast on Nov. 15. “As more and more patients learn about the potential benefits of gastric bypass surgery, we hope that this webcast will encourage potential candidates to talk to their doctors about whether the procedure is appropriate for them,” MacDonald said.

New debit card eliminates long lines at cashier’s office

One unpleasant memory many alumni have is standing in long lines at the university cashier’s office to pick up financial aid refund checks at the beginning of each semester. It’s a time-consuming chore that even current students have endured.

But beginning this semester that process became a thing of the past when the university initiated a program that issues a debit card to every student. Mom and dad also will be able to go online and transfer money to Junior’s debit card. The MasterCard-backed debit card can be used anywhere—not just on campus. There is no monthly fee or minimum balance requirements.

East Carolina contracted for the service through Higher One, a Connecticut-based company specializing in customized financial services for universities nationwide. UNC Wilmington is the only other North Carolina school to join the program. Higher One says most universities using its debit card system realize substantial savings through lower administrative costs.

“In discussions with our Student Government Association, one of our goals has been to eliminate the need for students to stand in line to pick up their refund checks,” says Chuck Hawkins, senior associate vice chancellor for financial services at ECU.

While the new ECU debit card is issued through MasterCard, it’s not a credit card. The card is a debit or check card, so there’s no worry about credit card debt. Also, the debit card does not replace the university’s One Card system, which most students use for meals and other purchases on campus.

The ECU debit card will offer students three methods to receive financial refunds from their school—as a deposit to OneAccount, the free checking account associated with the card; as a direct deposit to another checking account; or as a paper check delivered by mail. The system also allows students to track their refund history and change their preference online at any time.

Officials said the university expects to expand the current One Card ID system in a couple of years to incorporate financial aid refunds. The university mailed the debit cards to each student’s primary address. For more information, visit

Bowles to ECU: “I want to be your champion”

Erskine Bowles acknowledged that East Carolina has gotten short shrift in the past from the University of North Carolina System and promised that will change in the future. “I want to be your champion to help you get the resources to meet your goals,” Bowles, who took office Jan. 1 as the new president of the 16-campus university system, said during a day-long visit to Greenville in November. He met with senior administrators and deans, representatives of the Faculty Senate and Staff Senate, students, trustees and community leaders.

“I see my job as to be helpful. What can we do to help?” Bowles asked. Bowles told the Board of Trustees that “for too long, this university has been treated like a second-class citizen. These are not things you are going to have to worry about in the future.” A Charlotte investment banker and former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, Bowles is a UNC Chapel Hill graduate. He succeeded Molly Corbett Broad, who retired in December.

Magazine welcomes Tuttle as editor

With this issue, East welcomes a new editor who brings years of publishing and writing experience to the job. Steve Tuttle, 55, came aboard the first of November and arrives at East from North Carolina Magazine, the monthly business magazine published in Raleigh by NCCBI, the state chamber of commerce. Tuttle edited that magazine for 15 years, during which its circulation doubled and it won three straight Sir Walter Awards for journalism excellence.

He replaces Nancy Behrns Gray, who left to accept a teaching post in the College of Communications.

After 15 years in the same job, Tuttle said he wanted a new challenge and was intrigued by the idea of editing a university publication. “There’s no better place to work than on the campus of a major university,” he said.

He didn’t attend ECU—he’s a Mountaineer from Appalachian State—but his wife and dozens of friends did. His wife, Gayle McCracken Tuttle ’75, is director of public relations and external communications for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. They have three children, including a high school junior who is considering ECU for college.

After 10 years working in daily newspapers in North Carolina and Alabama, Tuttle moved to Washington, D.C., in 1980 to become managing editor of Television Digest, where he covered the Federal Communications Commission and the emerging cable TV industry. He then became vice president of public affairs for the National Cable TV Association in Washington.

Tuttle moved to New York in 1986 and worked four years there as editor and associate publisher of CableVision magazine, a national trade industry bimonthly. He returned to North Carolina in 1990 to take the North Carolina Magazine job.

“East already was a quality magazine and my challenge will be to continue that tradition and build on it,” Tuttle said. “I invite suggestions about how we can improve East and would love to hear from readers.” Tuttle can be reached at 252-328-2068 or at

St. Paul’s organ dedicated

Dr. Janette Fishell, professor of organ and sacred music, waited 10 years to give the concert dedicating the $1.4 million C.B. Fisk Opus 126 pipe organ at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Greenville. That’s how long it took for planning, fund-raising and building the space to house the instrument. Her dedicatory concert last fall capped eight months of work installing and fine-tuning the pipe organ.

An appreciative audience that filled St. Paul’s warmly received her concert and remarks she gave explaining the intricacies of the pipe organ. Her husband, Colin Andrews, accompanied Fischell, who had been left somewhat weakened by recent surgery for ovarian cancer.

The new instrument was christened the Perkins and Wells Memorial Organ in recognition of two local foundations that donated a combined $650,000 toward its purchase. The church has granted ECU perpetual use of the organ for practice, performance and education.

Online programs ranked tops in nation has ranked ECU’s online MBA and computer science degree programs No. 1 nationally and the university’s online education degree program No. 3 in the nation. The organization, which employs college experts to review online programs of universities across the country, deemed all three of ECU’s online offerings as “Best Buys.” Elmer Poe, associate vice chancellor for academic outreach at ECU, said one thing in particular seemed to impress the experts at “ECU’s online programs are taught by the same faculty who teach on campus and often the online students are in the same virtual classrooms as the campus students.” ECU offers more than 50 undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs away from campus, and is north Carolina’s leader in distance education. About 3,700 off-campus students are enrolled in these programs.

Arts calendar

Jan. 10-Feb. 4—EmergeGalleryin Greenville hosts an exhibition of photography by Dr. W.RandolphChitwood Jr., chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic andVascularSurgery at Brody School of Medicine, and Ann Holland, wife ofECUDirector of Athletics Terry Holland. The gallery will host areceptionhonoring Chitwood and Holland on Jan. 20 from 6-9 p.m.

Jan. 26-31—TheECU/LoessinPlayhouse presents Dance 2006, mixing classic ballet,modern dance, tapand jazz styles during six performances in McGinnisTheater. Featuredare works by Laura Dean and Nicholas Pupillo. Ticketsare $12.

Feb. 16-21—TheECU/LoessinPlayhouse presents six performances of Godspell in McGinnisTheater,including a Sunday matinee. Tickets are $17.50.

Feb. 19—ECU’sFourSeasons Chamber Music Festival makes its New York debut with aconcertperformance at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. Works byDebussy,Mendelssohn and Dvorak highlight the concert, which begins at2 p.m.

Feb. 25—“Unforgettable:TheNat King Cole Story,” performed by Andre Demps, Monroe Kent III,EdisonHerbert and Fumi Tomita in Wright Auditorium at 8 p.m. Ticketsare $30.
March1-6—Sixth annual New Music Festival featuringperformances by the ECUSymphony Orchestra, the Verdehr Trio, sopranoLouise Tuppin, pianistUrsula Oppens, the ECU Chamber Singers and ECUSchool of Music students.All performances in A.J. Fletcher RecitalHall. Tickets are $10 forindividual performances.

March 9—TheBlackWatch and the Band of Welsh Guards present an evening of militarymusic,pomp, and pageantry at Wright Auditorium at 8 p.m. Tickets are$30.

March 24—TheRussianNational Ballet, one of two ensembles created by the legendaryBolshoidancer Sergei Radchenko, presents Petipa’s La Bayadere, atragic taleset in India of a temple dancer (la bayadere) and her lostlove. Ticketsfor the 8 p.m. event in Wright Auditorium are $38, $10for students.

April 8—Vocalistandcomedienne B.J. Ward performs Stand Up Opera, a spoof mixing ariasbyVerdi, Puccini and Dvorak with slapstick comedy. Winner of threeOvationawards, the show is directed by Gordon Hunt, father of HelenHunt. Thesingle performance begins at 8 p.m. in Wright Auditorium.Tickets are$24, $10 for students.

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