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HOMECOMING MEMORIES

Seeing Sonja "Spicy" Love being crowned homecoming queen in 1989!

~Monica Brown Hamlin, Whiteville, NC



I met my wonderful husband, Steve Spruill, Homecoming Weekend 1975! It was at a bar, Marty's. I remember there were bean bag chairs, black lights and Heckle and Jeckle cartoons. It was love at first sight! You just can't imagine how attractive black lights made you look. NOT! 34 years and counting! Go Pirates!

~Catherine L. Spruill, Falkland, NC



I'll never forget the time that Patrick Suarez and Sherese Brooks were named the 2001 Homecoming King and Queen. Both are Native Americans and were very involved in campus organizations. Patrick is from the Meherrin tribe out of Ahoskie NC, and Sherese is from the Lumbee tribe out of Robeson County. It was a momentous occasion for the Native American students and a source of pride for their tribal communities back home.

~Randy Gilland, Sanford, NC



Our first homecoming weekend here at ECU was last year, 2008. We had a blast. My oldest son, and only son at that time, loved the parade and all the candy he managed to grab. And later that day we took him to his first big time football game and the Pirates won! We're looking forward to taking both of our boys to future ECU homecoming parades and football games.

~Bob Dry, Lumberton, NC



I’ll never forget my first year as a Pirate. My friends and I would tailgate before football games at the Frisbee golf course beside the baseball stadium. The entire lot was crowded with fans all bleeding purple and gold. Alumni came from all over just to support their team. It was then when I realized that I belonged in the Pirate Nation. I know that when I have children of my own, I’ll want them to experience what it is like to be an East Carolina Pirate.

~Shemeh Shirbabadi, Charlotte, NC



There are so many memories about ECU and Homecoming! Growing up, I went to all the games, and I guess I took it for granted how special ECU football was, and still is. I now realize some of the BEST moments of my life were spent attending ECU football games. (Some of the worst too!) The homecoming memory I most cherish is when my dad gave my mother a corsage with a gold football hanging on it before they attended homecoming events at former chancellor Dr. Leo Jenkins’ house. We all piled into the car and went over early in order to have Krispy Kreme doughnuts and Pepsi and watch the parade from the seats in Dr. Jenkins’ front yard. After the parade, Mrs. Jenkins gave me a Pirate cup (creamer) Royal Dalton collectable that I have to this day. I was maybe 10 years old! Not long after that, my mother, Nina Blake, was diagnosed with stage-4 cervical cancer and passed 2 years later. Mrs. Jenkins passed away too. Throughout the years of being a young girl in Greenville, an ECU student, and now an alumna, I feel such a sense of pride because I KNOW where we have been, and I feel so good about ECU’s future. The huge corsages with purple and gold ribbon tug on my heart a little more with each passing year. I LOVE catching up with folks I haven’t seen in a long time during homecoming weekend! We have such a SPECIAL place right here in Greenville, NC...I am so proud to be part of the Pirate nation!

~Tina Gminder, Greenville, NC



I started ECU as a single mother at the age of 26, so I always tried to look for opportunities to share my college experience with my son. I particularly enjoyed getting up early on homecoming Saturday mornings and doing crafts with my son at the human ecology building. Afterwards we would take our complimentary doughnuts and coffee out to the street and wait for the parade to start. I love sharing my alma mater with my son and I hope one day he will do the same with his children! Go Pirates!

~Alana Smith, Greenville, NC



Volunteering with the alumni of ECU during homecoming weekend. As an ECU Ambassador, we volunteer with alumni from ECTC and ECC, and being able to connect with our past is such a great experience. Last year at the black reunion event, I met the first African-American cheerleader here at ECU!

~Shoneice Sconyers, New Bern, NC



My favorite homecoming memory is not typical of what many of us thought we would one day report to our alumni about our pleasurable memories, reflections, or experiences. I actually recall my most significant memory is of sharing homecoming activities with my son for the first time. I cannot express the fullness of Pirate Pride when we went to the pre-parade activities and he was able to have his face painted, and then going by UBE to pick up some souvenirs and other items for the game and tailgating. We parked in the Elm Street area so he was able to see all different levels of Pirate Pride in how different groups tailgated and some people invited us to share snacks as we traveled in and out of our area. My son was introduced to several of my classmates, many of whom were from back home, and many we maintain contact with today. I smiled that day. I laughed that day. My heart swelled with pride and I grew up. I then understood the benefit of supporting ECU as an alumni and I still have never been able to satisfy my son’s curiosity about my years there. During that first homecoming we toured the campus and I was able to show him the dorm I lived in and the buildings I had classes in over the years. It was two days of bliss and joy and I will never be able to erase the impact it had on him or me. Maybe he will one day share my pride as an alumnus or maybe he will just know why I get “purple” in the face when people talk about ECU. We now live in Greenville and it has been very special to have the opportunity to participate in many activities (athletic, social events, theatre, art programs, medical trainings, and new programs through Brody School of Medicine). THANKS ECU! Some times I feel as though this has been the place I really grew up.

~Jane Dawson, LaGrange, NC



A tradition that was a tradition for years, and you see very little of anymore, was every girl had the yellow mum corsage with the little football in the middle and ECU on the ribbon. That was always very special to me and I really enjoyed wearing and receiving the flower. Also, working in the student store it is always special to see the alumni come back in and the expressions on faces when they see friends they haven’t seen in years.

~Wanda Scarborough, Kinston, NC