Incredible ECU Women

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In 2007, the Women's Roundtable honored 100 alumnae recognized by their peers as outstanding leaders in their respective fields at an event called A Legacy of Leadership: 100 Incredible ECU Women. In 2010, six more women were added to this list of outstanding women. These amazing women are listed alphabetically below.

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

Jo Allen

Jo Allen
Jo Allen, President of Meredith College, is the eighth president, and first alumna president, in the college’s 122-year history. Prior to her appointment at Meredith, Dr. Allen served as Senior Vice President and Provost at Widener University in Pennsylvania. One of her initiatives at Meredith is ‘Campus Kitchens’ which feeds hungry children. She also began a Celebration of Women Veterans in Raleigh, honoring women on Veteran’s Day. Dr. Allen serves on the Raleigh Urban Ministries Board of Directors, the board of the Downtown Clubs in Raleigh, and on the Presidents’ Council of Cooperating Raleigh Colleges.


Allison Atkins
Alison H. Atkins, professor emeritus at Fort Hays State University, has performed at the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games near Linville, North Carolina, as both accompanist and soloist for more than 35 years. A recipient of the Agnes MacRae Morton Award for her service, she has also performed at highland games and gatherings in Scotland. An owner of a private studio, her students have ranged from Broadway stars to elementary school teachers. She herself studied under voice teacher Gladys White at ECU. Atkins is past president of the Kansas chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, a past regional governor of NATS, and she served for five years as a province officer for the Theta-A Province of Sigma Alpha Iota music fraternity.


Irene Bailey-Wells
Professional artist Irene Bailey has hundreds of portraits hanging in libraries, business centers, and prominent private homes throughout the country. She has more than 16 works hanging on ECU's campus alone, including two large murals in Minges Coliseum and portraits of the four deans of the Brody School of Medicine. Bailey has been featured in Rebel magazine, and was chosen as a finalist in a Portrait Society of America competition, where she won Best in Show for painting.


Edna Earle Baker
Edna Earle Baker began her career in education under John Messick, who later became president of East Carolina College. She worked in the Pitt County Schools for more than 30 years, establishing the first elementary school libraries, the first special education classes, and the first ESEA Reading for Remediation program. She was also instrumental in facilitating the successful integration of the Pitt County school system in the 1960s. While in her 80s, she served two terms as mayor of Farmville, North Carolina. She is considered the mother of the Farmville Dogwood Festival, one of the most successful town festivals in the state. She passed away in December 2007 at the age of 100.


Judy B. Baker
Judy B. Baker founded the ECU Student Volunteer program in 1990 with zero volunteers and eight community partners. It has since evolved into the Volunteer and Service-Learning Center with almost 10,000 volunteers and 126 community partners. Last year, students reported volunteer work in three countries, 12 states, and 54 North Carolina counties. Baker has received numerous community awards for her own volunteer service including the Governor's Outstanding Service Award, the National Points of Light Award, the Ronald McDonald House Outstanding Service Award (received twice), and the American Red Cross Charter Member Award.


Cassandra D. Bell
Cassandra D. Bell, WITN TV 7 news anchor, has published four mainstream fiction books. Her first, The Color of Love, was published in 2002. Since then, she has written Mississippi Blues, After the Storm and Changing Lanes. She is currently at work on her fifth novel. Bell has lobbied Congress as a volunteer member of the National Breast Cancer Coalition, and she has conducted celebrity interviews on behalf of the Children's Miracle Network.

Sabrina Bengel

Sabrina Bengel
Sabrina D. Bengel serves the city of New Bern as Mayor Pro Tem and Alderman of the First Ward. She is managing partner of the Birthplace of Pepsi in New Bern and is President and CEO of Riverfront Sports and Entertainment Group. Bengel is President of New Bern Tours and Convention Services-New Bern’s Trolley Car Tours. She is Chair of the Craven County Tourism Development Authority Board and a member of the Swiss Bear Downtown Development Corporation Board of Directors. She serves on the North Carolina Travel and Tourism Board and is Vice Chairman of the UNC-TV Board of Trustees. Bengel sits on the ECU Board of Visitors and is a past chair of the ECU Alumni Association. She received the ECU Distinguished Service Award in 2012. Bengel views her greatest accomplishment as serving others to make a better city, region, university, and state.


Lisa D. Benton
Lisa D. Benton, human resources business partner with Wachovia Bank, was elected a senior vice president in 1999. She earned her Senior Professional in Human Resources certification from the Society for Human Resources Management and has been awarded the Uncommon Wisdom Award from Wachovia Human Resources. At ECU, she has served as Alumni Association president and is the current chair of the College of Business Advisory Board. She has been a facilitator for the Pitt County Teacher Executive Education program for 18 years.


Margaret "Maggie" E. Bishop
Margaret E. Bishop has authored four novels: Murder at Blue Falls, Emeralds in the Snow, Appalachian Paradise, and most recently, Perfect for Framing. Bishop is the founder, past president, and current treasurer of the High Country Writers, an organization providing encouragement and support for writers.


Rebecca Y. Bloxam
Rebecca Y. Bloxam, EdD, Lexington City Schools superintendent, served as a teacher, guidance counselor, principal, and assistant superintendent prior to her appointment as superintendent. Over her 35-year career, she has received numerous awards for service to young people, including the North Carolina media specialists' State Administrator of the Year. Dr. Bloxam has a great interest and expertise in curriculum and programs for underserved children. She is an advocate for ECU's online masters degree programs, encouraging her teachers to take advantage of the opportunities they provide.


Emily S. Boyce
Emily S. Boyce is professor emeritus of the ECU Department of Library and Information Studies where she served as department chair for many years. A scholarship in library and information studies is awarded each year to a master's degree student in her name. She was appointed as chair of the State Library Commission, serving two years, and received the Mary Peacock Douglas Award from the North Carolina Association of School Librarians. Boyce was inducted into the ECU Educators Hall of Fame and received ECU's Outstanding Educators Award. After retiring to Asheville, North Carolina, she began a new career as a community volunteer and received the annual Human Rights Award from the Baha'is of Asheville for the promotion and protection of basic human rights.


Carolyn J. Breedlove
Carolyn J. Breedlove is the senior professional associate for external partnerships and advocacy at the National Education Association. Employed at the NEA since 1983, she was the lead lobbyist and policy analyst on telecommunications and educational technology issues, helping draft key education provisions of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. She was also one of the negotiators who developed the television rating system. In 2005, Breedlove received the Susan G. Hadden Pioneer Award from the Alliance for Public Technology for work in telecommunications, recognizing her accomplishments in building strategic coalitions and partnerships that have produced results for students and teachers.


Susan C. Brooks
Susan C. Brooks is a certified and licensed North Carolina marriage and family therapist. A leader of NCAMFT for 23 years, she led the successful passage of two professional legislative bills that brought licensed marriage and family therapists to parity with other master's-level mental health professionals. She served as president of the NCAMFT for two years and chaired the NCMFT Licensure Board for four years. She has received the ECU Outstanding Alumni Award and NCAMFT's David and Vera Mace Award. Long active in the Episcopal Church, she has served in many capacities including vestry leadership and the bishop's committee on ethics.


Suzanne J. Brooks
Suzanne J. Brooks, executive vice president of Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Central Virginia, was the first female president of the Virginia Beverage Association. As an executive, she helped grow the central Virginia Pepsi franchise from 3.4 million cases to 9.6 million cases. She is a member of several LLCs, two of which developed two different golf course communities, and one that is completing a mixed-use project of office condominiums and residential units. Brooks is also a partner in a SCUBA diving shop.


Dr. Sylvia T. Brown
Dr. Sylvia T. Brown, dean of the ECU College of Nursing and a widely-published scholar, considers her greatest accomplishment to be her role in preparing future nurses. She helped to develop the nursing education concentration in the ECU master's program, an option that prepares future nurse educators. She was instrumental in the development of the ECU doctoral program in nursing. Dr. Brown has written or co-authored more than 75 peer-reviewed articles and proceedings and 27 funded research grants. She has served as president of the Dream Factory of North Carolina (an organization that grants dreams to chronically and critically ill children) and as a board member of The National Dream Factory. Dr. Brown also has been president of the Beta Nu Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International, an honor society for nurses.


Judith H. Budacz
Judith H. Budacz is retired after a 35-year career in public education. A third-generation teacher, she taught school for 14 years and served as principal for 21 years. She received ECU's Outstanding Educator Award in 1997, and was honored as the Wachovia North Carolina Principal of the Year representing Wahl Coates School. Budacz was also inducted into the ECU Educators Hall of Fame. A member of the North Carolina Charter School Advisory Committee for five years, she has also served her church and volunteered extensively in her community and state.


Lisa R. Callahan, M.D.
Lisa R. Callahan, MD, is the director of player care for the NBA's New York Knicks and WNBA's New York Liberty professional basketball teams. She is the cofounder and medical director of the Women's Sports Medicine Center Hospital for Special Surgery, and associate professor of clinical medicine at Well Medical Center of Cornell University. She has also served as medical contributor to ABC News, Good Morning America and Lifetime's Speaking of Women's Health. Dr. Callahan authored the book, The Fitness Factor, and is a contributing editor to SELF magazine. She sits on the board of directors of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine.


Shirley A. Carraway, EdD
Shirley A. Carraway, EdD, superintendent of Orange County Schools, was the first African American and the first female high school principal in Pitt County. She has been a Principal of the Year and was appointed by the state superintendent to serve as the North Carolina representative on a five-state educational advisory board. Dr. Carraway currently serves on numerous boards that have a direct impact on children, including the Orange Partnership for Young Children and the Community School for People Under Six Advisory Board. She believes in involving the community in educational decision-making processes through special meetings and committee work.


E. Carol Carrere, PhD
E. Carol Carrere, PhD, is vice president for institutional planning and support, and associate professor of business at Mount Olive College. Her office provides strategic and operational planning and assessment, institutional research, and information technology support services. She led the effort to obtain a USDA rural utilities services grant for the college, which is used for distance learning classroom technology and to acquire instructional programming to serve rural medical professionals and residents in eastern North Carolina. Prior to her association with the Mount Olive College, she was a visiting professor at North Carolina State University.


Madge S. Chamness
Madge S. Chamness, retired associate professor of clinical laboratory science at ECU, was active in ECU faculty governance and also a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. She served as president of the North Carolina Society for Medical Technology and received their Outstanding Professional Achievement Award. Chamness also received the School of Allied Health Sciences Dean's Award for Outstanding Teaching and the J.J. Kleiner Award for Outstanding Article published in Clinical Laboratory Science. She was also the recipient of the Robert and Lina Mays University Alumni Association Teaching Excellence Award.


Gloria A. Chance
Gloria A. Chance, executive vice president and chief e-commerce officer for Wachovia Bank, is accountable for the integration of Wachovia's comprehensive suite of online products and services for retail, wealth management, commercial and corporate institutional banking, and employee intranet. She partners with the various lines of business to meet individual strategies while presenting a cohesive online presence for Wachovia. She introduced the first mobile banking solution, and was featured in the anniversary issue ofEssence magazine, which highlighted 30 Fortune 1000 companies where black women are finding success. For the last two years she has been a speaker at the European Financial Management and Marketing Association.


Joyce G. Cherry
Joyce G. Cherry, education consultant, began her career as a business teacher in the public school system. She worked at Mount Olive College as head of business programs before leaving for a position at Lenoir Community College. Cherry has held many positions at Lenoir including two terms as interim president, head of accounting and business, dean of the commercial division, business manager, vice president of educational programs, and vice president of administrative services. Cherry also served two terms as president of the North Carolina Business Education Association and two terms as president of the Community College Association of Business Chairpersons and Department Heads.


Maggy M. Costandy
Maggy M. Costandy founded Maggy Costandy Interiors in 1979 and currently serves as the company's president. She is a professional member of the American Society of Interior Designers, and in 1999 served as president of the Carolinas chapter of the ASID, for which she was awarded the Carolinas Chapter Award. Costandy has clients throughout the country, although she concentrates her business in eastern North Carolina. Each summer, she mentors one to three ECU interior design students as a way to repay ECU for all it has given her.


Beverly Cox
Beverly Cox, director of exhibitions and collections management at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery, has received recognition from the Smithsonian as an "unsung hero." She has been with the gallery since its opening in 1968. Originally a member of the history department, she moved to the exhibits side in the early 1970s and is now responsible for the administration of the gallery's exhibition programs. Cox has managed the organization of more than 300 exhibitions and is the author of several exhibition catalogues. She also heads the collection management department overseeing the care and housing of 20,000 works of art.


Michele C. Daenzer-Sapp
Michele C. Daenzer-Sapp, International Design Center showroom manager for Francesco Molon, opened the first retail showroom in the country for high-end Italian furniture, cabinetry, and millwork. She manages the kitchen division pilot program in Florida for distribution of fully custom cabinetry. She has run her own design consulting firm and has been a designer for Gulf Bay Development's cabinetry and custom millwork installations in Florida and Vermont. The recipient of numerous design awards including the Design Excellence Award from the American Society of Interior Designers, she was named as one of the "10 to Watch" in 2000, by Kitchen and Bath Business magazine.


Nancy W. Darden
Nancy W. Darden established Ruth Home, a transitional home for women with drug and alcohol abuse problems. The home, which enabled young females to get a fresh start in life after having been hospitalized for treatment of a drug or alcohol problem, taught the life skills that were necessary for these women to reenter the community in a positive way. Darden then founded Angel Spirit, a nonprofit Christian organization, that supported the children of Ruth Home participants, and helped them succeed in school. She also founded a real estate company and was co-owner of a fashion salon and school. She passed away in January 2011.


Deborah W. Davis
Deborah W. Davis, chief operating officer at MCV Hospitals—part of the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center in Richmond—is the former president of Pitt County Memorial Hospital. Davis spent more than 32 years at PCMH, eastern North Carolina's largest hospital. Under her guidance, PCMH earned Magnet recognition for nursing excellence from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. The hospital was recognized by Working Mother magazine as one of the top 100 workplaces in the nation for working moms. Working closely with the CEO of University Health Systems of Eastern Carolina, Davis took PCMH through unprecedented growth in providing health care across the eastern region of the state.


Jane M. Dillard
Jane M. Dillard is a professor of music at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. As a performer, she appeared with major symphonies and opera companies in the United States and Europe. She was a winner of the International Singing Competition in Switzerland and lead mezzo with the Nuremburg Opera in Germany. A recipient of the ECU Outstanding Alumni Award and the UNCC Outstanding Woman Teacher Award, she has served as a national officer in various music associations, including president of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. Performing on the same stage with her daughter, who sang the leading role in a Puccini opera, was one of her greatest joys.


Patricia C. Dunn, PhD
Patricia C. Dunn, PhD, is currently the mayor of Greenville, North Carolina, the home of ECU. Prior to her election in 2007, she served on the Greenville City Council for six years. Dunn served as president of Habitat for Humanity of Pitt County, chair of the Pitt County Board of Elections, the Pitt County Council on Aging, and president of the Pitt County League of Women Voters. She is now a part-time ECU faculty member and retired from ECU as a professor of health education. Dunn also taught at Peace College, and worked in student personnel at Montreat College and James Madison University