Chancellor Steve Ballard, right, recognizes outgoing board chairman Robert Brinkley during the April 24 meeting of the ECU Board of Trustees. Brinkley served on the board for eight years. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)
East Carolina University leaders say work is continuing on the development of Heritage Hall, a permanent place where people of historical significance to the university will be recognized.
ECU’s Board of Trustees, who met April 23-24 in the East Carolina Heart Institute at ECU, said a work group will be appointed to determine the project’s scope and next steps including recommendations on a location, timeline and costs. Another update is expected at the July board meeting.
The board voted in February to create Heritage Hall after months of discussion on the naming of Aycock Residence Hall, which honors Charles B. Aycock, a former governor, lawyer, federal prosecutor and school superintendent who served as a spokesperson for white supremacy campaigns at the turn of the century.
ECU board member Danny Scott discussed the history curriculum that will be included as part of the planned Heritage Hall, where individuals with significant impact to the university will be honored.
The Aycock name will be transitioned to the hall when it opens.
Trustee Danny Scott, reporting on the University Affairs committee meeting held April 23, said a new history curriculum will be included as part of the Aycock decision. A digital history with key elements from ECU’s past is being assembled by Department of History faculty members Gerald Prokopowicz and John Tucker in conjunction with the School of Art and Design.
Also data presented to the Board of Trustees’ Health Sciences Committee on April 23 indicates that ECU Physicians, Brody’s clinical practice, has in one year reduced its operating shortfall by $19.5 million — from $20 million this time last year to $500,000 currently.
Dr. Rick Niswander, vice chancellor for administration and finance at ECU, attributed the improved financial status to a number of internal improvements to faculty compensation models, scheduling practices and access for patients, and the decision to eliminate nearly 100 vacant positions.
“It’s still likely we’re going to have a loss, it’s just going to be a much, much smaller number,” Niswander told committee members. “A lot of the things we’ve put into place…have started to bear fruit.”
Health sciences committee chair Steve Jones thanked administrators and staff for their dedication to improving efficiency.
“That (turnaround) takes a lot of hard work and a lot of leadership to move through that,” Jones said. “It’s a big deal.”
In other business:
Chancellor Steve Ballard recognized outgoing board members Jake Srednicki, Carol Mabe and Chairman Robert Brinkley. Succeeding Srednicki as Student Government Association president will be Mark Matulewicz, a sophomore finance major from Currituck. Mabe and Brinkley served on the board for eight years. New appointees Leigh Jeffreys Fanning and Kel Normann will begin their terms in July along with Matulewicz.
The board approved closing the Center for Applied Computational Studies at the request of ECU faculty. The center’s work is expected to continue in a Department of Chemistry laboratory. Several centers and institutes across the state are under review by the UNC Board of Governors.
The board selected firms for planned construction projects: LS3P of Wilmington, who will design a new 50,000-square-foot student services building planned for Reade Street; HH Architecture of Raleigh as designer of the Jones Galley renovation and expansion; and TA Loving as construction manager-at-risk for the renovation of Clement Residence Hall, planned to begin next year.
The board approved leasing approximately 10,700 square feet in a building that the Eastern Area Health Education Center plans to construct near the intersection of W. Fifth St. and West Arlington Boulevard. The ECU Office of Clinical Skills Assessment and Education would occupy the second floor of the three-story building.
The board granted right-of-way easements to the N.C. Department of Transportation on several properties the university owns along the 10th Street Connector corridor.
The following individuals were appointed to the ECU Board of Visitors for the Class of 2019: Sabrina Bengel of New Bern, Jonathan Brooks of Greenville, Alisa Chapman of Chapel Hill, Tommy Lewis of Raleigh, Ray Rogers of Greenville, Jim Bolding of Cary, Shirley Carraway of Winterville, Jon DeFriese of Charlotte, Bernita Demery of Greenville, Jim Dodson of Pinehurst, Mickey Foster of Greensboro, Lynne Garrison of Greenville, James Gorham of Kernersville, Kent Lawrence of Cary, and James Morgan of Raleigh. Brad Congleton of Raleigh was appointed to fill a vacancy in the Class of 2018.
Pictured below is outgoing board member Carol Mabe, recognized April 24 for her eight years of service to the ECU Board of Trustees.