April 6, 2107
East Carolina University is the first university in the country and the only employer in North Carolina to receive the United States Department of Defense Extraordinary Employer Support Award for sustained support of National Guard and Reserve service members.
The award recognizes public and private sector employers who have demonstrated a culture of support for military members within their organization.
"ECU's partnership with the military is a natural extension of our commitment to service. I am proud that our faculty, staff and students have cultivated an environment where service to our country is encouraged and supported," said ECU Chancellor Cecil Staton.
ECU received the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award in 2010, a prerequisite for the Extraordinary Employer Support Award. These are the two highest employer awards given at the federal level.
"It's one thing to receive an award for a single action. It's quite another to be recognized for a holistic program that demonstrates long-term support of our military," said Tim Wiseman, assistant vice chancellor for enterprise risk management and military programs. "This award is not given out on an annual basis but only as employers are eligible which makes it more significant."
Pro Patria Award
The university's sustained commitment to the Reserves and Guard was brought to the attention of the award committee when Dr. Ann King, clinical associate professor in the College of Nursing, nominated the college for the Pro Patria Award, another award from the Department of Defense. King is a member of the US Army Reserves.
The Pro Patria award is presented annually by each Department of Defense Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) state committee to employers who "have demonstrated the greatest support to Guard and Reserve employees through their leadership and practices, including adopting personnel policies that make it easier for employees to participate in the National Guard and Reserve."
The Pro Patria award is the highest-level award that may be bestowed by an ESGR state committee.
"We are proud of our college's commitment to supporting those who serve our country and the longtime partnership our university has had with the military," said Dr. Sylvia Brown, dean of the College of Nursing. "Our faculty and staff value the contributions of our servicemen and women, not only to our nation, but to eastern North Carolina, to the university and to the College of Nursing. ECU's motto is 'to serve,' and helping our military in their service also helps us in ours."
In her nomination form, King cited the college's many events and awards that honor the contributions of military faculty, staff and supporters, hiring practices that give preference for military service; and extensive support offered to military members and their family while on assignment. Since entering the Reserves as a captain in 2011, King has had several assignments and deployments in U.S. states and abroad.
"The response to notifications that I would be gone was always met with the same response: 'What do we need to do for you while you are gone?'" King said. "This is the culture of the leadership of the College of Nursing - you are part of us and we will help you do what you need to do."
Wiseman views military service as a way for employees to give back to the community and bring diversity of experience and training back to their positions at ECU. He said faculty and supervisors work hard to ensure students and employees who are absent due to military assignments are able to return and resume their coursework or careers without much interruption.
ECU's commitment to the military extends across campus and to all branches of the armed forces. The university also has been recognized nationally as a 'Best for Vets' college by the Military Times and as a military and military spouse-friendly school by Victory Media.
The Extraordinary Employer Support and Pro Patria awards were presented to Brown and Wiseman ESGR during a ceremony on March 25.