August 23, 2016
East Carolina University must up its game, Chancellor Cecil Staton told a gathering of alumni and supporters at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on Monday night, but he wasn’t just talking about football.
ECU must raise its national profile, increase research, expand international studies, and prepare for a comprehensive campaign to help fund these efforts and more, according to Staton, who shared his priorities publicly for the first time since taking office in July.
More than 300 people from Pitt and surrounding counties attended the Aug. 22 welcome event for the chancellor and his wife Catherine. The Greenville event was the first in a series hosted by ECU Advancement and the Pirate Club that will be held across the Pirate Nation.
“This is a great university. You know that. You know how it has impacted your lives,” Staton said. “We’ve got to tell our story and raise the resources that will allow us to fulfill our aspirations for this university.”
Staton made his aspirations clear, saying, “I don’t think we get the acclaim that this university deserves. I believe East Carolina University is America’s next great national university.”
First, ECU will up its game in marketing, Staton said. “I think we need to do a better job of tooting our own horn, and getting the word out about the great things that are happening at ECU. That’s going to be a priority for me in the early days.”
Next up is research. “We have increased our research game in recent years rather dramatically, but we’re going to do even more,” Staton said. He added that he wanted to see more research involving students and focused on practical outcomes related to ECU’s mission of regional transformation.
Another one of Staton’s goals is internationalizing the campus. This past year, 500 students participated in a study abroad experience. That number is incredibly low for the caliber of this university, Staton said.
“Our students are going to be living and working in a global, knowledge-based economy,” he said. “Employers today want students who have a global awareness. We’re going to up our game there as well, as we internationalize the campus and provide opportunities for our students in larger numbers to have a study abroad experience.”
All these efforts will take resources and commitment, Staton said.
“If we want to be a nationally prominent university and a world-class institution, we have to up our fundraising game as well,” he said.
Public higher education is facing a lot of challenges today, Staton continued.
“I’m proud that ECU is facing those challenges well,” he said. “We are doing very well by all measures. But if we want to guarantee the future of this institution and want it to take its rightful place of prominence in the state, region, country, and even around the world, we’ve got to raise the funds. That is an absolute necessity and will have to be a priority for this university over the next ten years.”
More welcome events will be held across North Carolina and the East Coast in the coming months, starting with the Triangle area on Sept. 14. For more information, contact ECU Advancement at 252-328-9550 or visit ecu.edu/give.