youtube twitter facebook rss feed
  Celebrations and excitement were the order of the day Dec. 14 as East Carolina University fall 2012 graduates attended commencement ceremonies in Minges Coliseum. More than 2,000 graduates were expected to receive degrees. (Photos by Cliff Hollis and Jay Clark)  
Newly minted grads encouraged to persevere

Dec. 14, 2012

By Kathryn Kennedy
ECU News Services

Dr. Ravi Paul urged East Carolina University graduates to be “leaders and difference-makers” at the 104th fall commencement ceremony in Minges Coliseum.

ECU Chancellor Steve Ballard conferred degrees for more than 2,000 students Dec. 14. Approximately 1,600 students were awarded baccalaureate degrees this semester, along with 591 graduate degrees. ECU also graduated the largest class of doctoral students, earning PhDs or EdDs, in the history of the Graduate School.

“You are not just prepared for a job, but for a career and a meaningful life,” said Mark Sprague, chair of the Faculty Senate, told those assembled.

Paul, an associate professor of management information systems in the ECU College of Business, was selected as commencement speaker after receiving the University of North Carolina system’s highest teaching honor in April.

Ravi Paul
Paul highlighted three characteristics that will serve Pirate graduates well in the future: excellence, caring and undaunted. Conveniently, he remarked, the first letters of those words spell E-C-U.

“Excellence is not perfection and it’s not winning at all costs,” he said, “But rather, doing all things to the best of our abilities.”

Paul continued by stating that leadership and service cannot exist without caring, and he encouraged students to persevere and never be discouraged.

“Even if you fail at first – and again, and again, and again, which is very likely – you will learn more when you get up and try again than if you gave up.

“Let me encourage you to pursue excellence and serve others with undaunted vision as you go out from ECU,” Paul concluded. “When you do, you not only make a difference in someone’s life but also inspire others to follow your example.”

Vidant Health CEO Dave McRae was presented an honorary doctor of science degree. Created in 1998 as University Health Systems, Vidant Health operates the primary teaching site for ECU’s Brody School of Medicine.

Ballard lauded the 35 years McRae has spent improving health care in eastern North Carolina.

“It’s wonderful to be part of your family now,” McRae said. “East Carolina has wrapped its arms around me.”

The seriousness of commencement was lightened by the celebration of excited undergraduates and, in particular, those receiving bachelor’s degrees in nursing. They added confetti cannons this year to their traditional arsenal of noisemakers and Silly String.

As they leave the campus behind, students say they will always carry their experiences at ECU with them.

“I’m really nervous but excited,” said Lisa Klopp, a Richmond, Va., native bound for a social media internship in New York City at the end of the month. “I’ll miss the football, and just everybody coming together. The school spirit. Purple and gold.”

But not everyone is bidding ECU farewell. Xiomary Violante, a family studies and child development major, will be back next semester for graduate school.

“I love everything about ECU,” she said. “My friends, the classes, just everything.”


While preparing for the ECU 2012 fall commencement at Minges Coliseum, ECU College of Nursing graduate Iva Marie Winstead, left, holds the nursing pin that her mother, nursing faculty member Cindy Winstead, will pin on her at the unit ceremony at noon on Dec. 15. Cindy Winstead earned her ECU nursing degree in 1988. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Daughter follows in mom’s footsteps

Dec. 14, 2012

By Crystal Baity
ECU News Services

Iva Marie Winstead of Bath decided to become a nurse after job shadowing in high school. She didn’t have to look far for a role model.

When Winstead receives her East Carolina University nursing pin on Dec. 15, her mother will pin her with the same pin she received when she earned her ECU nursing degree in 1988.

Her mom, Lucinda “Cindy” Winstead, is an ECU nursing faculty member. She asked permission from nursing administrators to fulfill a request from her daughter – that Cindy pin Iva during the traditional pinning ceremony in the College of Nursing’s departmental ceremony at noon Saturday.

Graduates receive the ECU nursing pin, with the university’s motto, “servire,” or to serve, across the center, one of the mainstays of nursing’s commencement rituals. Students in the first nursing class designed the pin more than 50 years ago.

A rowdy fall commencement for more than 2,000 graduates on Dec. 14 left 22-year-old Iva Winstead coated in confetti and Silly String. She enjoyed being with her friends as her mother joined faculty colleagues at the ceremony. While Friday was a great day, Iva Winstead said she is really excited about Saturday. “It will mean more since my mom is pinning me,” she said.

Cindy Winstead also earned a master’s degree in nursing from ECU in 2007. The Winsteads had some of the same instructors while in nursing school, including Dr. Frances Eason and Karen Krupa. Dean of Nursing Sylvia Brown taught Cindy Winstead too. “It’s really been a unique experience for someone who taught me to also teach her,” Cindy Winstead said.

“I’d like to thank my mom for being an inspiration and role model for what a mom and nurse should be,” Iva said. “I hope to be half the mother and nurse she has been one day.”

After spending the holidays with family and friends, Iva Winstead will take the National Council Licensure Examination next month. She plans to work at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville on the post-partum mother-baby unit in obstetrics, her mother’s specialty.

Iva Winstead was always interested in the medical field and had heard her mother talk about it all her life. But she became hooked through a job shadowing experience her senior year at Northside High School in Beaufort County.

“I love being able to help people and be with patients,” she told her mother. 

Another faculty member, Dr. Alta Andrews, pinned her son, Adam, at his graduation in May.


As it happened

Tweets about the ECU 2012 fall commencement were captured as they happened on the social media tool Storify. View the images and comments below or follow ECU Storify at

Untitled Document