Fall Graduates Number 3,300
By Erica Plouffe Lazure
Public service, Don Parrott told the 616 graduates and their families at East Carolina University’s Dec. 15 commencement, is not just about helping the community.
It’s also a cornerstone of becoming a strong and effective leader.
“Developing the leadership qualities that carry over into public service is something that happens over a period of time,” said Parrott, who left his post as Greenville’s mayor Dec. 10. “In my case, those skills were the ones that I acquired when I joined civic organizations and became a part of their leadership teams.”
|A sea of purple filled the coliseum Dec. 15 as graduates and their families enjoyed fall commencement ceremonies. (Photo by Marc J. Kawanishi)
More than 3,000 students were eligible to participate in commencement exercises, held at Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum. There are approximately 2,170 students for the fall semester and 888 graduates from the summer, according to the ECU registrar’s office. Of those, 2,138 were awarded bachelor’s degrees; the remainder of recipients received graduate or professional degrees.
Parrott, a public accountant who received a degree in business administration from ECU in 1965, had served as mayor since 2001. When Parrott graduated from college, he never thought he’d become involved in civic activities.
“Developing leadership skills that could be applied in public service was not on my early goal setting list,” he said. “But one day you find yourself helping a child at the Boys and Girls Club or taking food to a needy family or helping the community celebrate July 4th or working on the annual Christmas parade, and you begin to realize that just maybe you have made a difference in some lives.”
He urged the graduates to find ways to get involved that fit naturally with their own professional aspirations and interests as a way to help better themselves and others. (See Parrott’s remarks, p. 2)
Other speakers at the 99th ECU commencement included: ECU Chancellor Steve Ballard; Senior Class Officer Armand Vonsiatsky; Chair of the Faculty Mark Taggart; and UNC Board of Governors Charles Hayes.