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Legacy Honored
At a Feb. 16 luncheon honoring the legacy of ECU’s African-American faculty and staff, Lola Thompson (Academic Programs) addresses attendees while panel members (from left) Kimberly Baker-Flowers, Mark Newell, Linner Griffin, Virginia Hardy and Paul Cunningham prepare to speak. (Photo by Christine Neff)

African-American Faculty, Staff Legacy Honored

By Antwan Staley

The East Carolina University Office of Institutional Diversity and the Organization of African-American Staff sponsored an African-American Heritage Luncheon, “A Celebration of the Legacy of ECU’s African-American Faculty and Staff,” Feb. 16 in Mendenhall.

Following the meal, prominent ECU faculty and staff shared their success stories in a panel discussion. Among the speakers was Kemal Atkins, vice provost for Student Affairs, who spoke about his own personal heritage and how he came to the position he is in today.

“A number of people have shaped the person that I am today,” he said. Most influential, Atkins said, were his parents.

Additional panelists included Paul Cunningham, dean and senior associate vice chancellor for Medical Affairs at the Brody School of Medicine; Mark Newell, assistant professor in Trauma and Surgical Critical Care; Virginia Hardy, senior associate dean for Academic Affairs at the school of medicine; David Dennard, history professor and director of the African and African-American Studies program; Lathan Turner, senior associate dean of students; Kimberly Baker-Flowers, chief diversity officer; and Linner Griffin, associate vice chancellor for Academic Programs.

Carroll V. Dashiell Jr., director of ECU Jazz Studies and Jazz Ensemble, and Tara Worrell, administrative support associate with Institutional Planning, Assessment and Research, provided musical entertainment.

Chancellor Steve Ballard also addressed luncheon participants, praising the Organization of African-American Staff. “We have every resource here at ECU to make this university a great national and international university,” Ballard said. “I believe this organization can help us achieve greatness.”

Lola Thompson, administrative support association in Academic Programs and chair of OAAS, said the group helps provide a unified voice to the administration and the university on topics that affect African-American staff and students on campus.

“We are just trying to make the African-American employees at ECU aware that there is a place they can come to discuss problems or issues on campus,” Thompson said. The organization is important, Thompson said, because it allows the opportunity “to share other’s success stories and to hear about hardships they have faced in their lives.”

Membership is open to all ECU employees. For more information about OAAS, contact Lola Thompson at 328-5358,



This page originally appeared in the March 20, 2009 issue of Pieces of Eight. Complete issue is archived at