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ECU professor Lee Toderick, second from right, expressed his gratitude to two ECU students who performed CPR to keep him breathing until help arrived, after Toderick experienced a massive heart attack Sept 14. Students Andrew Langlois and David Mwangi are credited with saving Toderick's life. Pictured above with Toderick are Technology and Computer Science Dean David White, Langlois, Mrs. Toderick and Mwangi.

ECU Professor’s Life Saved by Student Heroes

Andrew Langlois and David Mwangi may not feel like heroes, but their quick response was crucial in saving the life of faculty member, Lee Toderick, who suffered cardiac arrest at East Carolina University.

Glen Gilbert, dean of the College of Health and Human Performance, presented Langlois and Mwangi with a plaque in recognition of their life-saving actions.  “We are extremely proud of Andrew and David for applying their training with such courage. The quick thinking and selfless response of these students is truly a heroic act,” Gilbert said.

On Sept. 14, Langlois and Mwangi were sitting outside near Mendenhall Student Center.  They saw Toderick, who had been sitting near them, collapse and fall to the ground.  They responded immediately.  

Langlois said, “After I saw him fall, I immediately dropped my stuff and knelt beside him. It was very obvious he was not conscious. I put him in the recovery position to see if he had just passed out.  After a few seconds I noticed his face was very blue and he was not breathing.”

The students performed CPR for five to seven minutes before Toderick regained his breath. Once Emergency Medical Services arrived, Toderick had a pulse and did not need the automatic external defibrillator.  Information received later indicated he had a massive heart attack.

Lt. Jason Sugg of the ECU Police Department was at the scene. He said, “In my opinion, if the patient had collapsed elsewhere, perhaps where there were untrained people, he would be dead today." He said the students "saved that man's life.”

Langlois, of Elizabeth City, is a health fitness specialist major and will serve as president of the Department of Exercise and Sport Science majors club in the spring. Mwangi, a native of Kenya who resides in Greenville, is a health education and promotion major and plans to pursue a master’s in public health after graduation in the summer.   

Toderick is a teaching instructor in the College of Technology and Computer Science.  He said, “These students and their parents should be commended for their strong moral character and compassion toward another human being. They clearly demonstrated the East Carolina University motto, servire.”


This story appeared originally in the Dec. 10, 2010 issue of Pieces of Eight. An archived version of that issue is available at