Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences at East Carolina University has chosen 2009 as an auspicious and appropriate time to commemorate the extraordinary career of Harriot. It has thereby charted a modest, but international set of commemorative projects and activities to occur throughout the year 2009. In taking this leadership in mounting a Harriot Quadricentennial the College acknowledges that it can best pursue this commemoration in collaboration with scholars, sister institutions, and "Harrioteers" around the world who also appreciate the many contributions of its namesake renaissance scholar.
Why North Carolina?
The centerpiece of the Harriot Quadricentennial is an international conference being held 1-4 April 2009 at four historic centers in North Carolina. Harriot, as a young and energetic scholar, visited the Outer Banks of North Carolina during 1585-1586 as part of an expeditionary group to examine the flora, fauna, geology, and climate of that part of America which was northerly to Spanish settlements. As a consequence of his ten month residence on Roanoke Island (located just within the Outer Banks barrier of on the coastal waters), Harriot was able to chart with amazing accuracy those same Outer Banks, to analyze the natural history of the realm, to befriend and successfully communicate with the native inhabitants of America, and to write the first book published in the English language describing carefully and accurately A Briefe and True Report on the New Found Land (1588).