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State flag gift honors nursing legacy, family ties

Nov. 25, 2015

One of Sydney Howard's favorite childhood memories is helping her grandmother, Rep.Julia Howard, campaign for political office.

"We would give out mints to people and say, 'Vote for Nanny," laughed Sydney, an East Carolina University Honors College student studying in the College of Nursing.

Nursing students Sydney Howard and grandmother, Rep. Julia Howard
ECU Nursing student Sydney Howard and
her grandmother, NC Rep. Julia Howard

Now her grandmother, who is serving her 12th term in the North Carolina House of Representatives, is reciprocating that support. She requested a North Carolina flag to be flown over the state capitol building to recognize the College of Nursing – an honor typically reserved for veterans and important personages.

Rep. Howard presented the framed flag with a letter from North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory at a Nov. 19 banquet held by ECU's Beta Nu chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing.

"Everything you're doing, you're doing right,"Rep. Howard said of ECU. "When these young folks come out, their future is set."

Beta Nu members donated more than $500 to the group's annual scholarship fundraiser the night of the banquet so that the flag could be gifted to the college as a permanent keepsake. The college will permanently display the flag in the Health Sciences Building.

Rep. Howard said it made her proud to know the flag will still be at the school 20 years from now, a sentiment that College of Nursing Dean Dr. Sylvia Brown shares.

"Our mission at the college is to educate the next generation of nurse leaders to serve our state,"Brown said. "To have those efforts recognized with the help of Julia Howard at the state level is an amazing honor."

For Sydney Howard, a member of Beta Nu who will graduate in May 2016 with her bachelor of science in nursing, the flag gift represents the convergence of two things she loves dearly. One reason the Lewisburg, Penn., native chose ECU nursing was because she knew it would put her close to her grandmother.