Kirk Little '82 and Dasha Little '81
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Philanthropy News Summer 2014

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Johnsrude family establishes scholarship

Mrs. Wanda Johnsrude of Greenville and her five children have established a scholarship in memory of her husband, Dr. Irwin Stanley “John” Johnsrude. The scholarship provides a need-based scholarship to a deserving student at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University who serves the university community in a similar fashion as the late Johnsrude, who died in 2010.

“It is such an honor to be able to help a medical student,” Wanda Johnsrude said. “Philanthropy was very important to my husband, as he worked his way through school and knew the difficulties firsthand.”

Johnsrude was born in Calcutta, India, to missionary parents. His family relocated to Canada, where he received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Saskatchewan and medical degree from the University of Manitoba. He completed his internship at Winnipeg General Hospital and practiced general medicine for four years in North Dakota. He then pursued advanced training in radiology, completing a residency in general radiology and a fellowship in cardiovascular radiology at the University of Minnesota.

The Johnsrudes married in 1955. In 1965, he arrived at Duke University Medical Center, where he developed a program in cardiovascular radiology that became internationally renowned. He remained at Duke for 13 years, attained the rank of full professor, spoke frequently at national and international conferences and taught many aspiring radiologists.

In 1978, he was recruited to join Eastern Radiologists and was given a faculty appointment to the medical school at ECU. While in Greenville, Johnsrude continued his academic productivity. He continued teaching and practicing medicine until his retirement.

In 2002, he received the Silver Medal from the North Carolina chapter of the American College of Radiology for his outstanding work and impact on patients, families and practitioners. Johnsrude touched many lives with his empathy, warmth and a humility that was remarkable for a man with his many accomplishments.

‘I wanted to lean forward’

Dasha Little ’81 represents her alma mater well through her company’s support of injured service members. She and her husband, Kirk Little ’82, also are faithful contributors to several programs at East Carolina University.

Little has donated to academic affairs, the colleges of Allied Health Sciences, Business, Fine Arts and Communications, and Health and Human Performance, and student life. She is one of the Incredible Women of ECU. She joined the ECU Medical & Health Sciences Foundation board in February and spoke at the ECU Women’s Roundtable in October.

Little founded Apogee Solutions Inc. in 2002 in Chesapeake, Va. The company provides allied health management, operations, training and technology integration to government and private sector organizations. She is president and CEO of the company while Kirk Little, who recently was inducted into the ECU Distinguished Military Service Society, is vice president and chief operations officer.

Apogee Solutions has more than 160 employees in 13 states and the District of Columbia and provides allied health management, technology integration, and operations, training, and logistics consulting services to the U.S. government.

“I wanted to lean forward and use my creativity to venture into the counseling and student services career field,” said Little, who completed a master’s degree in counseling while her husband was serving in the Air Force.

“At that time I knew that having a portable degree and skills would make me employable in many duty sites and in many work situations. My love of people and serving led me to the vocational rehabilitation career field.

“I am very thankful for the excellent instructors and administrators at ECU who saw promise and leadership qualities within me and called those capabilities forward to be my passion and vocational direction,” Little said.

Little said that ECU has become a “destination and a lifestyle of living” that aids her business.

“It has helped Kirk and I learn to focus on the fact that people are important, relationships are to be valued, and leadership and influence are to be shared. We are grateful to be proud Pirates and sing ECU’s praises often,” she said.

The Littles’ four children attended or attend ECU. Forrest Little graduated in 2009, followed by sister Meredith in 2012. Younger brothers Robert and Raleigh Little are current students.

—Lauren Edmondson

Honoring a father’s wish

Sandy Reel of Winterville talks about what motivated her and her husband to include ECU in their estate plans:

“Our journey to Laupus Library began in 2010 shortly before my dad, Bernard Sandick, died. It was his profound wish that I include in my estate plan, as well as my husband’s, George, one of the two universities where he received his degrees. (He received an undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master’s in psychology from ECU.)

“I grew up in Greenville, and East Carolina College as I knew it then, had always been a part of my family’s life. So my decision was easy. I just didn’t know the how and the where to keep the promise that I had made to my dad.

“As a young boy growing up in Chicago during the depression, most of his free time was spent in the public library. He would tell me that the library saved him from the streets and propelled him to graduate from two universities and into the field of economics and psychology.

“It wasn’t until I accidently ran into a Kiwanian friend, Dr. Dorothy Spencer, then director of the Laupus Library, that I realized Laupus was a serious consideration. The final signing took place at the Laupus Library.

“Nestled in the heart of the medical community of the university is this powerhouse of digital technology. I thought of the students that entered these doors and the impact that these future health professionals would make in the medical field. I also realized that Laupus must be ready to meet the needs of these students. One thing became critically apparent: Laupus would need financial support, not only from the university level, but from the private funding sector.

“As I left Laupus the day of the final signing, I thought about the connection of the young boy in Chicago, sitting in a quiet nook in a library, and the final signing at Laupus, also a library. My husband and I kept our promise to my dad and in doing so we honored his memory.”