(Video by Rich Klindworth)


Women's Roundtable honors alumnae and raises money for scholarships

Feb. 10, 2017

By Rich Klindworth
ECU News Services

Some things in life are worth the wait, and for those involved with the Women’s Roundtable at East Carolina University’s Incredible Women Series was such. The event was delayed for four months because of Hurricane Matthew. Eleven alumnae were inducted Feb. 9 during the event that raised funds for scholarships.

“This event is all about celebration,” said Sue Collier, chair of the Women’s Roundtable. “It’s about celebrating the lives of the women who are being recognized as incredible women of ECU – their lives, their contributions to not only the university but to their communities and to their professions. And it’s also about celebrating student success.”

The women have different backgrounds, but all have risen to the top of their respective fields and excelled in helping others. 

“I know people who have been inducted before and they’ve been some of my mentors and friends, so I’m very humbled to be able to be in that category,” said inductee Annette Peery ’96, who is also the associate dean of the undergraduate degree program in ECU’s College of Nursing. Peery is a nine-time member of the Servire Society, which recognizes ECU faculty, staff and students who perform 100 hours or more of volunteer service in the community.

Catherine Staton was one of the first speakers for the Incredible Women Series event.


Linda Thomas ’81 is another Incredible Woman honored during the event which is held every three years. Her career grew because she was willing to take a chance on different opportunities. After college, she started as a radiation protection technician at Catawba Nuclear Station and moved up from there, retiring as the director of human resources business partners at Duke Energy.


“You just try to do the best you can through your career and hope that in some way, you can impact or have some kind of lasting impression on people as you go along the way,” Thomas said. “Living needs to matter.”


The students who attended the event said they were inspired to meet the Incredible Women and hear their stories.


“To me, it seems the sky is the limit. It’s a little cheesy to say, but it just makes me want to do more and achieve more and it even makes the goals I have seem possible,” said ECU sophomore Glenesha Berryman, who also spoke to the audience about her experience as an Honors College EC Scholar. “It’s really awesome to just be around women who are really invested in the university but also invested in us as students.”


The Women’s Roundtable is working to endow an Honors College Scholarship and an Access Scholarship. The Incredible Women Series is a chance to raise money for those scholarships to help the next generation of Incredible Women earn their degrees at ECU.


To highlight the importance and the need for the scholarships, one former and four current students told the audience of nearly 300 how their scholarships have impacted their lives.


“I think it’s great. All of us that are in the room today that are speaking are either a product of the Honors College Scholarship or the Access Scholarship,” said ECU senior Charlotte Pearsall, who is an Honors and Access Scholar. “We want to say something in our speeches about how thankful we are, but we just can’t find the words.”


With a spotlight on her in the darkened room at the Greenville Convention Center, Pearsall told those in attendance that she never thought she’d be able to go to college because she and her family couldn’t afford it. However, thanks to her scholarships, she is graduating with her undergraduate degree in just three years and will now go to graduate school.

Associate Dean of the Undergraduate Program in the College of Nursing Annette Peery received her medal for being inducted as an Incredible Woman.


“I never thought I would get this far – I never thought I’d have the opportunity to get this far,” Pearsall said. “I just do what I can to keep up my GPA and work as hard as I can and make an impact so that one day, I can be a donor and help somebody else.”


Thanks to the Incredible Women paving the road for them, students like Pearsall and Berryman have examples who show their dreams are indeed possible.


“What I want younger people to see and ECU students as well is to know that the sky is the limit, and they can have a global impact,” Thomas said.


The following alumnae were inducted this year into the “Incredible ECU Women” group, joining the 117 previous inductees:

  • Angela Allen ’81, Raleigh, retired IBM Executive;
  • Alta Andrews ’74, Ayden, director of Community Partnership and Practice in the ECU College of Nursing;
  • Charlene Bregier ’82, Charlotte, director of the Hinson Art Museum and Visual Arts coordinator at Wingate University;
  • Mary Chatman ’90, ’96, ’12, Savannah, Georgia, chief operating officer and chief nursing officer at Memorial University Medical Center;
  • Karen Evans ’80, Washington, D.C., lawyer partner with The Cochran Firm;
  • Sarah Evans ’01, Darien, Connecticut, partner at J Public Relations and 7th and Wit;
  • Paulina Hill ’04, Charlestown, Massachusetts, principal at Polaris Partners;
  • Annette Peery ’96, Greenville, associate dean of the undergraduate program in the ECU College of Nursing;
  • Jamie Sigler ’01, San Diego, California, partner at J Public Relations and 7th and Wit;
  • Cathy Thomas ’79, ’86, Raleigh, branch manager with Community and Clinical Connections for Prevention and Health for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services;
  • Linda Thomas ’81, Charlotte, retired director of Human Resources Business Partners at Duke Energy. 


The Women’s Roundtable at ECU was founded in 2003. Its mission is to promote the commitments of ECU by funding student scholarships and building leadership and service capacity among women.  


For more detailed information on the newest Incredible Women, visit http://go.ecu.edu/4a341a3c.


To make a charitable gift to The Women’s Roundtable, Access Scholars or Honors College, or to ECU visit www.ecu.edu/give

Former Women’s Roundtable Chair Gail Herring congratulates Incredible Women inductees and talks about the importance of funding scholarships. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

Gail Herring