ECU staffer Travis Taylor locates books to be placed on the sales floor in the Dowdy Student Store stockroom. Employees like Taylor can benefit from a new scholarship providing tuition assistance for university staff. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Scholarship to assist with employee tuition costs at ECU

August 1, 2012

By Melanie Jock
ECU News Services

The East Carolina University Staff Senate is supporting full-time employees with a scholarship to cover costs for undergraduate or graduate level courses at the university.

The funds are intended for staff members who have exhausted eligibility for tuition assistance by taking more than the two courses allowed under the employee tuition waiver program. The scholarship will cover expenses for one or more courses, including tuition, fees and books.

“The intent was to provide monetary assistance to that group that might not otherwise be eligible for a scholarship,” said Johnnie Eastwood, an administration and finance representative for the Staff Senate.

“It’s to help reward and assist those individuals who are actively seeking to improve their education and improve themselves, therefore improving the quality of work at East Carolina University,” Eastwood said.
Gail Jordan

The scholarship was established in memory of Gail Jordan, a long-serving university staff member and a 36-year state employee. Jordan died in 2008 at 57, following a battle with cancer.

Jordan joined ECU in 1973 as a secretary in the Office of the Vice Chancellor of Business Affairs, eventually rising to the job of assistant to the chancellor in 2004. Upon retiring in 2005, she received the Founders Day award for service to the university.

“Investing in talent is a core element of ECU’s mission and purpose,” said John Toller, associate vice chancellor for human resources. “The scholarship is one important way that the entire university community can do something tangible to build future talent and capacity.”

“If employees are viewed as the ‘heart’ of the University, this scholarship honors the ‘soul’ of who we are and what we do,” Toller said.

Toller said that Jordan’s talent, attitude and supportive spirit came to mind as the gold standard of performance.

“ECU’s work environment is focused on exceptional service provided by competent, confident and committed staff,” Toller said.  “At its core, the work environment is built around service to and for others. It literally took only a few minutes to link Gail Jordan’s service impact on ECU as the standard around which to build this new scholarship opportunity.”

“Gail was one of the rare individuals that anybody could talk to,” said Eastwood.  “She was the embodiment of everything that is good and noble in a person. It was hard to talk to her and not leave feeling good or better at the end of that conversation.”

“I knew Gail well enough to know that she would be embarrassed and offended if this scholarship was focused solely around her,” said Toller.  “I believe the irony of having the scholarship bear her name is appropriate, and I hope Gail is forgiving.”

Two awards sponsored by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources to ECU’s Department of Human Resources helped fund the scholarship. ECU’s career banding implementation team won the 2009 SunGard Higher Education Innovation Award for technology innovation, which included a $3,000 cash award. A $10,000 award for community service in 2011 took the scholarship fund beyond the endowment level of $25,000, enabling disbursement of funds in fiscal year 2014.

ECU’s Staff Senate continues to develop and oversee the fund, both financially and contractually.

ECU employees wishing to donate to the fund may give with payroll deduction or one-time donation at www.ecu.edu/fscampaign. External donations may be made at http://giving.ecu.edu. In both cases, indicate Gail Jordan Scholarship Fund as the recipient.

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