Parents, friends and even youth pastors helped incoming students set up their rooms for the fall semester Aug. 18, when East Carolina University opened residences hall for moving in. Among those settling in their rooms at Garrett Hall were members of the ECU Honors College, which draws academically gifted students to campus. The first day of classes is set for Tuesday, Aug. 23. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)



'Spirited campus' comes alive on move-in day

By Jeannine Manning Hutson

Get ready for the traffic in Greenville to increase and restaurants to get a little more crowded. East Carolina University residence halls began move-in on Thursday. Through Sunday, approximately 5,500 students will move into the 15 residence halls on campus.

The university will welcome approximately 27,000 students to campus – physically and virtually—when the semester begins on Tuesday, Aug. 23, the first day of classes. Of that number, about 5,300 will be new students to ECU – a combination of almost 4,000 freshmen and 1,300 transfer students. Those first-year students enter with slightly higher SAT scores and GPAs than last fall’s incoming freshmen.

Associate Provost for Enrollment Services John Fletcher said Thursday that the estimated enrollment at ECU for the fall semester is expected to be slightly lower than last year’s.

“Last fall we had 27,783 students and we believe that enrollment for fall 2011 will be slightly less than that with around 27,700 students,” Fletcher said.

Official enrollment numbers will not be available until later in the semester.

“One of the numbers we’re excited about,” Fletcher said, “is that we’re very close to reaching our 82 percent retention goal that was established by the UNC General Administration. So, we’re looking to be at that number for the returning students for this fall.”

The first class of the ECU School of Dental Medicine arrived on campus Monday for their orientation week. The 52 new dental students are all North Carolina residents, representing 32 counties. The 28 men and 24 women – all earned bachelor’s degrees and six have master degrees – will begin their classes Monday, Aug. 22.

Dr. Roslyn Crisp, president of the Old North State Dental Society, attended a Monday’s welcoming event and praised the mission of the new school to work in underserved areas of the state and educate dentists who want to stay in the state to practice.

"I've been in dentistry 33 years, and in my opinion this is the best thing to happen to dentistry in North Carolina since I've been here," said Crisp, a pediatric dentist with offices in Burlington and Yanceyville.

New Brody School of Medicine students have also gone through orientation and on Aug. 12 received their white coats signifying their entrance into the field of medicine. The 38 men and 40 women are all N.C. residents and come from 28 counties.

“Best and brightest”

The Honors College will welcome 106 new students this fall into the program, said Dr. Richard Eakin, interim dean of the Honors College, which is in its second year. The college is a successor to an honors program that’s been at the university since the 1970s.

The students live together their first year on campus in a residence hall, this year in Garrett Hall, allowing students to form study groups along with friendships. The college offers a unique combination of experiences for an undergraduate program focusing on leadership skills, service activities and global understanding.
Honors College students Matt Edwards, Taylor Lawless and Shayna Mooney, left to right, speak during a back-to-school media event on campus. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

“The college is probably best represented by the fact that it’s built on several tenets,” said Eakin, who served as chancellor of ECU from 1987 to 2001. “Those tenets are that we want to attract – and we do attract – academically gifted students of the highest caliber.

“We know these students have great promise – for leadership and service. We also want to focus our students’ work on a global understanding. We think it’s important for them to know about other cultures and immerse themselves in other cultures through study abroad and other programs we have here at the university,” said Eakin.

Students in the Honors College take standard curriculum courses along with special seminars, which are offered by faculty across the university and are often interdisciplinary. The students also perform a senior research project, Eakin said.

“We help bring some of the best and brightest students to ECU by virtue of the Honors College and those students help the entire institution become a better place,” Eakin said.

One of those incoming students at the Honors College is Shayna Mooney of Winterville, who is also an EC Scholar — the most prestigious academic scholarship program the university offers.

She has also been accepted into the Early Assurance program at the Brody School of Medicine. That means if she meets certain academic requirements she will be admitted to medical school at ECU after college graduation without having to compete with other applicants or take the Medical College Admission Test.

Mooney, who plans to become a primary care physician, will be a neuroscience major at ECU.

She applied and was admitted to three colleges, and ECU won out.

“I spent a year at the Brody School of Medicine and I got to know the faculty there really well. And I got to do medical research. And that’s not something every high school student can say that they do,” Mooney said.

During her senior year of high school, she was a participant in the Honors Medical Program at the Brody School of Medicine working in the physiology lab of Dr. David Tulis.

“I can see myself at Brody and I knew this was the place for me. That further drove my decision to come to ECU so I can go to the Brody School of Medicine. The faculty really wants you to succeed and they are there to guide and help you and that’s something that really drew me to ECU,” she said.

“I’m enthusiastic to be part of the second class. We get to build, shape and mold the Honors College, give our own ideas, and help make this a better program for future students. I’m excited to see how the Honors College will be in a couple of years from now,” Mooney said.

Matt Edwards of Greenville is also an Early Assurance Program participant at Brody School of Medicine along with being a second-year Honors College student.

“I was considering several schools at the time I came to ECU (for a tour). I was struck by the community feeling, noticing it was inclusive here at ECU and even more so now with the Honors College. I met the faculty at ECU… and they seemed more focused on the students and teaching than any one else I had met. I was excited to be part of the inaugural class,” Edwards said.

Moving In

In Jarvis Residence Hall, the Major family of Mint Hill was rearranging the room’s furniture for daughter Hannah and her roommate, both first-year students. Hannah and her mom, Sandy, supervised and directed Scott, dad and husband, and Hannah’s twin brother, Jacob, as they moved the dresser and desk.
Incoming freshman Hannah Major fixes her loft bed while her mother Sandy and father Scott look on.
“We’ve tried every possible position for this furniture and I think we’ve finally got it,” Scott Major said.

Hannah plans to double major in biology and English. “I like the spirited campus… it seemed like a good fit,” she said.

The Majors also have two younger sons, a fourth-grader and a sixth-grader, Noah and Isaac.

Jacob and Hannah’s mom, Sandy said with a laugh, “Yes, we’re ready for her to leave,” as Hannah hung clothes in the closet.

“They came into the nest together, and they are leaving together. We’re two dishwashers short, two chauffeurs short, and two short-order cooks short. They do it all. Their little brothers are going to miss them,” she said. “Her daddy said that he’s probably going to cry on the way home. It will certainly be more quiet without her. She’s the talker of the two.”

Jacob will move into UNC-Charlotte Friday with plans to major in graphic design or architecture.

Not far across campus, the Dowdy Student Stores was relatively busy, according to Bryan Tuten, interim director.

Close to 1,500 students this semester took advantage of ECU’s Textbook Reservation System.

“We’re distributing textbooks that were reserved over the summer and charged out over tax-free weekend. So the students are picking those up early, but the official pick-up is this weekend,” he said.

Events at ECU planned for students before classes begin include:

Aug. 20: Meet the Pirates, 6-8 p.m., Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. Students will be able to meet players, coaches and trainers of the ECU Pirates football team.

Aug. 21: ECU Stars, 7-9 p.m., Wright Auditorium. A night of vocal performances featuring some of ECU’s most talented students modeled on “American Idol.”

Aug. 22: “Every Pirate Needs a Map,” New student welcome and convocation, 4-6 p.m., Minges Coliseum.

Aug. 22: Pirate Palooza, 6-9 p.m., Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. This free event is for ECU students and will feature live music, inflatable attractions, give-aways, and food.


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