ECU graduates 3,000
(May 5, 2006)
Sen. Mark Basnight urged the graduates of East Carolina University Saturday to use their degrees to serve their communities.
“You are our stars; you are our future. Give all the energy you have to make life rich for other people,” Basnight said to a full house at Minges Coliseum. “You have to give to others; do not be takers.”
Basnight was awarded an honorary doctorate of letters at the 10 a.m. commencement service. ECU Chancellor Steve Ballard congratulated Basnight on his lifetime of service to the region.
“East Carolina University salutes you for your focus on improving the lives of all North Carolinians, for your stewardship of the environment, your support for education, and your understanding of the importance of economic development,” Ballard said.
Faculty Senate President Catherine Rigsby urged graduates to make their worlds more vibrant and whole.
“We need to focus on actions that will bring us closer to the truth of who we are,” she said. “We hope you’ll never forget to focus on who you are.”
At the 2 p.m. ceremony, ECU awarded its highest service honor, the Jarvis Medal, to Dr. Andrew Best, a pioneering Greenville physician.
Dr. Best, who died in December, practiced in Greenville from 1954 to 2004 and served in a variety of leadership roles in the city and state. He was the first African American member of the ECU Board of Trustees and one of the first African Americans to serve on the University of North Carolina Board of Governors.
“Dr. Best’s tireless efforts are a model for the idea of service. He left an important legacy for all of us. He knew quite well the need for physicians and other heath care workers in the east,” said Julius Mallette, vice chancellor of telehealth medicine at the Brody School of Medicine, who received the honor on behalf of the Best family.
About 3,000 students were eligible to receive degrees. The morning ceremony recognized graduates from the Brody School of Medicine, the School of Allied Health Sciences, the School of Nursing, the College of Education, the College of Health and Human Performance, the College of Human Ecology and the College of Technology and Computer Science.
Graduates from the Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business and the College of Fine Arts and Communication were recognized at the afternoon ceremony.