The gift will endow two scholarships for East Carolina's Access Scholarship program, which provides support to students with proven academic potential and demonstrated financial need. BB&T's contribution will create the first two endowed Access Scholarships at ECU.
"We are pleased to be able to recognize Ken Chalk," said BB&T Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Allison. "Ken joined BB&T in 1975 and joined our Executive Management team in 1985. During his tenure in Executive Management, BB&T's assets grew from $2.5 billion to $136 billion.
"He also is the primary architect of BB&T's credit culture, which has proven itself through all types of economic cycles. Ken has made an extraordinary contribution to BB&T's growth and success. More importantly, he is an individual of the highest character and integrity in all aspects of his life." He retired Sept. 1.
Chalk earned both his bachelor's and master's degree in business administration from East Carolina University. He is former chair of the East Carolina University Foundation board of directors, and is co-chair of the board of the BB&T Center for Leadership Development at East Carolina University.
He also is a past board member of the N.C. Small Business and Technology Development Center and the Entrepreneurial Development Council of Eastern North Carolina, and a former dean of N.C. School of Banking (sponsored by the N.C. Bankers Association).
"I am very grateful to my associates at BB&T, the executive management team, and the board of directors for this recognition," Chalk said. "The Access Scholarship program is essential to help students who could not otherwise afford higher education to attend ECU and become successful leaders in their communities."
More than 9,000 undergraduate students at East Carolina University have demonstrated financial need-the highest in the UNC System. ECU is only able to meet 60 percent of financial aid requests from its students with the most need, according to data from the ECU Foundation. The Access Scholarship program provides an opportunity to attract the state's brightest students that might not be able to attend the university.
"BB&T and Ken Chalk are longtime friends and supporters of ECU, and we are proud of their roles with the university," said ECU Chancellor Steve Ballard. "This latest gift will provide both resources and attention to our efforts to make sure we remain accessible to the citizens of North Carolina."
BB&T has contributed more than $1.6 million in support of ECU's efforts to become the best leadership university in the state. In 1983, BB&T helped establish the university's BB&T Center for Leadership Development with a $250,000 grant. Throughout the years, BB&T has made several significant contributions to the center, including a $1 million donation in 2005.
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Kara Loftin, University Advancement