The university's 94th anniversary of the day the General Assembly issued its charter began with a community leaders breakfast at Jarvis Memorial United Methodist Church. Participants in the breakfast program included Greenville Mayor Nancy Jenkins, Pitt County Commissioner Beth Ward and D. Jordan Whichard III, publisher of The Daily Reflector and a member of the ECU Board of Trustees.
A wreath-laying in Cherry Hill Cemetery at the grave of Gov. Thomas Jarvis, widely known as the father of ECU, followed the breakfast.
Campus events began with a ground-breaking for the Science and Technology Building, the largest ECU project funded by the higher education bonds approved by voters last fall. The $60 million facility, which will house the Department of Chemistry and the School of Industry and Technology, is scheduled to open for students in the fall semester of 2003.
Twenty-five participants lined up with gold-hued shovels to turn the symbolic dirt, inspired by the sight of the shovel used in the ground breaking for Jarvis Hall, the first campus building. That shovel was on loan from University Archives.
A procession that included robed faculty members as well as students and alumni preceded the Wright Auditorium program that featured a tribute to retiring Chancellor Richard Eakin. Among the speakers was University of North Carolina President Molly Corbett Broad, who noted that "nearly every facet of this institution now bears the Eakin imprint."
"But I suggest to you today," she added, "that Dick Eakin's greatest impact on ECU has yet to be seen. Because of his efforts in two statewide higher education bond campaigns, one in 1993 and the other last year, East Carolina University will be ready, prepared, and equipped to provide the highest quality education to the children and grandchildren of the 21st century. I can think of no greater legacy."
On behalf of the university, Brent Queen, president of the Student Government Association, accepted a portrait of Eakin. The painting will hang in the Spilman Building along with portraits of other ECU chief executives.
Also at the program, the winners of the annual Founders Day Awards were recognized. This year's honorees were James Bearden, director of the BB&T Center for Leadership in the School of Business, Sarah Pritchard, administrative assistant in the Developmental Evaluation Clinic, and Marion Sykes, associate director of admissions.
After the Wright Auditorium program, nearly 700 shared lunch on the grounds on Wright Circle. The menu included pulled pork, fried chicken, potato salad and baked beans.
Afternoon events included the dedication of the Langford-Joyner Clock Tower at Sonic Plaza and the Verona Joyner Langford North Carolina Collection at Joyner Library. A portrait of Mrs. Langford was unveiled in the collection area on the third floor of the library.
A portrait of Cynthia Mendenhall was unveiled later at the rededication of the Cynthia Lounge in Mendenhall Student Center. The last formal event of the day was the presentation of scholarships in the School of Education.
On Wednesday evening (March 7), ECU students honored Dr. and Mrs. Eakin with a carriage ride from the chancellor's residence on Fifth Street to Mendenhall, where Eakin was presented with a class ring for the Class of 2001.
ECU News Bureau