Library receives record $8 million gift
(July 26, 2001)
East Carolina University has received a multi-million dollar gift from the estate of a retired school teacher–the largest gift ever for the university’s central campus.
The bequest from the estate of Verona Joyner Langford, when combined with earlier gifts from Mrs. Langford to the university, totals approximately $8 million. It will fund an endowment for the university’s Joyner Library.
Mrs. Langford, an ECU alumna, died last year. Her husband, Fred Timms Langford, also a former teacher, died in 1975.
Chancellor Richard Eakin said, "This is a truly memorable occasion for East Carolina. The library is the soul of the university, and Verona Langford’s vision and generosity will help assure the success and discoveries not only of current students and faculty but also of future generations of teachers and learners.
"The roots and traditions of this campus are in the preparation of school teachers and this magnificent bequest is made even more special by years that the Langfords spent teaching the children of eastern North Carolina."
Carroll Varner, director of Joyner Library, said the Langford endowment "is a wonderful and significant contribution to ECU students and faculty." Income from the endowment will be used for increased book purchases for the benefit of undergraduate students; to purchase each year a work of significance to the history or literature of eastern North Carolina, such as the first edition of an important historical work; and to enhance new faculty research areas, Varner said.
Verona Langford was the daughter of the late Agnes Barrett and Thomas Eli Joyner Sr. of Farmville. The eldest of three children, she graduated from East Carolina Teachers College in 1935 and went on to teach home economics in Richlands, Washington and Farmville before becoming the home demonstration agent for Pitt County and then for the eastern district of North Carolina.
After 14 years with the extension agency, she returned to the classroom to teach home economics at Benvenue School in Nash County until her retirement.
The university in March dedicated the Langford-Joyner Clock Tower outside the main library and the Verona Joyner Langford North Carolina Collection in the library in honor of the Langfords.
The Clock Tower, a new campus landmark, is part of Sonic Plaza, the multimedia sculpture created as part of the expansion and renovation of Joyner Library, which was dedicated two years ago.
The North Carolina Collection, housed on the third floor of the library, makes available current and historical information, in a variety of formats, pertaining to the entire state. In addition, materials reflecting the history of eastern North Carolina and its people are being acquired in an effort to build upon the North Carolina Collection's strength as an important research facility available to the people of Eastern North Carolina.