ECU alumni service awards presented
(Apr. 15, 2004)
Three North Carolinians this year won awards for their service and dedication to East Carolina University.
The Alumni Association's Distinguished Service Award is one of the most prestigious offered by the university to a graduate. Wianners are recognized for uncommon and outstanding service to the Alumni Association and the university. This year's winner is Betty Speir, a 1963 graduate of the university who served on the Board of Trustees from 1995 to 2003. Speir is a retired guidance counselor at North Pitt High School and a former member of the N.C. State Board of Education. She received her master's degree in educational administration from ECU in 1963.
The Alumni Association awarded Honorary Alumni Awards to James Boyce Black, speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives, and Betty Debnam, a former teacher who is the creator and editor of The Mini Page. This award is extended to individuals who did not attend the university, but adopted it as their own through outstanding commitment and service.
Black "has considerable influence over voting in key financial decisions," wrote his nominator. "The speaker has committed to the chancellor and has reaffirmed several times,, that he supports the cardiovascular institute for ECU. His voting record supports his commitment to the university."
Betty Debnam, who in 1969 created the children's newspaper insert, The Mini Page, was inducted into ECU's College of Education Hall of Fame in 2003. Later that year, she agreed to fund two initiatives at the university: The Debnam Early Literacy Resource Center in Joyner Library and the Debnam Early Literacy Scholarship in the College of Education.
The ECU Alumni Association will honor these recipients at its annual Awards Ceremony on May 7 at the Greenville Hilton. For more information about this event, which is open to all members of the ECU family, contact the Alumni Association at 1-800-ECU-GRAD.