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College of Nursing announces first endowed professorship named for former university Chancellor Emeritus Richard R. Eakin

GREENVILLE, N.C.   (Dec. 4, 2007)   —   East Carolina University's College of Nursing is announcing its first endowed distinguished professorship named in honor of former university Chancellor Emeritus Richard R. Eakin.

The announcement will be held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 6, in the lobby of the College of Nursing in the Health Sciences Building off N.C. 43.

The $1 million endowment in the ECU College of Nursing is made possible by a $667,000 challenge grant from the C.D. Spangler Foundation Inc. and $333,000 in state matching funds from the Distinguished Professors Endowment Trust Fund, created by the N.C. General Assembly in 1985.

ECU Chancellor Steve Ballard said, "This is a well-deserved honor for Dick Eakin and a special day for the College of Nursing. We are grateful for the vision and generosity of the Spangler Foundation."

The Spangler Foundation committed $6.9 million to fund an endowed distinguished professorship at each of the 16 University of North Carolina institutions in 2007. Endowed professorships range from $500,000 to $1 million. Eligible disciplines include high-need fields of education, engineering, nursing and the traditional arts and sciences. The Spangler Foundation named the professorships.

The Richard R. Eakin Distinguished Professorship will support the recruitment of a nurse scientist who has a history of funded research in an area that addresses the health needs of eastern North Carolinians. Eakin served as ECU chancellor from 1987 to 2001.

"The establishment of the Richard R. Eakin Distinguished Professorship will have a remarkable, lasting impact on the College of Nursing," said Dr. Sylvia Brown, acting dean of the College of Nursing. "It will provide an opportunity to attract an outstanding nurse scholar and researcher who can assist us in advancing the college as well as the university's research mission to improve the health of the citizens of eastern North Carolina. In addition, it will enhance the quality and reputation of our college and students will, ultimately, reap the benefits of this prestigious gift."

Beginning in 2008, the Spangler Foundation will invest up to $20 million over five years to help each campus qualify for one additional endowed chair each year, potentially adding 80 professorships systemwide. The plan is contingent on the N.C. General Assembly providing state matching funds annually through the Distinguished Professors Endowment Trust Fund. Started to encourage the creation of endowed chairs, the trust has provided matching funds for more than 300 professorships in the UNC system. Previously, Spangler and his family foundation have made donations to endow or complete 37 distinguished professorships across the system. A successful Charlotte businessman and advocate for public education at all levels, C.D. Spangler Jr. served as UNC President from 1986 to 1997.

The ECU College of Nursing was established in 1959, the oldest in the health sciences division, and has an enrollment of 1,047 students in baccalaureate, masters and doctoral nursing programs. It is the largest producer of new nursing graduates in the state and offers the only nurse midwifery plan of study and alternate entry MSN option for non-nursing bachelor degree holders in the state. The college is known for innovative online outreach efforts designed to increase access to education in rural areas. It serves as a center of excellence for leadership in nursing, professional nursing education, research, service and faculty practice in eastern North Carolina. The college offers program options for registered nurses and post-master's students to advance their education.


Contact: Crystal Baity | 252-744-2481