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Second Century Campaign kicks off at ECU, receives first leadership gift

GREENVILLE, NC   (Apr. 2, 2008)   —   East Carolina University publicly kicked off its Second Century Campaign, the university’s first capital campaign in 15 years, on March 27, the day the university marked Founder’s Day.

At the event, ECU Vice Chancellor for Advancement Mickey Dowdy announced the financial target for the campaign, $200 million by Dec. 31, 2012. To date, $91 million has been raised toward that goal. ECU Chancellor Steve Ballard and head football coach Skip Holtz were among the dignitaries who spoke to the nearly 400 ECU friends and supporters at the gala held at Rock Springs Center in Greenville.

“Although we have set a financial target for the campaign, its true focus is not fund raising; it is enriching, changing and saving lives at East Carolina and in the region and state as a whole,” Dowdy said.

Also, Dowdy announced a leadership gift by former state Sen. Thomas F. Taft and his wife, Dr. Elizabeth Doster Taft, a professor at East Carolina’s College of Education, to the Second Century Campaign. Their contribution to ECU will provide $1.25 million in support for the university’s College of Education to fund math and science education.

With matching gifts from the C.D. Spangler Foundation and the UNC system, the Tafts’ donation will fund a distinguished professorship for science education and endow a scholarship fund for students studying math and science education in ECU’s College of Education, the largest producer of educators in North Carolina.

“Senator and Dr. Taft’s donation is a truly incredible gift for the university and our College of Education,” said Dowdy. “This contribution to the Second Century Campaign will not only improve the education offered to science educators at ECU, but it will improve science education across the state as those students graduate to become teachers themselves. Senator and Dr. Taft’s connection to and love for ECU are obvious and I am so grateful they chose to support ECU in this way.”

The Second Century Campaign will raise funds to fulfill the strategic plan set out by Chancellor Steve Ballard last fall. The plan’s strategic initiatives include expanding and strengthening scholarship programs, establishing distinguished professorships, endowing established cultural programs, strengthening research programs with a direct impact on economic development, expanding research into the cause, treatment, and cure of diseases most prevalent in the region and state, and supporting the construction of new campus facilities.

“The kick off of the Second Century Campaign marks the beginning of a four-year journey for East Carolina,” Dowdy said. “It is a journey that will chart the course toward a bold vision for the university, and we hope you will join with us in making that vision a reality.”

Additional information on the Second Century Campaign can be found at

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Contact: ECU News Bureau | 252-328-6481