"Our aspirations for ECU are bold and significant, and, more importantly, they are all built on existing foundations," Ballard said as he was formally installed as the university's 10th chief executive. "Through the quality of our work and our will power, we can transform our region. We will do the right thing for our university and our state."
Ballard, looking ahead to the year 2015, said, "Just imagine ECU as the first medical school to not only cure diabetes through bariatric surgery, but the place where the molecular trigger for diabetes is identified and inhibited so that diabetes is a completely controllable disease. Our researchers are approaching that path breaking discovery."
Ballard also predicted that ECU could become a national center for technologies dealing with speech impediments and speech pathologies, a world center for research and technology transfer related to minimally invasive surgery, and a national center on nutritional genomics, specializing in prevention and nutritional mitigation of disease.
Ballard, who was appointed chancellor by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors last March, was sworn in by I. Beverly Lake Jr., chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court.
In a traditional ceremony attended by representatives of more than 100 American universities and colleges, Ballard was presented with the university mace and the chancellor's medallion by Molly Corbett Broad, president of the University of North Carolina system, and Jim Talton, chairman of the ECU Board of Trustees.
Ballard described a university ready for a new beginning. "We have a great foundation based on service, spirit, leadership and character," he said. "We have great opportunities and these opportunities overwhelm our problems."
He described ECU as a national quality university with a state focus. "We have a special affection and eye toward eastern North Carolina," he said. "North Carolina cannot be a great state without a thriving eastern region. It is clearly a time for a new beginning for eastern North Carolina, with ECU as a leader, a catalyst and a partner."
The chancellor noted the university's growth: "We have added 3,350 new students over the past three years, the largest absolute growth of any public university in North Carolina."
"We are growing because we add value to our students," he said. "We are committed to their success. We don't measure success by the income levels of students when they enter or their SAT scores, rather by their competencies when they exit." Turning to the future, the chancellor described a university that will be recognized in five areas in addition to its role in the innovation of health technology:
ECU News Bureau