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Pieces of Eight

ECU officials gathered March 29 to celebrate the groundbreaking for the new 129-acre North Recreational Complex. Digging ceremonial shovels into the dirt are (left to right) SGA President Cole Jones; Nance Mize, director of Recreational Services; Chancellor Steve Ballard; Garrie Moore, vice chancellor for Student Life; and Gina Shoemaker, project manager for the recreational complex. (Photos by Erica Plouffe Lazure)

Founders Week Sets Stage for Centennial

By Nancy McGillicuddy

Founders Week 2006 spotlighted a swatch of leaders, representing individuals who have led the institute from the East Carolina Teachers Training School to East Carolina University. With events held March 27 through April 1, the university community celebrated the school’s 99th anniversary with forums, groundbreakings and art demonstrations. Faculty, staff, students, community members and elected officials helped commend a university on the cusp of completing a century as a leader of higher education.

Leaders who have sought for decades to expand ECU’s impact on health care attended the groundbreaking of the East Carolina Heart Institute. The $60 million cardiac research and treatment center is slated to open in 2008. The afternoon ceremonial groundbreaking drew an assembly of leaders from all avenues, including U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole.

“The East Carolina Heart Institute will be another jewel in the crown of this world-renowned medical community,” said Dole. Also attending the event were Chancellor Steve Ballard; Dr. W. Randolph Chitwood Jr., who will direct the institute; Dave McRae, University Health Systems chief executive; and Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue.

The week also saw the groundbreaking of the North Recreational Complex, a 129-acre parcel of land north of East Carolina University’s main campus that will be home to a new athletic complex. The project will eventually include multi-sport activity fields, softball and baseball fields, a ropes course, volleyball courts and an 18-hole Frisbee disc golf course.

Chancellor Ballard said the facility’s groundbreaking coincides appropriately with Founders Week.

“We are here to celebrate East Carolina’s 99th birthday and to celebrate some great new facilities,” he said.

The complex will be completed in three phases. Phase I, a $6 million project slated for a fall 2007 completion, includes eight lighted fields, a 5.6 acre pond, a sand and sunbathing area and a field house restroom facility area. Phase II includes more athletic fields, volleyball courts, a Frisbee golf course and a boathouse. Phase III includes an indoor recreation center.

“We are committed to student success and the facilities will further our abilities to do that,” Ballard said. “This is another element to that commitment.”

ECU military leaders were honored during the week at a ceremony in front of the Victory Bell on campus.

“Today we honor the history and tradition of East Carolina University,” Ballard said. “We are very proud of the traditions we have at ECU with military programs and services.”

ECU alumnus Lt. Roger Vogel, who recently returned from a deployment in Afghanistan, spoke at the ceremony in honor of ECU’s current students and alumni that are military veterans or currently serving in the military.

“My education here has helped me get a good measure and perspective,” he said.

Another gathering of leaders took place during the Chancellor’s Forum on Leadership, moderated by Janice Faulkner. Present were 99 leaders, selected to represent the faculty, students, administration, staff, athletics and alumni of ECU, the Greenville and Pitt County community, the field of medicine and the military.
ECU alumni Ron Clark, Valeria Lovelace, Carol Mabe and James Maynard participated in the forum and were asked to define leadership and the role of East Carolina University in developing leaders.

The week’s events also included the presentation of three Founders Day awards. Gail Lee Jordan, retired assistant to the chancellor; Donald Y. Leggett, special assistant to the vice chancellor for University Advancement; and James L. Rees, professor emeritus in the School of Communication, were recognized for distinguished service to the university.

The three longtime ECU employees have a combined record of 112 years of service to the university. Each recipient had served under seven ECU chancellors during his or her career.

Traditional ECU Founders Week activities include the annual service that honors ECU’s students and alumni with military service. Above, Army Lt. Roger Vogel spoke at the March 28 service, held at the Victory Bell on campus. At right, ECU officials and community leaders gathered March 8 for the launching of the 99th anniversary celebration, with a graveside ceremony honoring ECU’s founder, Gov. Thomas J. Jarvis. At the lectern, David Goehring, co-pastor at Jarvis United Methodist Church in Greenville, reflected on Jarvis’ commitment to service and leadership. Next to Goehring is Austin Bunch, chief of staff for Chancellor Steve Ballard.


This page originally appeared in the April 17, 2006 issue of Pieces of Eight. Complete issue is archived at