1962 Society will serve as a tribute to Laura M. Leary Elliott and other early black students, graduates, faculty and staff of East Carolina University. The society will annually fund scholarships to support current and incoming diverse student pirates, while preserving the legacy of trailblazers and pioneers of the University.
Mrs. Laura Marie Leary Elliott was the first African-American undergraduate student to receive a degree from East Carolina University. After graduation, as the valedictorian of her high school class, her scholastic aptitude, determination and commitment to excellence led Mrs. Elliott to enroll at East Carolina University to pursue her higher educational goals. She encountered many racial and other social barriers during her matriculation, leading to a deep sense of isolation. Despite her difficulties, in 1966, Mrs. Elliott received her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from East Carolina University. During Homecoming 2012, the University celebrated the 50th anniversary of desegregation, where Mrs. Elliott's contributions were acknowledged at what would be her very first and last home football game.
Laura Marie Leary Elliott Memorial Scholarship Fund
To honor her bravery and courage while integrating the institution, the Laura Marie Leary Elliott Memorial Scholarship Fund has been created to assist students pursuing careers in fields that are historically underrepresented by minority populations. This may include fields related to science, mathematics, engineering, technology, or any other field that applicants can demonstrate as being historically underrepresented by minority students. The scholarship recipient(s) must be enrolled full-time at East Carolina University, have a minimum grade point average of a 3.0 and must contribute to the diversity of the institution.
Thanks to the generosity of many alumni, family and friends, the initial endowment goal of $25,000 has been reached, with a goal of $125,000 by Homecoming 2018. The first scholarship will be awarded in spring 2015 to a deserving recipient.