February 20, 2018
East Carolina University’s Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences recognized its high-achieving first-year freshmen and transfer students at the college’s annual ECU Excels Awards Ceremony on February 19 in Harvey Hall.
In its ninth year, the event honored 590 Harriot College students who achieved a GPA of 3.0 or higher during their first semester at ECU. Honorees and their guests celebrated with cake and mingled with faculty and associate deans from the college. The awardees also received a certificate and had photos taken by a professional photographer. The full photo gallery is available online.
Dr. William M. Downs, dean of Harriot College, welcomed students and their guests to the celebration and congratulated the students for their accomplishments.
“The transition from high school to college is not easy,” Downs said. “ECU Excels is all about recognizing that you are already on the path to success and a timely graduation. It is a huge accomplishment.”
Following the dean’s remarks, three members of the Dean’s Student Leadership Council provided words of wisdom and encouragement to awardees on how to be successful throughout their academic career at ECU.
“You should be very proud of yourselves for being here,” said Virginia Vasquez-Rios, co-chair of the leadership council and a junior majoring in biology. “Continue to aim high for the rest of your college career.”
“Right now each of you are at different places. Some of you know exactly what you want to do with your lives. Others are still exploring, and some may change their minds, but no matter where you fall on this spectrum, it is incredibly important to seize the opportunities given to you,” said Vasquez-Rios.
She told the students that to be successful they need to get to know their professors, get involved at ECU, use their time wisely and persevere in trying to reach their goals.
Katharine “Katie” Chandler, co-chair of the leadership council, who will graduate in May with degrees in history, philosophy, religious studies and great books, said college may seem intimidating and stressful at first but to persevere.
“Don’t feel disheartened,” Chandler said. “The key to continued success is to harness your strengths.”
Chandler stressed that students do not advance on their own and that it is important to get to know the professors. She said many doors opened for her because of her connections with her professors.
“They really want to see you succeed,” said Chandler.
Mohin Patel, council member representative for the Department of Geography, Planning and Environment, told students to find something that makes them stand out.
“Find your passion, and you will find your purpose,” said Patel.
Patel told students there is no perfect path to their goals and to expect detours along the way, but not to be afraid of change.
“Failures do not break you. They become the foundation of your future success,” Patel said. “You all are capable of doing remarkable things with your life.”