ECU celebrates 100 years
General Assembly holds special session on campus
By NIKIE MAYO, News Editor
GREENVILLE — East Carolina University celebrated its 100th birthday Thursday, and the General Assembly came to town to honor the institution’s impact on the region.
In a largely ceremonial session held at Wright Auditorium on ECU’s campus, the state Legislature passed a bill — House Joint Resolution 460— honoring the day the General Assembly of 1907 created Greenville-based East Carolina Teachers Training School, which would later become ECU.
Much of the joint session was spent touting the university’s influence on rural eastern North Carolina.
ECU’s Brody School of Medicine was ranked in a 2006 U.S. News and World Report edition as one of the top 10 medical schools in the nation in three categories, including rural medicine. Its fine arts and performing arts programs are among the largest and most distinguished on the East Coast, according to the resolution.
But the college is perhaps best known for its education program.
ECU has graduated more teachers for North Carolina’s schools than any other college in the state, said Rep. Edith Warren. The Pitt County Democrat is a former teacher and an ECU alumna.
That was the goal of legislators a century ago and is a goal of today’s lawmakers who face a “desperate shortage” of teachers, she said.
Warren recalled her time as an ECU student, “going to sock hops.”
Warren, who was raised near rural Bethel not far from the university, attributed her success in part to her college education.
When Sen. Charles Smith Dannelly was recognized to speak, the Mecklenburg County Democrat acknowledged that he might seem out of place, not having any local ties.
That friend was the late Sen. Ed Warren, a Pitt County Democrat and an ardent supporter of ECU.
Senate leader Marc Basnight, D-Dare, drew laughter from the crowd when he talked about what ECU means to his family.
ECU Chancellor Steve Ballard told Basnight, “We’d welcome your readmission if you’ll just send in a picture.”
Ballard thanked legislators for investing in the university. Plans on the university’s horizons include an $87 million dental school.