ECU athletics campus to be named for Grady-White Boats

Published 5:40 pm Friday, August 7, 2020

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GREENVILLE — East Carolina University Director of Athletics Jon Gilbert announced that Grady-White Boats has committed to the largest donation in ECU Athletics and Pirate Club history. In recognition of this gift, the ECU athletics complex will be named the Grady-White Boats Athletic Campus.

Grady-White Boats’ gift will support the funding of a proposed state-of-the-art weight training facility located within the current athletic footprint that will benefit all sports programs. To commemorate this significant donation, five entrance signs to the athletics campus will feature the Grady-White Boats name.

“We are incredibly grateful to Grady-White Boats and Eddie Smith for their generosity and investment in our athletics department,” Gilbert said. “Grady-White is recognized as one of the most renowned boat manufacturers in the world and we are thrilled with the partnership. Eddie’s passion for eastern North Carolina and the Greenville community is undeniable. His generosity and commitment to our athletics department as we all endure these difficult times inspires me about what we can accomplish at this great university with the support of our community and alumni. This gift is a continuation of Grady-White Boats long-term investment in ECU. They have contributed generously over the years with gifts to many departments throughout the university, and multiple scholarships — all helping ECU be even stronger for the future.

“This transformational gift will support all sports programs and the overall welfare of our student-athletes. Current and future Pirates will be impacted by this gift for years to come. We hope this gift will inspire others to invest in our student-athletes.”

When complete, the distinctive, lighted signage to the ECU Grady-White Boats Athletic Campus will increase the pride of everyone associated with Pirate Nation. Signs will be at the main entrance to the athletics complex off of Charles Boulevard, as well as the entrance to Clark-LeClair Stadium, Fieldside Drive, Berkley and 14th streets and Charles Boulevard and Ficklen Drive.

Founded in 1959, Grady-White Boats builds 26 models from 18 to 45 feet at its 500,000 square-foot facility in Greenville. The company has been under continuous private ownership since 1968 by Eddie Smith, NMMA Hall of Fame member. Grady-White has been awarded every third-party customer satisfaction award ever presented in the marine industry, including the National Marine Manufacturers Association Customer Satisfaction Index award for all 18 years the recognition has been granted. The company was awarded Highest Ranked Customer Satisfaction in the coastal fishing boats segment by J.D. Power Associates for all nine years that studies were conducted in the marine industry.