Homecoming Recap


Thanks to everyone who came to help us celebrate Homecoming 2014 at ECU! It was a wonderful weekend full of many successful events and opportunities for alumni to reminisce and reconnect with their alma mater.

On Friday night, October 3, we honored our 2014 Alumni Award recipients at the Alumni Awards Ceremony and Dinner. On Saturday, October 4, we hosted a Homecoming Breakfast and Buccaneer Buffet tailgate.

The alumni association hosted several successful reunions over Homecoming weekend, including the Black Alumni Reunion, the Marching Pirates Reunion, the ECTC & ECC Reunion, and The Collegians Reunion.

To view photos of all these events, click here.

If you have any feedback on any of these events, or if you have any photos you’d like to share, call 800-ECU-GRAD or e-mail us at ecualumni@ecu.edu.

Playing Hard, Working Hard

By Sara Strickroot

Sam Madison ’93, ’97 is a pharmaceutical researcher by day and a musician by night.

Madison has spent the last 17 years working as a clinical researcher for the drug company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in Research Triangle Park.

“GSK recruited me before I had even graduated. I finished my thesis while I was already working in the HIV lab at GSK,” Madison says.

Madison spent five years in working in the HIV lab when he decided to go into clinical research. Working in clinical research has given him the opportunity to design trials and programs for drugs. His area of specialty for the last eight years has been oncology.

Aside from Madison’s work, he is a member of two different bands.

Madison played in many bands growing up. He was a member of the band “The Usuals” during his early years at ECU, when he decided to take some time off and pursue his music full-time.

Today, he is the guitarist/singer of the late 70s influenced rock/punk/pop band Bleeding Hearts and a member of the alternative-country twang band Hank Sinatra.

After some time, Madison returned to ECU and was ready to complete his undergraduate degree. “As a child, I had seen my father graduate from medical school and I thought that might be my calling,” Madison says. “So majoring in biology and going pre-med was my decision.”

Madison also received his masters in molecular biology and his focus became research in molecular biology and immunology.

In the past few years, Madison has slowed down his touring schedule.

“Work has to take precedent. I owe my entire career to the education I received at ECU,” Madison says. “I look at playing music now more as a hobby…that I get paid for!”

Creative Dreams Became True Reality For Alumni

Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 5.35.52 PM

By Sara Strickroot

Never-before business owners Duncan Stephenson ’13 and Luke Rayson ’11 opened up metalsmith company Horn & Heel as a way to expose people to the world of art and design by showcasing their skills and craftsmanship.

“We wanted to create something honest that we could both complement each other’s craft and utilize our skills to make something great. We wanted it to be a transparent collaboration that communicates Duncan’s aesthetic as an artist in the most truthful way,” Rayson says.

Stephenson is the metalsmith who designs and forges knives (Utilities), makes jewelry (Adornments) and crafts other metal goods (Remnants).

Rayson covers the visual aspect of the company’s brand. He is the director of visual communication and photography assets. He uses his talents to give Horn & Heel its visual identity and showcase the company’s uniqueness.

The company’s convenient size and specialization allows Stephenson to work based out of his home in Raleigh, NC; however, both gentlemen look forward to the growth of the Horn & Heel.

Rayson and Stephenson both attended ECU, where they became friends through classes they were taking in the School of Art and Design (SOAD).

Originally a business major, Stephenson quickly recognized his draw to art. “My father is a designer, and once I began taking metals, I fell in love with the medium and processes,” Stephenson says. “There’s just something about creating tangible objects that people can use and interact with, out of raw materials with fire and a hammer.”

For Rayson, all it took was an art elective and an enthusiastic grad student to help steer him into the SOAD program. “My favorite class was Black and White Photography, and to this day I reflect on the hours I spent in the dark room making something I was exited about,” Rayson says.

“We both have great memories of our time there and without ECU, we would never have become friends, we would never have become business partners and we wouldn’t have Horn & Heel—So we would say we are very glad we went to ECU,” Rayson says.