ECU to Participate in Giving Tuesday

socialmedia-profile-IMG-GT-Hashtag-1Mark your calendars! On Tuesday, December 2, East Carolina University will participate in Giving Tuesday. After Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday is a national day to give back. Donations will be made to non-profits and educational institutions across the country. ECU invites alumni, friends, parents, students, faculty, and staff to support the university by donating online on this global day of giving. Your gifts provide scholarships, enrich teaching resources and libraries, offer hands-on learning lessons, support research and the arts, deliver classroom enhancements, and afford study abroad living/learning opportunities – all of which help ECU attract and retain the best and brightest students and faculty. Your donation will be tax-deductible to the extent the law allows. If you’re considering ECU in your year-end giving, December 2 is the day to do it. Visit to learn more. Join in the conversation on Twitter and Facebook using #GivingTuesdayECU.

Board Applications Due December 31

Are you looking for a way to give back to ECU? Are you looking for service opportunities and leadership experience? You can gain all this and more as part of the East Carolina Alumni Association Board of Directors!

We’re looking for a diverse and enthusiastic group of alumni to help strengthen their alma mater by serving on our board. All degrees and class years are welcome. New members will start on July 1, 2015 and terms will last three years. Board members are expected to maintain active membership in the association and attend four meetings per year. Board members serve on a volunteer basis.

Board members advise alumni association staff, serve on various committees, and help select scholarship and award recipients. Members also share their professional expertise and individual talents to advance ECU. Finally, board members serve as advocates for the university by encouraging alumni involvement. The ultimate role of the board is to guide staff and volunteers in carrying out the mission of the alumni association and university.

Current first-term board member Tim Willis ’12 was motivated to serve on the board by his passion for ECU and desire to stay involved. “ECU is a rapidly growing institution and I want to help bring new ideas and traditions to help benefit future Pirates to come,” he says.

Willis’ favorite part of serving on the board is working with a team of like-minded people to continue to make ECU great.

“I most definitely recommend anyone willing to become actively engaged with the alumni association to apply to serve on the board,” Willis says. “Please do reach out to myself and/or other board members to learn about the commitment and the important impact joining will have. The alumni board is a huge outlet to connect with other Pirates as well as give back to East Carolina.”

Online applications will be accepted through December 31. Click here to apply or learn more.     

Ready, Set, Go to Italy!

Group photo Italy 2014

Make plans to travel to Italy this summer with the ECU College of Business! Faculty, staff, alumni, and friends are welcome to join this two-week trip from June 26 to July 10, 2015.

Your group will be traveling to many wonderful cities throughout northern Italy. Most travel will be done on a Gran Turismo bus to locations such as Lake Como, Turin, Asti, Florence, and the Italian Riviera. During the trip, there will be plenty of free time for you to explore and many enjoyable preplanned group explorations.

As a group, you will start in Milan and travel to Lake Como. From there, you will go on to Turin, which will include an exciting visit to Fiat, the car company. After this, you will continue on to Asti, where you will visit a vineyard and winery for wine tasting.

The trip continues on to Genoa, one of the busiest port cities in Italy, where your group will visit an olive oil production company. The next stop will be the fabulous Italian Riviera, where you will enjoy day trips to Portofino, Cinque Terre, and Portovenere. The base for this portion of the trip will be in La Spezia where you will take boats and ferries to each of the beautiful cities.

Your group will also stop in San Gimignano, the medieval walled town outside of Lucca. The trip ends in beautiful Fiesole right outside of Florence.

Other highlights include the Uffizi Gallery, the Duomo and Baptistery, the Accademia Gallery, Boboli Gardens, and more. You will also visit a local artisan.

The estimated cost per person (not including airfare) is between $2,100 to $2,800 depending on the number of participants.

For more information on this trip, please visit or contact Dr. Amy McMillan in the Department of Management at or 252-258-6463.

Successful Networking Events in Charlotte, Raleigh


Our recent networking events were a success! More than 50 Pirates were able to network in Charlotte and Raleigh earlier this month. The Charlotte reception on November 11 had 36 people in attendance, and the Raleigh breakfast on November 12 had 25 in attendance.

“As a Charlotte resident, it is always good to come across other Pirates,” said Atul Bhula, who attended the Charlotte event. “Seeing that ECU is over four hours away, staying connected with friends through events like this, and meeting other fellow Pirates, is always great.”

Bhula enjoyed hearing from featured alumnae Michaelina Antahades ’08, ’10, group and event sales manager for the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and Nicole Kloss ’02, director of corporate health and network development for Novant Health.

“I would highly recommend other alumni, or even any others that have some connection to the university, to attend events like this as it could open new doors,” Bhula said. “I plan to attend as many alumni events as I can, whether I am in Charlotte, Greenville, Raleigh, or any other cities. It’s always great to see purple and gold outside of Greenville, and I think that’s something that bonds our Pirate Nation together.”

The featured alumni in Raleigh were Jessica Calise ’03, marketing manager at PetPartners, and Tim Willis ’12, associate quality assurance engineer at Fidelity Investments and member of the East Carolina Alumni Association Board of Directors.

“I enjoyed the alumni breakfast because it’s nice to be around people who essentially come from the same place. We’re all advocates for the benefits and strengths that we’ve gained from attending ECU,” said Lindsay Saunders, who attended the Raleigh event.

“My favorite part of the event is the introductions when everyone gets up to just say who they are, what their background is, when they went to ECU, and where they are now,” Lindsay continued. “It’s neat to hear that in just a few moments without the static of walking around to each person making small talk. I also love hearing the speakers. I’m intrigued at the variety of people they have speak at these events.”

Many thanks to our networking event sponsor, Liberty Mutual, and our venues, Queen City Q and Irregardless Café.

Our next networking events are in Norfolk, VA on December 1 and in Washington, DC on December 2. The deadline to register for both these events is November 26. Advance registration is required. Come meet fellow Pirates in your area and expand your professional and social networks!

Alumnus Thinks Outside Degree

By Sara Strickroot

John Choquette ’11 is the author of the young adult series Burlwood Forest Trilogy. However, writing wasn’t always at the top of the list for this alumnus.

John Choquette photo

“Initially, I thought I would be entering the music business, working for a record label or studio,” says Choquette. Prior to attending ECU for his masters in sports management, Choquette received his undergraduate degree from UNC-Chapel Hill in public relations/sports communication.

“Entering a sports-related graduate program seemed liked the next logical step so I could learn more about the field from a management perspective. The sports management program at ECU was a great way to do this, and I’m so thankful for the opportunities that this decision provided,” says Choquette.

He worked as a graduate assistant at ECU and held a wide range of responsibilities including coordinating promotions and supervising teams of student workers on game day.

“The Pirate community is such a tight knit group, that it’s impossible to not fall in love with the university and its people,” says Choquette.

After graduate school he decided that he wanted to venture from his chosen path and write a book. Choquette had always wanted to write. “Somehow, I knew it was what I wanted to do. Growing up, I loved to tell stories, and when I found out I could build my career on that, I was so excited,” he says.

He wasn’t just interested in a book, but in his own publishing company. “I decided to release Burlwood Forest through my own publishing company, Pumpernickel Art,” says Choquette. “By creating my own brand, I would have the opportunity to grow closer to the consumer and build a better relationship with them. It’s been so much fun to interact with the readers of Burlwood Forest.”

To Choquette, “the Burlwood Forest is relatable to so many people because it’s about a boy named Michael Pumpernickel who is trying to figure out life. Michael finds himself in the middle of an age-old prophecy about a magical forest and a power-hungry fox obsessed with revenge and he is forced to grow up quickly. His world may be populated with deranged, one-eyed vegetable farmers and delinquent bass players, but ultimately it’s full of surprises and hard decisions, just like ours.”

“I hope the readers of The Chantey consider checking out Burlwood Forest. Like choosing ECU, it’s a decision you won’t regret,” says Choquette.

For more information on John Choquette and his debut novel, visit him at, and on Twitter @burlwoodforest.

December 2014 Pirate Career Cast: Mastering the Interview

Want to strengthen your interviewing skills? Join us on Wednesday, December 3 at 8:00 p.m. for the Pirate Career Cast on how to “Master the Art & Science of Interviewing.”

141203JohnKador141203JohnKadorbook Studies show the average job-seeker will go through 16 interviews before getting a job offer. Join John Kador, author of 301 Best Questions to ASK on Your Interview, to learn how you can maximize the opportunities you get. You will walk away with a strategy that gives you more confidence and control of the interview process.

Pirate Career Casts are monthly interactive webcasts that help East Carolina alumni develop their professional skills and advance their careers. The alumni association has partnered with Talent Marks to present nationally recognized speakers. Held the first Wednesday evening of every month, Pirate Career Casts are free for alumni association members and $10 for non-members. Log in from any computer with an internet connection with information provided upon registration.

Click here get more information and to register.

Alumnus’ Business Honored

SculleryMattA scullery is a small room used for washing dishes, but in Greenville, The Scullery means a great place to meet at a successful local restaurant.

The Scullery was named Greenville’s first Small Business of the Year by Uptown Greenville at the organization’s annual State of the District meeting on October 28.

“I was thrilled. It was a real honor to be recognized in that way among so many great businesses. It was a really nice surprise,” said owner Matt Scully ’04.

Since opening in June 2011, the Scullery has become a hub of downtown Greenville, serving breakfast and lunch along with fresh roasted coffee and homemade ice cream. The Scullery doubled its sales for the first two years, and business is still growing. ECU faculty, staff, students, and alumni are a big part of The Scullery’s clientele.

“They’ve been a huge support,” Matt said. “They were a big reason why we were able to start with so little; we already had a supportive customer base. We love seeing ECU faculty and students come in and have a place to meet and enjoy it.”

Matt and his wife Erin both graduated from the School of Music at ECU. They lived in New Orleans for a time, where Matt sang opera until Hurricane Katrina sent them back home to eastern North Carolina. They started catering on the side for friends and their church, until they got funding to open a place of their own from the Greenville Revitalization Commission.

“We’re so grateful to this community. We just want to give back,” Matt says. “We were taken care of when we were in need. It feels good to be able to provide something to the community that helped us.”

Matt says the education he received at ECU has helped him throughout this venture. “It’s funny, I have a music degree and I run a restaurant, but my degree definitely prepared me. Running a restaurant is somewhat like performance art. You have to be calm under pressure when everyone is watching. I still really do utilize a lot of those skills. But the whole college experience taught me the value of hard work.”

Matt enjoys working so close to where he went to college, and being part of a vibrant and growing downtown. “It’s a really exciting time to be in downtown Greenville.”