Recent Successful Events

This spring has certainly been busy for the East Carolina Alumni Association! We’ve had several successful events over the past few weeks.

RecapHurricanesExactly 100 Pirates attended ECU Night at the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday, March 14. As the first event in our new “Bring the Whole Crew” series of family and social events, this was a great success. After enjoying a delicious buffet dinner, participants sat together is a special designated section and cheered on the Hurricanes as they played the Florida Panthers.

“Everyone looked like they were having a great time,” said Dennis Fryer, manager of inside sales for the Hurricanes, who graduated from ECU in 2009 with a communication degree. “Pirates are very passionate and it’s always exciting to be around a big group like we had. I was there for work but everyone was having so much fun. I’ve only been with the Hurricanes for about two or three weeks, so I really just walked into this event, which was planned by Rich Davis, but I’m so glad I got to be a part of it. I love to see Pirates supporting other local teams, so I definitely hope to see more events like this.”

RecapUNCTVPirates were also busy supporting education across the state. Around 20 Pirates volunteered for ECU Night at UNC-TV on Saturday, March 21. After receiving a brief training at the studio in Research Triangle Park, volunteers answered phones and received pledges from those calling in to the annual telethon. We gained some great exposure for ECU while supporting a good cause.

“I’ve volunteered for ECU Night at UNC-TV for three or four times now and it is always a great time,” said Kevin Mickle, who earned a master’s in accounting from ECU in 2005. Mickle works as the chief operating officer for Capital Marketing Group, a national independent marketing organization. “My favorite part is not only helping a good cause, but also representing our school’s brand in a positive way for the millions of viewers across our state. I would definitely encourage other alumni to participate. The UNC-TV staff do an awesome job of making everyone feel right at home and we all have a wonderful time.”

RecapCharlestonOn Tuesday, March 24, more than 20 Pirates met in Charleston for an evening networking reception. The featured alumni were elementary school teacher Samantha Blake ’04, ’05, resort sales manager Robert S. Baker III ’03, and surgical prosthetic purchasing agent Michael Dudley ’10.

“I had a wonderful time at the networking event in Charleston. It was a pleasure connecting with fellow ECU pirates there,” said Nina Rose, who graduated from ECU in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in communication. She is now the Director of Marketing at Trident United Way in Charleston.

She continues: “When I walked into the room, I was comforted by friendly faces decked out in purple and gold, who were eager to learn my ECU story. This experience brought my passion for ECU from Greenville, NC to my new home in South Carolina. East Carolina University made me the person who I am today. Following this event, I am eager and excited about how I can continue to give back and serve ECU and future alumni.”

Rose says she would definitely recommend the ECU networking events to ECU grads in their area. “It is amazing to join forces with other ECU alumni in your area who share a passion for giving back. By connecting with ECU alumni, we are able to strengthen our community through Pirate philanthropy.”

We’ve got lots more events coming up! Be sure to check them all out at

By Jackie Drake

Grammy-Winning Alumni

Michael Boswell ’94 and Harris Ipock ’10 sang on the album “Sacred Spirit of Russia,” which won a 2015 Grammy for Best Choral Performance. This album was performed by the choral group “Conspirare,” a professional choral group on the Harmonia Mundi label based in Austin, TX.


Boswell is an associate professor of music at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in Indiana. He teaches applied voice and serves as the director of choirs. Ipock is the resident conductor of the Harvard Glee Club at Harvard University.

After winning the Grammy, Boswell said he felt “elated! It is always a wonderful experience to work with director Craig Hella Johnson; so just collaborating with him is satisfaction enough. But it was also wonderful to delve into this deeply spiritual repertoire.”

54d8bc14ddd21.image-1Photo: Michael Boswell holds the Grammy-winning album
Photo credit: Tribune-Star of Terre Haute, IN

“Singing in Conspirare has been an experience beyond any of the wildest dreams I had while growing up,” says Ipock. “It’s hard to explain, but there’s something there that is felt by both the performers and audience that extends well beyond the realm of music-making. The Grammy was a very well-deserved token of recognition for the great things Conspirare and director Craig Hella Johnson have done for choral music.”

harris2-1024x768-summer-2013-winter-copyHarris Ipock

The singers met when Ipock was singing a concert with Conspirare at a conductor’s conference that Boswell was attending. They began singing together on the “Sacred Spirit of Russia” recording project. They have also sung together several times with the Santa Fe Desert Chorale.

“I always enjoy making music with people who have an ECU connection, because it’s nice to talk about my experience there with people who also know the place well,” says Boswell. “It is always a pleasure to work with Harris!”

Though they attended at different times, Boswell and Ipock both decided to attend ECU for similar reasons.

Boswell says, “When I was deciding on a college, ECU had a reputation of having one of the best music programs in the state. Because I had grown up close to Greenville, I attended several summer choral camps, which allowed me to get to know some of the faculty at that time. Given the reputation, familiarity, and proximity, it was the perfect choice!” Boswell majored in vocal performance.

Ipock chose ECU to pursue a master of music degree in choral conducting, after completing his undergraduate degree at UNC Chapel Hill. “I decided to take a shot at becoming a choral conductor, and enrolled a summer program in conducting led by the Director of Choral Activities at the time, Dan Bara. Within a few hours of the first day of the program, I knew I wanted to study with him. I don’t think I applied to any other school,” says Ipock.

While at ECU, Boswell and Ipock both participated in the Chamber Singers group.

“I am proud to have been a part of the ECU Chamber Singers under Dr. Rhonda Fleming,” Boswell says. “It has been great to see how that ensemble has evolved over the years to become the prestigious group it is today. I also participated in Opera Theater every semester after my freshman year.” ​

Ipock says, “As a conducting student, the core of my experience was with the East Carolina University Chamber Singers. By the time I entered school, the Chamber Singers had already garnered a national reputation as a superb collegiate choral ensemble, a distinction which they still enjoy today.”

Boswell says, “I am very glad I went to ECU! When I was a student, I always respected my professors, but I had no idea just how much they were providing me and how much I learned from them until I found myself teaching and performing as well. I still recall things they taught me and can safely say I would not be where I am today without them.”

“I can say without a doubt that my decision to attend ECU directly resulted in the success I’ve had so far. I’ve been extremely fortunate, and have had some incredible experiences and opportunities over the last several years, and have my mentors and colleagues at ECU to thank for making it possible,” says Ipock. I still keep in touch with some of the current faculty and students at the school of music. I also follow with great admiration and pride the continued success of the ECU Chamber Singers on Youtube and Facebook.”

By Sara Strickroot

2015-2016 Alumni Scholarship Recipients

The East Carolina Alumni Association is proud to announce the 2015-2016 Alumni Scholarship recipients. This year, 27 recipients will be awarded a total of $46,500. These Alumni Scholars will be honored at the Scholarship Luncheon on April 25, 2015.

Since 2005, the alumni association has awarded 224 scholarships totaling more than $302,000. Alumni Scholarships are given to full-time undergraduates at East Carolina University who demonstrate leadership, volunteer service, and academic excellence. Each spring, the alumni association awards approximately 25 scholarships in amounts of $1,000 or $2,500 for the following academic year.

Alumni Scholarships are funded by proceeds from the association’s ECU Alumni Scholarship Classic golf tournament each fall and the Pirate Alumni Road Race and Fun Run each spring, as well as generous donations from alumni and friends. You can support the Alumni Scholarship program by running or volunteering in our road race on Saturday, April 11 at 9:00 a.m. Or, you can donate online by clicking here.

Italics indicate a second-time Alumni Scholarship recipient.

East Carolina Alumni Association Scholarship ($2,500)

  • Keith Winston Dunbar of Greenville, NC; exercise physiology major
  • Darcy Harrington-Brown Dupree of Raleigh, NC; nursing major
  • Zachary Hammer Evans of Arden, NC; psychology major
  • Marisa Michele Giglio of Marlborough, MA; criminal justice major
  • Annaliese Sutton Gillette of Winterville, NC; hospitality management major
  • Lucas Thade Hopkins of Greenville, NC; biology major
  • Madison Shea Parsons of Charlotte, NC; marketing major
  • Kirsti Holthe Robertson of Charlotte, NC; nutrition and dietetics major
  • Emma Nicole Shirley of Cary, NC; exercise physiology and Hispanic studies double-major
  • Kathryn “Katie” Elizabeth Stanley of Greenville, NC; political science major
  • Maya Lawann Williams of Greensboro, NC; social work and English double-major

East Carolina Alumni Association Scholarship in memory of Yvonne Pearce ’82 ($2,500)

  • Najee Jalice Brown of Charlotte, NC; communication and entrepreneurship double-major

East Carolina Teachers College (ECTC) Scholarship ($1,000)

  • Emery Elizabeth Bulla of Asheboro, NC; speech and hearing sciences major
  • Jessica Nicole Buss of Fayetteville, NC; applied sociology major
  • Amber Madison Heere-MacLeod of Douglassville, PA; elementary education major
  • Mackenzie Elise McNamara of Pineville, NC; family community services major
  • Stephanie Maria Morales of Rocky Mount, NC; exercise physiology major
  • Jordan Bethany Thomas of Boone, NC; art major
  • Matthew G. Vogel of Morganville, NJ; management major

Donald Y. Leggett ’58, ’62 Alumni Scholarship ($1,000)

  • Amanda L. Blakley of White Plains, MD; birth-kindergarten teacher education major
  • Danielle T. Holdner of Holly Springs, NC; child life major

Mary Jo Outland Baugh ’55 Alumni Scholarship ($2,500)

  • Erika M. Dietrick of Greenville, NC; biology major

Megan Grace Lavinder Memorial Scholarship ($1,000)

  • Aenia Saad Amin of Greensboro, NC; multidisciplinary studies and Hispanic studies double-major

New York Metro Alumni Chapter Scholarship ($1,000)

  • Michelle K. Gianvito of North Brunswick, NJ; business and marketing education major

Pitt County Chapter Scholarship ($1,000)

  • Lauren Elizabeth Frye of Greenville, NC; finance major

Tidewater Virginia Alumni Chapter Scholarship ($1,000)

  • Brianna Blaise Ingram of Virginia Beach, VA; elementary education major

Washington/Metro Alumni Scholarship ($1,000)

  • Keira Rachelle Harris of Bowie, MD; finance major

Member Spotlight: Captain David R. Herndon ’05

Bio Portrait

Air Force Captain David R. Herndon ’05 knows a lot about service. He is dedicated to serving both his country and his alma mater.

Herndon is finishing up a deployment to Headquarters Resolute Support in Kabul, Afghanistan as the military assistant and aide-de-camp to the deputy chief of staff for strategic communication.

From his post in Afghanistan, Herndon recently joined the East Carolina Alumni Association as a Centennial Pirate, after being prompted by his father. Herndon says this is especially fitting since his father has been his example for his whole life.

“My father is my inspiration, role model, and best friend,” Herndon says. “I recall him taking me to plenty of air shows and visiting his reserve unit when I was growing up. He retired as a lieutenant colonel after more than 34 years of honorable service and every day, I salute him for sacrificing and showing me what it means to serve. When I go off on tangents about the greatness of ECU, he always asks what I’ve done recently to give back and ensure its greatness continues. I’m one of the proudest Pirates you’ll ever meet, so it was an easy decision to join the alumni association.”

Herndon enrolled in the Air Force ROTC program at ECU during his freshman year. Originally from the Triangle area, Herndon was considering out-of-state schools, but a visit to ECU and the Air Force ROTC detachment changed his mind. “I talked it over with my parents after that initial visit and we agreed ECU was the best decision. It remains one of the best journeys I’ve taken in my life,” he said.

Herndon earned his bachelor of science in communication. While at ECU, Herndon also served as student body vice president. Some of his favorite memories are those from the campaign trail with the Student Government Association. He also enjoyed his aerospace courses and leadership labs with the Air Force ROTC program.

“The School of Communication at ECU definitely put me on a solid track to support the rigors of handling international communication portfolios,” he said. “ECU not only gave me that foundation, but provided me with an opportunity to network and think globally when exploring communication concepts. My biggest takeaway from my undergraduate experience was the importance of continued life-long learning. There was a banner above the entrance of the Air Force ROTC detachment that read ‘Following Today, Leading Tomorrow, Learning Forever.’ I take that message with me everywhere I go.”

1560744_10102193065211753_1936797137953890315_nAfter his deployment, Herndon will return to the Pentagon where he works as a public affairs officer at Headquarters Air Force, with additional duty as a social aide to the president of the US with the White House Military Office.

By Jackie Drake

2015 Wright Award Recipients

The East Carolina Alumni Association is proud to announce the recipients of the 2015 Robert H. Wright Alumni Leadership Award. These five students will be presented with the award during commencement ceremonies on Friday, May 8.

The most prestigious award for undergraduates at East Carolina University, the Wright award recognizes academic achievement, service to both the university and community, and demonstrated leadership. Recipients are recognized as those who will make a positive impact on their respective professions and communities.

In addition to receiving the Wright medallion at commencement, recipients are given a lifetime membership in the East Carolina Alumni Association.

  • Ajay Ajmera of Greenville, NC; biology and chemistry double-major
  • Matthew Ryan Baucom of Marshville, NC; chemistry and biochemistry double-major
  • Jessica Katlyn Jewell of Clayton, NC; communication major
  • Shayna Nitin Mooney of Winterville, NC; neuroscience and international studies double-major
  • Kristi Noelle Wilkerson of Mastic, NY; nutrition major


By Jackie Drake

Bring the Whole Crew to ECU Day at Sylvan Heights Bird Park!

What’s a Pirate without a parrot? ECU alumni and friends now have an exciting opportunity to get up close and personal with birds of all kinds, courtesy of the East Carolina Alumni Association.

Join us for ECU Day at Sylvan Heights Bird Park in Scotland Neck, NC on Saturday, April 18, which is also Earth Day! This is another event in our Bring the Whole Crew series of social events, so alumni are encouraged to bring their friends and family members including children. Special pricing is available for alumni association members and their guests. For more information about registration fees and to register, click here.

ParrotBring your whole crew for a close look at more than 2,000 ducks, geese, swans, owls, flamingos, parrots, peacocks, and other exotic birds from around the world in walk-through aviaries throughout the 18-acre facility.

Registered participants will receive a private behind-the-scenes tour of the Avian Breeding Center from Brent Lubbock ’03, the park’s membership and development manager and an ECU graduate. This tour will only be given to those participating in ECU Day! The breeding center is home to more than 170 species of birds and cares for more than 1,000 hatchlings each year. Another special presentation will cover “Science at Sylvan” by Assistant Curator Dustin Foote.

When not on the tour or at the science presentation, participants can access all the park’s exhibits like the interactive Landing Zone, the Wetlands, the Bird’s Nest Treehouse, and the Beaver Pond Blind. Plus, enjoy special Earth Day activities throughout the day. Don’t forget to wear your purple and gold to show you’re part of our crew!

For more information, call 252-ECU-GRAD (252-328-4723).

By Jackie Drake

Photo used with permission from Sylvan Heights Bird Park. Click here to see more photos.

Join us for the Senior Celebration Dinner on May 7

SeniorDinnerMembers of the East Carolina University class of 2015 and their guests are invited to a Senior Celebration Dinner on Thursday, May 7, hosted by the East Carolina Alumni Association.

Celebrate under the stars with us as we honor the accomplishments of the graduating class and welcome them to the ranks of proud East Carolina alumni. Also attending will be members of the class of 1965 participating in their 50th reunion. Don’t miss this special night uniting Pirates past and present!

SeniorDinner2The event will begin at 6:00 p.m. under tents on the campus mall. Dinner will include roast beef, herb-crusted chicken, roasted new potatoes, garden greens, vegetable medley, rolls, and peach cobbler for dessert.

Parking will be available at the bottom of College Hill with a free courtesy shuttle to the mall. This event will be held rain or shine.

The cost is $17 for seniors and $28 for guests. The registration deadline is Monday, April 27. However, this is a popular event with limited seating that fills quickly each year, so advance registration is strongly encouraged.

After dinner, stay for the Senior Candlelight Ceremony where the class of 1965 will pass the torch of Pirate pride to the class of 2015.