ECU Networking in the Triad

The East Carolina Alumni Association is coming to the Triad! We’re hosting two networking events in June in Greensboro and Winston-Salem for all ECU alumni. Join us and meet fellow Pirates in your area as you expand your professional and social networks. Don’t forget to register in advance so we know how many people to expect!

The Greensboro Networking Reception will be held Tuesday, June 16 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Libby Hill Seafood Oyster Bar & Patio, located at 3920 Cotswold Avenue. The cost is $15 for current and joining members of the alumni association and $25 for non-members, which includes a dinner buffet and cash bar. Register by June 11. Featured alumni are:

  • Lauren Cooklin ’09, marketing coordinator for Cunningham & Company
  • Debra Wallace ’85 PhD, RN, FAAN, professor / senior associate dean for research and innovation at the UNCG School of Nursing and director at the Center for the Health of Vulnerable Populations

The Winston-Salem Networking Lunch will be held Wednesday, June 17 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Spring House, located at 450 N. Spring Street. The cost is $15 for current and joining members of the alumni association and $25 for non-members, which includes lunch and beverages. Register by June 11. The featured alumnus is:

  • Ernest Logemann ’68 and his wife Martha. Ernest is a CPA and partner-shareholder at Gray, Callison and Co., PA, a member of the ECU Board of Visitors, and a past chair and emeritus member of the East Carolina Alumni Association Board of Directors. Martha is owner of Logemann and Co., PA and an executive committee member of the ECU Women’s Roundtable.

For both events, dress is purple and gold business casual. Don’t forget to bring multiple business cards for a door prize drawing and to exchange with other attendees.

Our networking events are open to all alumni and friends of East Carolina. Members of the alumni association are eligible to pay a reduced price. Those who wish to join the alumni association to take advantage of member pricing on these and future events may do so directly on the event registration form available on our website.

Please note that advance registration is required by the stated deadline. Early registration is strongly encouraged, as space is limited depending on the venue. Some events may reach capacity before the registration deadline. Our events are contingent upon adequate registration numbers. Events that do not reach minimum registration requirements are subject to cancellation, in which case refunds would be issued.

Our networking events are a great way for alumni to tap into the power of the ECU alumni network and meet fellow Pirates in their area! Each event is led by featured alumni who are leaders in their industries and communities. We hold networking events in various cities throughout the year, so be sure to check out all our events listed on our networking event page!

2015 Alumni Survey Results

What do you think of East Carolina? If you’re like most alumni who responded to the survey we recently distributed, you are proud of our university and want to stay connected. Sent via e-mail in the spring of 2015, this 25-question Alumni Attitude Study was designed by an impartial party to help us gauge your perception of the university, your experience as a student and now as an alumnus, and what you’d like to see in the future.

This survey was the third in a series of three surveys contracted with Performance Enhancement Group, Ltd. These surveys were distributed in 2007, 2012, and 2015. This year, we received more than 1,400 responses, an increase from 1,100 responses in 2012.

We are very pleased with the results, which are comparable to previous years. A key figure is the alumni satisfaction index, which averages the results of several questions to represent general satisfaction of alumni. This year’s alumni satisfaction index is 83.75%, up slightly from 83.38% in 2012. When it comes to the performance of the East Carolina Alumni Association, 56% of responses were “good” and 25% of responses were “excellent.”

We’re proud to report our progress on the actions we have taken and will take to keep alumni satisfaction high. We expect improvement to continue as we keep evaluating the data and working to improve your experience as an alumnus.

The East Carolina Alumni Association’s mission is to inform, involve, and serve members of the ECU family throughout their lifelong relationship with the university. The results of this survey will guide our future plans, ensuring that we provide programs, activities, and communications that meet and exceed your needs and expectations of the alumni association.

Purple and Gold Pride

Pride in East Carolina keeps our university thriving, and it’s easy to see from the survey results that loyalty continues to reign true at ECU. Among the 1,400 responses, graduates of every decade are represented from the 1960s to the 2010s. Respondents also included donors and non-donors, members and non-members, graduate and undergraduate degrees, in- and out-of-state. When it comes to their current overall opinion of East Carolina, 92% of respondents said it was good or excellent, which is comparable to 95% in 2012. Experience as an alumnus has shown an increase through all three surveys. In the 2007 survey, 72% said their alumni experience was good or excellent. In the 2012 survey, that figure increased to 75%, and increased again to 77% in 2015.

  • (Q1) 95% of respondents said attending East Carolina was a good or great decision
    • 71% said great
    • 24% said good
  • (Q2) 79% of respondents said they promote East Carolina to others all the time or regularly
    • 48% said all the time
    • 31% said regularly
  • (Q3) 95% of respondents said their experience as a student was good or excellent
    • 59% said excellent
    • 36% said good
  • (Q4) 77% of respondents said their experience as an alumnus is good or excellent
    • 27% said excellent
    • 50% said good
  • (Q5) 92% of respondents said their current overall opinion of East Carolina is good or excellent
    • 59% said excellent
    • 33% said good

Indicate how much each of the following impacts your overall opinion of East Carolina. (Click the graph to view larger.)

150615AlumniSurveyQ16

Increasing the Value of Your Degree

According to our respondents, the number one factor that determines their overall opinion of the university is the value and respect accorded to their degree, more so than national rankings, media visibility, and athletic team wins. The university’s quality and variety of academic programs, preparedness of our graduates to enter the workforce, success of our alumni in their professions, and the ongoing promotion of these factors all ultimately increase the value of every degree from East Carolina and the prestige of the university as a whole. The value of a degree does not remain static as of the year it was awarded; it rises and falls with the life of the university. The East Carolina Alumni Association contributes to the life of the university and propagates the value of all East Carolina degrees by celebrating the accomplishments of our alumni. We do this through several outlets, including blog entries, magazine articles, newsletters, press releases, and social media.

Engaging Current Students and Young Alumni

A key trend we noticed this year was an increase in the willingness of young alumni to participate financially. Among those who indicated that they have never given to ECU but plan to do so in the future, 47% were young alumni. These are recent graduates who graduated in or after the Great Recession. They may not be able to donate now, but there is a great deal of potential for the future. In addition, young alumni are highly likely to advance the university though non-financial means like word of mouth and on social media. More than 50% of young alumni who responded to the survey said they promote East Carolina all the time. In addition to encouraging alumni to share their treasure, we should also encourage alumni to share their tales and give their time and talents.

In the 2007 survey, we noted the importance of engaging current students while they are on campus; after all, today’s students are tomorrow’s alumni! To this end, a student membership program called Forever Pirates was created in 2010. By 2012, it had 1,300 members. While this program has been on hiatus since the summer of 2014 due to several leadership changes, we are planning a re-launch in the fall of 2015. Several input sessions were held with students on campus over the past year to ensure the program suits their needs and interests. We welcome student and alumni feedback as we revamp this program.

Reaching Out of-State Alumni

While the majority (roughly 75%) of East Carolina alumni live in North Carolina, Pirate Nation spans all 50 states and several countries. Engaging out-of-state alumni is a major and ever-increasing role of the alumni association. In the 2012 results, geographic distance was the most cited barrier of participation in alumni activities for out-of-state alumni. In the 2015 results, the data shifted more toward time and other commitments as more common barriers. This could be indicative of our increased presence throughout the Pirate Nation. Over the past three years, we have increased out-of-state events like professional networking events, viewing parties, and social events. If you’d like to get together with alumni in your area or see a networking event in your city, let us know!

Communicating Effectively

One of the major responses we saw from this survey was a desire for more communication, particularly invitations to alumni association and university events. Respondents said e-mail was the most important method of communication, followed by the alumni magazine and the university website. Interestingly, social media was rated as only somewhat important. Respondents also wanted more clear communications regarding benefits and services. We know people are busy and not always able to attend events, but we’ll continue to send invitations and updates. To ensure that you are receiving our printed invitations and e-mails, be sure to update your information at PirateAlumni.com/UpdateInfo.

Continuing Opportunities for Feedback

Having a voice at ECU is important to our alumni, and the East Carolina Alumni Association is proud to serve in this role. We are always open to feedback. You can contact us at 252-ECU-GRAD (252-328-4723) or ecualumni@ecu.edu. Our door is always open at the Taylor-Slaughter Alumni Center at 901 E. 5th St. from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. We want to serve you, and your feedback is vital to shaping our programs, services, and communications.

This survey was commissioned by the East Carolina Alumni Association using non-state funds.

Upcoming Networking Events in Virginia

The East Carolina Alumni Association is hosting two networking events in Virginia in May. Make great connections with fellow ECU alumni and friends to build your professional and social networks!

The Roanoke, VA networking event has been canceled due to low registration.

The Richmond, VA area networking reception will be held Thursday, May 28 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at The Boathouse at Sunday Park. The address is 4602 Millridge Parkway, Midlothian, VA. The cost is $15 for alumni association members and $25 for non-members, which includes heavy hors d’oeuvres and beverages. Register by Thursday, May 21. Featured alumni are:

  • Garry Dudley ’92, executive sales representative for Merck Pharmaceuticals
  • Lee Anne Henderson Tragle ’94 MAEd, educator for Chesterfield County Public Schools and fitness instructor & AFAA Certified Personal Trainer

Our networking events are open to all alumni and friends of East Carolina. Members of the alumni association are eligible to pay a reduced price. Those who wish to join the alumni association to take advantage of member pricing on these and future events may do so directly on the event registration form available on our website.

Please note that advance registration is required by the stated deadline. Early registration is strongly encouraged, as space is limited depending on the venue. Some events may reach capacity before the registration deadline. Our events are contingent upon adequate registration numbers. Events that do not reach minimum registration requirements are subject to cancellation, in which case refunds would be issued.

Our networking events are a great way for alumni to tap into the power of the ECU alumni network and meet fellow Pirates in their area! Each event is led by featured alumni who are leaders in their industries and communities. We hold networking events in various cities throughout the year, so be sure to check out all our events listed on our networking event page!

Commencement Weather Update

WEDNESDAY EVENING UPDATE FROM ECU NEWS SERVICES

East Carolina University plans to hold its Spring 2015 commencement ceremony at 9:00 a.m. Friday, May 8 in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. The president of the University of North Carolina system, Dr. Thomas W. Ross, will deliver the commencement address.

Commencement will continue even if showers or moderate rain is experienced. In the event of severe weather, the university commencement may have to be cancelled. In this case, students will still have their individual college and departmental ceremonies.

University officials will continue to monitor the tropical disturbance that is currently off the coast of Florida. If a decision is made prior to 9:00 a.m. Friday regarding canceling the outdoor ceremony, a notification will be sent to campus and local media.

“If the outdoor ceremony is canceled due to severe weather, we don’t have an indoor facility that could hold all of our graduates along with their family members and guests. However, the individual unit ceremonies will be held,” said Dr. Chris Locklear, ECU Chief of Staff.

Almost 5,000 students are expected to receive degrees this weekend, including approximately 3,480 bachelor degree candidates and 1,360 graduate degree candidates, of which 80 will receive medical degrees from the Brody School of Medicine. The commencement will also include the 50 graduating members of the inaugural class of ECU’s School of Dental Medicine.

Even if the outdoor ceremony is affected by severe weather, the individual college, school and departmental recognition ceremonies – scheduled across campus inside buildings – will be held as planned. A complete listing can be found at http://www.ecu.edu/commencement.

Wright Brothers

East Carolina University has its own set of Wright brothers who are reaching new heights – not in flight, but in medicine.

When ECU senior Ajay Ajmera receives the 2015 Robert H. Wright Alumni Leadership Award this week, he will be the second in his family to do so. After graduation, Ajay will join his brother Arun Ajmera, a 2013 Wright award recipient, at the Brody School of Medicine at ECU.

150507ajmera-200w“I was surprised at the news, and I was extremely thankful for the honor from the alumni association,” said Ajay (pictured at left). “Arun was the first person I told about receiving the award.”

“I was very surprised when I heard from Ajay that he got this award too,” Arun said. “Getting the award is not easy and it is truly an honor. I am very happy that he also received this award. I think he really deserves it.”

The Robert H. Wright Alumni Leadership Award recognizes academic achievement, service to both the university and community, and demonstrated leadership. The East Carolina Alumni Association presents the award at spring commencement each year. Named for the first president of what was then East Carolina Teachers Training School, it is the most prestigious award presented to undergraduates at ECU.

“Arun mentioned the Wright award to me, and I became aware of it when he received it his senior year,” Ajay said. “However, Dr. Fraley, my nominator for the award, was the first person to tell me about the award and encouraged me to apply.”

Ajay will graduate summa cum laude with a bachelor of science in biology and a bachelor of arts in chemistry after three years of study. As an EC Scholar, he received ECU’s most prestigious merit scholarship, and is a member of the Honors College, with early assurance to the Brody School of Medicine. Arun was also a member of the Honors College and earned degrees in biology and chemistry. When Ajay gets to Brody, Arun will be in his third year of medical school and working on his first clinical clerkship.

ajmera“I can’t wait until Ajay joins the Brody family in August,” says Arun (pictured at right in 2013). “We have a great relationship. We grew up together and we were always together. Since we are similar in age, we ended up doing many things together growing up. Over time, if he ever needed any help, I would try to be there for him and help him out in any way I can to help him succeed and help him achieve his dreams.”

Ajay and four other 2015 Wright award recipients will be honored at the alumni association’s Senior Celebration Dinner on Thursday, May 7.

By Jackie Drake

‘From Molasses to Glasses’: Alumni Start Rum Distillery

Matt Newsome ’00 and Kelly Bray ’02 are two of four owners of Outer Banks Distilling. These Pirates are distilling Kill Devil Rum, which will hit North Carolina ABC store shelves starting this week.

IMG_2139(L) Kelly Bray and (R) Matt Newsome

“Our slogan for Kill Devil Rum is ‘from molasses to glasses’ because we do everything from start to finish in house,” says Newsome.

“Kill Devil Rum is the first craft distillery on the Outer Banks of North Carolina,” says Bray. “It had long been a goal of ours to start a brewery, but the recent growth in craft distilling and the history of the Outer Banks led us to decide that rum was a great alternative.”

Newsome was an art major at ECU but he switched his major to hospitality management with a business minor because of his experience working in restaurants. Bray obtained a degree in economics. Both of these alumni feel as though their majors prepared them for their roles at Outer Banks Distilling.

“My job is head of marketing and sales,” Newsome says. “Kelly and I are our art department as well. I get to use my art skills and my degree in hospitality management with this business by helping develop the logo and labels and I also help distill, label bottles, package, clean tanks, and hand brand our wooden cork closures.”

“After exploring other options, I settled on economics and enjoyed the broad view of markets and businesses that I still use today,” Bray says.  “My main job in our business is a distiller. I brewed beer professionally at local breweries for many years. I have also worked in web hosting and SEO with a local company, Outer Banks Media, which has given me the experience to manage our website.”

Outer Banks Distilling is utilizing social media and guerrilla marketing tactics to spread the word about Kill Devil Rum.

“Outer Banks Distilling currently sponsors local surfers and fisherman,” says Newsome. “We give the surfers stickers for their boards and we give the fisherman hats. If there is a cool photo of the surfer and you can see our logo on the board then we post it on our Facebook page! Every fisherman that catches a fish and takes a selfie holding the fish and wearing our hat gets a shout out on Facebook as well. We are selling not only rum but a lifestyle!”

Newsome and Bray decided to attend ECU for similar reasons. They wanted to stay relatively close to home and near the beach. Newsome’s sister attended ECU and Bray visited friends at ECU that showed him first hand what it was like to be a Pirate.

While at ECU, Newsome was involved in the Hospitality Management Association and Bray was a member of Sigma Pi fraternity and the Economics Club.

Newsome and Bray are still involved with ECU today. Newsome is a member of the OBX Pirate Club and Bray is a member of the East Carolina Alumni Association and tries to attend football games whenever he can.

“I always thought East Carolina University had something the other North Carolina schools didn’t; maybe we are just a little more down to earth,” says Bray. “And of course we are very proud to be able to say we are Pirates distilling rum!”

Attachment-1

By Sara Strickroot