Help us Welcome Students to ECU!

Alumni, do you remember the excitement of getting ready to come to ECU? Do you want to share your memories of ECU with incoming students from your area? Then join us for a Pirate Sendoff this summer! Help us welcome incoming students and send them on their voyage to campus in true Pirate style.

The East Carolina Alumni Association, in partnership with the Office of Parent and Family Programs, will host a series of 10 Pirate Sendoffs this summer across the Pirate Nation to welcome freshmen and transfer students coming to ECU. Incoming students and their families can meet fellow students, parents, and alumni from their area before coming to campus this fall. Alumni are encouraged to attend to share memories, give advice, and strengthen the bonds of the Pirate Nation!

Alumni can register at

  • Greensboro: Thursday, July 16 (this is a change from the original date)
  • Charlotte: Sunday, July 19
  • Raleigh: Thursday, July 23
  • Hillsborough: Saturday, July 25
  • Hickory: Sunday, July 26
  • Fayetteville: Friday, July 31
  • Wilmington: Saturday, August 1
  • Washington, DC: Thursday, August 6
  • Norfolk, VA: Friday, August 7
  • Nags Head: Saturday, August 8

Pirate Sendoffs are free for incoming students; the cost for family members and alumni varies depending on the venue. Refreshments are included. Pirate Sendoffs are held rain or shine. Space is limited so be sure to register in advance!

Alumni, if you know a freshman or transfer student coming to ECU this fall, encourage them to attend a Pirate Sendoff near them! Students and family members can register at

Hit the Water in Charlotte!

The East Carolina Alumni Association invites Charlotte-area Pirates to “Bring the Whole Crew” for a day of fun at the US National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, NC on Saturday, July 18! This 700-acre outdoor facility on the Catawba River provides land and water activities for all ages and skill levels. Join fellow Pirates for some fun on the water!

The main activity will be a private whitewater rafting trip just for Bring the Whole Crew participants. Skip the public first-come, first-served line! This trip includes instructions and is open to all experience levels. After that, guests can enjoy any of the activities at the center on their own, such as kayaking, paddle boarding, zip lining, climbing, obstacle courses, mountain biking, and more! Equipment is either provided or available for a rental fee.

Click here for more information or to register. Advance registration is required. No registration at the door. 150718whitewater02

Event Updates

Due to low registration numbers, our social event at Jungle Rapids has been cancelled and our networking events in the Triad have been postponed until the fall (dates TBD).

The Wilmington networking event on June 19 and the social event at the National Whitewater Center in Charlotte on July 18 are still on.

Be sure to check for the full list of upcoming events. All our events are contingent upon adequate registration numbers.

Recent and Upcoming Events

It’s been a very busy spring at the alumni association, with events and activities continuing this summer!

Our Pirate Alumni Road Race & Fun Run had almost 450 runners. This event raised more than $6,000 for the Alumni Scholarship program! Everyone enjoyed the brighter, bolder colored powder this year. Thanks again to those who ran or donated and also to our wonderful volunteers!2015roadrace

Graduation is always an exciting time. We welcomed new alumni at the Senior Celebration Dinner and Candlelight Ceremony on May 7, and we honored alumni of 50 years at the class of 1965 Golden Alumni Reunion. The senior dinner was a maxed-out event with more than 500 participants. We had 21 members of the class of 1965 participate in the reunion.


Our series of family and social events, Bring the Whole Crew, continues! More than 30 people came to our special tour and tasting at Williamsburg Winery on May 31. Pirates enjoyed getting to know one another in a beautiful historic setting.


Virginia Pirates also got a chance to connect at a networking reception in the Richmond area on May 28. Tweny-five participants heard from featured alumni Garry Dudley ’92 and Lee Anne Henderson Tragle ’94 MAEd at The Boathouse at Sunday Park.

More activities are coming up across the Pirate Nation! We’re coming to the Triad with networking events in Greensboro on Tuesday, June 16 and in Winston-Salem on Wednesday, June 17. Then we’ll be in Wilmington for a networking event on Friday, June 19 and a Bring the Whole Crew event at Jungle Rapids Family Fun Park on Saturday, June 20. And we’ve got an outing to the US National Whitewater Center in Charlotte on Saturday, July 18.

Be sure to check out for all our events!

Want to get invitations to events in your area? Make sure we have your current e-mail address by updating your information with us!

Association Honors Faculty with Alumni Awards for Teaching

Faculty play a vital role in shaping students’ college experiences and maintaining bonds after students graduate from East Carolina University.

To this end, the East Carolina Alumni Association sponsors the University Alumni Awards for Outstanding Teaching and the Robert L. Jones ’58 Award for Teaching Excellence. The Office for Faculty Excellence coordinates the University Teaching Awards Program with the Faculty Senate Awards Committee and the University Academic Council.

These awards were among several given at the sixth annual Founders Day and University Awards Celebration on April 29 in Hendrix Theatre.

The 2015 University Alumni Awards for Outstanding Teaching went to Dr. Christine Kowalczyk, assistant professor in the Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management, and Dr. David Loy, associate professor in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies.

Kowalczyk has been teaching at ECU since August 2011. She works with the ECU chapter of the American Marketing Association. She was selected by the Advertising Educational Foundation as one of 15 participants from across the nation for a visiting professor program in New York City in the summer of 2013 to gain current understanding of the advertising industry.

“Marketing is all around us, and I spend each day relating the topics we are learning to everyday examples,” she said in her teaching statement. “I challenge my students to think more critically. I encourage them to question what companies are doing for marketing and think about why the companies are doing what they are doing.”

One of her former students, David Rosenberg, said, “She has continuously helped me to succeed in my learning career even after I had completed her class.”

Loy is a nationally respected expert in therapeutic recreation who has been teaching at ECU since 2001. He has been integral to the success of ECU’s annual Adapted Recreation and Wellness Day, which has been held for more than 15 years. He received the 2010-2011 Ray Martinez Award for Excellence in Teaching from the College of Health & Human Performance.

“In all my classes, I build experiences that mimic and imitate real life learning,” Loy said in his teaching statement. “I feel it is my calling to bring my practical knowledge to students so they can apply it in a way that makes a difference in our world.”

“The best experience I had in my college career was taking Dr. Loy’s camping with disabilities class in the summer of 2010,” said Lauren Walters Harrell ’11, now the director of wellness at Cypress Glen Retirement Community. “He has been a great asset to me as I continue to learn and progress in my career.”

The 2015 Robert L. Jones ’58 Award for Teaching Excellence was given to Dr. Kris Kirschbaum, an assistant professor in the School of Communication.Kris-Kirschbaum

Kirschbaum has taught health communication at ECU for more than seven years. In 2011, she was recognized as the most inspiring faculty member in the School of Communication. In 2013, she received a STAR Teaching Award from ECU.

Kirschbaum believes student can be lifelong learners. “My goal as a professor is that students are curious about the world and hungry for more knowledge, even after a semester is over,” she said in her teaching statement.

“I am confident that my academic and professional success is in large part thanks to Dr. Kirschbaum’s investment in me during my time as a graduate student,” said Ryan A. Miller ’11, who is now a manager at MAXIMUS Center for Health Literacy.

The East Carolina Alumni Association is proud to recognize these faculty members for their dedication in preparing students to become successful alumni.

The portfolios of winners of the Robert L. Jones Award for Outstanding Teaching and the Alumni Association Awards for Outstanding Teaching, along with those for the Board of Governors Awards and the Max Ray Joyner Award for Outstanding Teaching in Distance Education are kept in the Office for Faculty Excellence in Joyner 1001 where they serve as resources on excellent teaching.

By Jackie Drake

We’re coming to Wilmington!

Ahoy, Port City Pirates! The East Carolina Alumni Association has two events in Wilmington this month. First is a professional networking lunch on Friday, June 19. Then join us for a family-friendly social outing to Jungle Rapids Family Fun Park on Saturday, June 20! Don’t forget to register in advance for either event to secure your spot.

The Wilmington networking lunch will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Friday at Dockside restaurant located at 1308 Airlie Rd. This event is open to all alumni and friends of East Carolina. The cost is $12.00 for alumni association members and $22.00 for non-members, which includes lunch and beverages. Attire is purple and gold business casual; don’t forget to bring lots of business cards to exchange and enter in the door prize drawing! Register by Friday, June 12. Featured alumni are:

  • Scott Diggs ’89, business, hotel, and parking consultant
  • Melanie Welsh ’86, president, Envision Mortgage Corporation

Bring your whole crew for ECU Day at Jungle Rapids Family Fun Park from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday. Owner and ECU alumnus Bobby Rippy ’75, ’96 will be giving a Pirates’ welcome, and PeeDee the Pirate will be making an appearance! Come have fun with the whole Pirate family. The cost is $26 for alumni association members and $36 for non-members. Registration includes one water park pass and two dry activities. Children two and under paying with an adult are free. Register by Thursday, June 11 to secure your spot and get our special rate.


As always, if you have any questions, give us a call at 252-ECU-GRAD (252-328-4723) or e-mail us at Visit for more information and to register online.