Part of the Pirate Family

By hosting Pirate Sendoffs, alumni help students feel at home at ECU.

ECU students have been busy moving into their dorms and apartments on campus this past week, but many of them already feel right at home after attending Pirate Sendoffs in their hometowns earlier this summer.

The East Carolina Alumni Association, along with the Office of Parent and Family Programs, hosted a series of Pirate Sendoffs across the Pirate Nation to welcome incoming students. Ten events were held from Charlotte to Washington, DC from July 16 to August 8. Students and their family members could meet other families from their area also headed to ECU in the fall. Alumni and ECU staff were on hand to answer questions and share stories and advice.

“It was really interesting to host a Pirate Sendoff,” said Carl Caulk ’89, who hosted the DC area event at his home with his wife Marla. “I thought the event was very successful. It’s neat to put yourself back in that position of getting ready to come to college, and it’s nice to remember what it was like.”

Students and parents got a lot out of value out of the experience, according to Caulk. “Not only were they able to meet and make connections, there was an overall increase in comfort level as they became familiar with the opportunities available on campus and experienced the Pirate family atmosphere. They heard us saying ‘You’re part of this family now.'”

“I would definitely recommend hosting a Pirate Sendoff to other alumni,” Caulk said. “It’s an easy way to get involved and help current students. The only thing we had to do was make our home available. The alumni association staff handled everything; they were great. I’m really glad we did it.”

SJBSteven Beane ’89 (pictured left) and his wife Jennifer ’89 also hosted a similar informal gathering in Hickory, NC. Their son is a rising sophomore at ECU. They heard about the Pirate Sendoffs last year, but since there wasn’t one in their area, they decided to host one this year.

“We’re both ECU graduates, but sending our son to college has been a learning experience for us as well,” Beane said. “ECU has changed a lot since we were there. The biggest change is of course technology. Information is a lot more accessible now, but there’s still nothing like talking to people in person.”

Beane says his favorite part was making new friends and being able to help fellow Pirates by sharing his experience as an alumnus and as a parent.

“We’ve noticed a lot more alumni in our area, and a lot more student interest, so we’re trying to bring everyone together,” Beane said. “Whenever you find another Pirate, there’s a common bond there, and we want to strengthen that. Our area has not traditionally been a Pirate stronghold, but we’re trying to bring more information about ECU to western North Carolina.”


If you would like to host a Pirate Sendoff at your home, business, or other venue, contact Director of Alumni Programs Shawn Moore ’91, ’98 at or 252-328-5775.

By Jackie Drake

Pirates March Again for Homecoming!

Drum roll, please! The Marching Pirates Alumni Reunion is coming up on Homecoming weekend, October 16-17, 2015! Join fellow former band members for a weekend of fun, music, and football. Reminisce with old friends and make new ones as you join current band members on the field and in the stands during the game. Relive the excitement of playing EC Victory in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium!

On Friday, sit in on the current band’s open rehearsal from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., followed by a Marching Pirate Alumni Social at Fitzgerald’s in downtown Greenville.

On Saturday, the day will start with breakfast and an alumni band rehearsal. Then the alumni band will join the current band for a full rehearsal at College Hill Field. Lunch will be provided before the march to the stadium.

Alumni band members will participate on the field in the pre-game performance and then sit in the Boneyard behind the band for the duration of the game.

As of this posting, kick-off has not yet been set for the homecoming game. On the event webpage, the schedule for game day is outlined in a countdown format (5 hours before kick-off, 4 hours before kick-off, etc). This webpage will be updated when kick-off is announced.

The cost is $22 each for alumni association members and $32 each for non-members. This includes a Marching Pirates Alumni polo shirt and breakfast on Saturday but does NOT include a ticket to the football game. Football tickets can be purchased separately online or by calling the ECU Athletic Ticket Office at 252-737-4500 with the code MPA.

For more information or to register, visit

Bring the Whole Crew to Busch Gardens in October!

Bring your whole crew for a day of fun with fellow Pirates and their families at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, VA on Saturday, October 10!

Enjoy thrilling roller coasters and rides, animal encounters, and great dining amidst a backdrop of charming European villages at Busch Gardens, now celebrating 40 years of fun. In addition, don’t miss the park’s annual Howl-O-Scream festivities in the evening!

From 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., enjoy all the park’s family-friendly attractions with your party at your own pace. Then after 6:00, Halloween decorations come to life as the park transforms into a haunted experience.

Guests are advised to consider the park’s elevated scare factor in the evening when bringing young children. For the safety of park staff and performers, guests are not allowed to wear costumes while at Busch Gardens. But you should wear purple and gold!

Tickets for alumni association members are $65 for ages 10 and up and $55 for ages 3-9; non-members are $77 for ages 10 and up and $67 for ages 3-9. This special group rate is only available by registering in advance through the East Carolina Alumni Association.

Cost covers an all-inclusive single-day pass and a platinum meal certificate, which is good at any of the park’s restaurants and includes one entrée, two sides, and one non-alcoholic beverage. Howl-O-Scream activities are also included if you choose to stay past 6:00 p.m.

Advance registration is required. No registration at the door. Register by Wednesday, September 23. Click here to register.

DC Pirate Football Kick-off Happy Hour

Ahoy, DC Pirates! Are you ready for Pirate football? Share your excitement for the upcoming season with fellow ECU alumni and friends at our free happy hour social on Friday, August 28.

This event will begin at 7:00 p.m. at Mister Day’s Sports Rock Cafe in Arlington, VA. Some food will be provided with drinks available for purchase; several specials will be offered.

Meet fellow ECU alumni in your area and see who else will be cheering for the Pirates this season! For more information or to register, click here.

Pocketful of Ingenuity

Photo1Where do you put your phone while running or working out? It’s a dilemma many active people face that one East Carolina University graduate is working to solve.

Brian Cole ’12 came up with the idea for a special pocket while on campus. “I’d always enjoy running around campus and was a regular at the Rec Center. It seemed every time I ran or worked out, I was always concerned about where to store my smartphone. With men’s shorts especially, the phone tends to shake around. Plus with all the music and fitness apps now, you want to be able to access your phone easily, but still have it be secure when you’re not using it.”

It seemed like all athletic shorts had the same ineffective pocket, so he decided to make a better one.

“I actually sewed the first prototype at my apartment complex during my senior year,” Cole said. “I went to Kohl’s and Michael’s in Greenville and bought some basic shorts and elastic. I quickly realized sewing is not my specialty, so I reached out to industry experts to perfect my design. It took 15 prototypes, but the final product is pretty special.”

This “Secure-Stretch Pocket” is the centerpiece of Cole’s new apparel company, called Falco Sportswear, which he launched earlier this month.


Instead of being built into the side seam like traditional pockets, the Secure-Stretch Pocket is built into the waistband. The opening of the pocket is sealed by an elastic band that opens easily and retracts automatically and stays snug against the waist. Right now the pocket can be found on men’s training shorts available at

“Sales have been pretty good so far,” he says. “But the main goal right now is getting the word out and getting eyes on our product.”

Rather than individual sales, Cole’s priority at this point is getting the shorts in the hands of athletes and industry experts, who can generate press through blog entries and product reviews in running and training publications.

Cole was able to produce a few hundred pairs of shorts with some money he had saved. All the shorts are made in the US, which makes prices a bit high for individual sales, but Cole is working on getting the cost down and looking to see if sporting goods retailers would be able to purchase and carry the shorts.

“Our focus is on innovation,” Cole said. “We have to be able to provide something different. We can’t compete with big companies like Under Armour or Nike. For us, it’s not about a logo or brand prestige. We need to be authentic to our original purpose and provide a unique solution to meet the needs of athletes.”

Right now, Cole is the only employee at his company, but he is quick to credit his family and friends, including other ECU graduates, for giving him lots of help and support.

In the long-term, Cole hopes to expand his line of apparel to women and across various sports.

Cole credits ECU with preparing him for this venture. He earned his degree in construction management with a minor in business. After graduation, he started working on construction sites in Washington, DC, where he is originally from. But he found he enjoyed designing and creating things himself rather than managing others who do so. So he decided to pursue his project full-time.

“ECU has so many resources for students,” Cole said. “I went to the career center, and the curriculum encourages involvement in activities and supports guest speakers. ECU lays a great foundation for life after college. It puts you in the right mindset to be ready post-college and make it a smooth transition.”

By Jackie Drake

Golf Tournament Registration Now Open!

It’s time to tee up for scholarships! The East Carolina Alumni Association presents the ECU Alumni Scholarship Classic golf tournament, sponsored by Hilton Greenville and PotashCorp Aurora, on Friday, September 25 at Ironwood Golf and Country Club.

Registration is now open through September 17. This four-person-team superball tournament offers two flights at 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. The cost of $140 per player includes green fee and cart, beverage and snack service, as well as breakfast or lunch. A $20 add-on package includes one mulligan and one tee buster.

Enjoy a day on the links with fellow ECU supporters for a game of golf and plenty of prizes! With trophies awarded to the teams with the lowest gross score and lowest net score, hole-in-one prizes on all par 3 holes, longest drive, and closest-to-the-pin, your swing may land you a bounty. Best of all, it’s for a good cause: the Alumni Scholarship program.

The winning golf team (lowest gross score) will have the opportunity to represent ECU and play at legendary Pinehurst No. 2 and No. 4 in the Acura College Alumni Team Championship held October 29 through November 1, 2015. The top six teams will win prizes and the winning team will be crowned the National College Alumni Team Champions.

“I really enjoyed the alumni golf tournament. It’s done really well, and it’s always nice to know you’re playing to help students go to college,” said Jerry Shaw ’99, member of the JoCo Pirates, who won the 2014 ECU event and a division of the Acura championship. “Once we got there, it was unbelievable. Representing my school against 60 other colleges was quite an experience and then to win was awesome. I was proud to represent ECU so well and hope we get another chance next year.”

This golf tournament is one of a few throughout the country that is affiliated with the Liberty Mutual Alumni Cup program. Additional prizes and other fantastic giveaways, including items from TaylorMade adidas Golf, will be included for each golfer!

Held each fall, this golf tournament is one of two major scholarship fundraisers hosted by the East Carolina Alumni Association, along with the Pirate Alumni Road Race and Fun Run every spring.

Since its establishment in 2005, the Alumni Scholarship program has awarded 224 scholarships totaling more than $300,000.

By Jackie Drake

PotashCorp Aurora Becomes Presenting Sponsor

The East Carolina Alumni Association is proud to announce a new partnership with one of the largest employers in eastern North Carolina.

PotashCorp Aurora (PCS Phosphate) will be a presenting sponsor for the association’s signature events in 2015-2016: the ECU Alumni Scholarship Classic, the Alumni Awards Ceremony and Dinner, the Pirate Alumni Road Race and Fun Run, and Buccaneer Buffet.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have PotashCorp Aurora as a presenting sponsor,” said Shawn Moore ’91, ’98, director alumni programs. “Their sponsorship shows their commitment to our programs for the East Carolina community. Sponsorships allow more proceeds from events to go to our scholarship fund and other programs, so the benefits go right back to students and alumni.”

PotashCorp Aurora sources phosphate ore (the remains of ancient sea life) and produces fertilizer, feed and industrial products to be shipped around the world. Located in Beaufort County, it is one of the largest such facilities in the world.

The decision to become a presenting sponsor was an easy one, according to W. Ray McKeithan, a 1987 graduate of ECU and the manager of public and government affairs for PotashCorp Aurora.

“The alumni base is a loyal, influential, passionate group devoted to success at East Carolina University, and throughout the region,” McKeithan said. “It speaks to the value of shared experiences and the quality of an ECU education!”

The company hopes to raise awareness of what they do and how they do it, McKeithan said. “Our operating values focus on safe operations, environmental stewardship, being a low-cost supplier of high-quality products, and also on continuous improvement. The more alumni that know about the challenges we face, and our opportunities to achieve, the more support we’ll receive at all levels of government and business – and throughout the Pirate Nation.”

PotashCorp Aurora joins Hilton Greenville the as the presenting sponsors of the ECU Alumni Scholarship Classic, which will take place Friday, September 25 at Ironwood Golf and Country Club. Proceeds benefit the Alumni Scholarship program. Registration is now open!

By Jackie Drake