Bring the Whole Crew to the Charlotte Hornets!

Charlotte-Hornets_new_logo.pngJoin fellow Pirates and help us cheer on the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday, February 6! The East Carolina Alumni Association is hosting an ECU Night at the Hornets for all alumni in the Charlotte area and their families and friends as part of our Bring the Whole Crew series. Come have fun with the whole Pirate family! Don’t forget to wear purple and gold!

The game will begin at 7:00 p.m. at Time Warner Cable Arena. Beforehand, we’ll have a pregame meal for participants at Queen City Q  from 3:00 to 4:45 p.m. The meal cost if $10 for alumni association members and $20 for non-members. Following the meal, there will be a fan experience from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. at the arena.

For game tickets, visit the Charlotte Hornets website and use the password PIRATES to purchase tickets ranging from $20 to $185 each in the area of your choice. 

Parking in the Seventh Street parking garage will be validated (free) for anyone who joins us for the pregame meal at Queen City Q.

Register through the alumni association over the phone or online. Advance registration only. No tickets will be sold at the door. Register by Tuesday, February 2.

For more information, contact Megan Howard ’07 at or 252-328-5557.

Bring the Whole Crew to the Carolina Hurricanes!

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Bring your whole crew and join us for ECU Night at the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday, January 22, hosted by the East Carolina Alumni Association! All alumni are invited to bring their families and friends for a night to have fun with fellow Pirates.

The Hurricanes will take on the New York Rangers at PNC Arena at 1400 Edwards Mill Road in Raleigh starting at 7:00 p.m. Before the game, participants can enjoy a private buffet meal starting at 5:00 p.m.

Game tickets and meal tickets can be purchased together or separately. Game tickets range from $15 to $95. Pregame meal tickets, which include tip and tax, are $33 for adults, $13 for kids age 3-10, and free for kids 2 and under. The menu will be posted a week or two before the event. Members of the alumni association can also get a free parking pass, which costs $15 for non-members.

Come have fun with the whole Pirate family! Don’t forget to wear purple and gold!

Register online or by phone. Advance registration only. No tickets will be sold at the door. Register by Tuesday, January 12.

This event is part of Bring the Whole Crew, the alumni association’s series of family and social events for alumni of all ages and their guests.

Students Take Flight With Alumni


Cadets in the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps at East Carolina University recently got a chance to experience the thrill of flight firsthand with some help from alumni.

Pilots in the Civil Air Patrol, some of whom graduated from ECU, let students take the controls on guided flights from Pitt-Greenville Airport one weekend in November.

The Civil Air Patrol is an official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, staffed by civilian volunteers who assist with search and rescue missions, natural disaster relief and damage assessment, and more. The CAP also works to develop youth and educate citizens about air and space power. Because CAP pilots are volunteers, they often host incentive flights for the Air Force to save costs.

Twenty-two cadets from ROTC Detachment 600 at ECU and also Detachment 595 at North Carolina State University flew with three active duty Air Force pilots and two retired Air Force officers who also volunteer as civilian pilots in the CAP.

“They get to feel what it’s like to fly a plane and listen to air traffic control; they get a glimpse into the world of aviation,” said Air Force Col. (Ret.) Thomas Shubert ’74. “The mission objective for the flights was to enhance the Air Force ROTC cadets’ knowledge of aviation, discuss opportunities in the Air Force, and establish mentorship with participating aircrew.”

“This was an amazing experience and made me question why I had not considered a career as a pilot,” said Brittany Talbot, a senior from Garner, NC majoring in public health.

Talbot said she enjoyed getting to talk to other Air Force personnel and ECU alumni.

“It was amazing to be able to ‘pick their brains’ if you will about their experiences in the Air Force. As a prospective officer candidate, it made me even more excited to start my career,” she said. “I learned that just because you are given one job in the Air Force that doesn’t stop the endless possibilities that continue after you get out. One of the officers had just gotten out and is now pursuing a career in the medical field, which is my ultimate goal. From this experience I was about to get his information in hopes that he could give me tips in the future that would help me reach that goal.”

The look on the students’ faces said it all, according to Shubert. “It’s all about lighting a spark and showing them what it means to fly. We were able to expose them to things they normally wouldn’t be. And the alumni got a chance to be involved with students. You can’t put a price tag on this experience.”

Afterward, Shubert hosted a dinner for the cadets at Parker’s Barbecue.

By Jackie Drake


Race with Fellow Pirates!


Pirates, start your engines! Grab your family members and friends and join us at RushHour Karting in Garner, NC on Friday, January 15. This event is part of Bring the Whole Crew, our series of family and social events for Pirates and their guests. Come have fun with the whole Pirate family!

RushHour Karting is an all-indoor high-speed kart racing facility. Karts go up to 40mph on a 1/3 mile track with hairpin turns and high-speed straightaways. (This is not bumper-cars!)

The event will take place from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Race on your own and enjoy provided snacks before championship races start at 8:00 p.m. The facility is located at 5335 Raynor Road.

The cost is $6 for alumni association members and $16 for non-members. This price is only available through the East Carolina Alumni Association. Participants must be eight years old or older. Hors d’oeuvres are included; drinks are on your own.

Advance registration only. No tickets will be sold at the door. Register through the alumni association by Wednesday, January 13.

All drivers must sign a release form before racing at RushHour Karting. Adult drivers must be at least 15 years of age. Junior racers must be at least eight years of age and at least 48″ tall to operate the junior go-karts. A parent or guardian must sign the release form for racers less than 18 years of age.

Drivers MUST wear closed toe shoes; no sandals or flip flops! Helmets are required and will be provided.

For safety reasons, pregnant women; people with neck or back problems, heart conditions or seizures/epilepsy; or people who should not be in stressful or physically demanding environments should consult a doctor before participating in go-kart racing.

For more information, click here or contact Assistant Director of Alumni Programs Megan Howard ’07 at or 252-328-5557.


Alumni Scholarship Applications Due January 31

The East Carolina Alumni Association is now accepting applications for Alumni Scholarships for the 2016-2017 school year through Friday, January 31, 2016.

Applications must be submitted online through the ECU Online Scholarship Management System. No paper applications will be accepted.

Approximately 25 scholarships of $1,000 or $2,500 are available. To be eligible, ECU students must be registered as a full-time undergraduate with at least 12 credit hours and a 3.0 GPA. Students should demonstrate service and leadership in the university and community. Applications must be accompanied by a signed letter of recommendation and a creative expression, both of which can be completed and/or uploaded through the online system.

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

For more information, visit

If you would like to contribute to the Alumni Scholarship program, visit


Velton Ray Bunch ’71 Writes Music for Dolly Parton Movie

East Carolina fans familiar with the music of Dolly Parton should listen closely when NBC premiers a new movie called Coat of Many Colors tonight.

ECU alumnus and Emmy-winning composer Velton Ray Bunch ’71 wrote the music for this made-for-TV movie that depicts a true story from Parton’s childhood in the mountains of east Tennessee, when her mother gave her a coat she had lovingly sewn from colorful rags, which inspired her 1968 hit.

In addition to composing background music to score the movie, Bunch created a new arrangement of Parton’s song by taking her vocals from the original recording and backing them with a symphony orchestra instead of a guitar.

“It’s a very interesting use of the song,” Bunch said. “I think it turned out very well.”

Bunch was offered the job with a call from Parton herself, who told him she was working with NBC to develop a series of movies based on her songs, and she wanted him to write the music based on their previous work together.

“This came directly from Dolly,” Bunch said. “I’ve known her many years and I’ve handled music for her before. Still it was a nice surprise to hear from her since it had been a few years. I think she likes the fact that I’m from North Carolina and we had a similar upbringing.”

Bunch always knew that he wanted to write music for movies and TV. After graduating from ECU in 1971 with a degree in music composition and theory, Bunch headed out to Los Angeles.

He “did the requisite starving for a time,” but eventually made his way into the business. He has composed music for several well-known TV shows including Quantum Leap, Walker, Texas Ranger, and JAG. He won an Emmy in 2004 for his work on Star Trek: Enterprise. He also has three Emmy nominations.

While writing scores for TV shows and movies is different from composing classical symphonies, Bunch says his education at ECU did prepare him well for his career.

“I learned a great deal at ECU and had fantastic teachers,” he said. “It taught me a lot of being disciplined. I’m very proud I went to ECU.”

Coat of Many Colors premiers tonight at 9 p.m. on NBC.

By Jackie Drake


#PirateNationGives Goal Tripled!

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On a single day of giving last week, East Carolina University received more than triple its goal of $75,000.

Supporters gave $259,295 under the banner of #PirateNationGives, ECU’s campaign for for Giving Tuesday on Dec. 1. Three hundred forty gifts ranging from $10 to $25,000 came in from 24 states and Washington, D.C.

“The response was overwhelming; we are so thankful for the generosity of the East Carolina community,” Chris Dyba, vice chancellor for university advancement, said. “Every day is a great day to give to ECU, but we are so grateful to everyone who came together to participate in this day no matter where they are located. Our supporters truly showed that Pirate Nation gives.”

ECU was one of many educational and non-profit entities participating in Giving Tuesday, a national day to focus on charitable giving after holiday spending begins on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This is the second year that ECU participated in Giving Tuesday. Last year, the university received 132 gifts totaling $67,248.

This year’s total includes gifts given in person through major gift officers, over the phone and online at Donors could make a gift of any size to any area of the university they chose. Donations will go toward scholarships, research, medicine and healthcare, athletics, the arts, and more.

Dr_Jerry_McGee_Challenge-002_1This year some donors had the chance to double their impact thanks to 1966 alumnus Dr. Jerry McGee, who gave $25,000 as part of a challenge to first-time donors and those who increased their last gift by $100 or more.

“East Carolina draws so much support from people who give a couple hundred or few thousand dollars; we only have a few multimillion dollar donors,” he said. “These days we’ve gotten to where we think giving $50 or $100 doesn’t matter, but it does matter. I wanted to make sure people understood the importance of their individual gift.”

As a longtime higher education professional, McGee knows the value of giving back to your alma mater in whatever amount you can. McGee worked as a development officer and administrator and various institutions, including others who have participated in Giving Tuesday.

“A lot of my professional success goes back to what I learned at East Carolina,” he said. “When I got a call asking me to help East Carolina, the answer was yes. At least once a year, we need to sit down and take time for the causes we care about. I’m very proud of East Carolina, and I’m pleased so many people chose this day to support the university.”