Pirate Alumni Road Race and Fun Run a Huge Success

Peedee Road Race

For ECU alumna and three time Road Race participant Missi Foster, this year’s edition of the Road Race was the best yet.

“I thought the event was very well organized and lots of fun!  The running route was great and easy to follow for everyone,” said Foster. “The location was perfect and the date and weather for the event made for a beautiful spring morning.”

Current ECU student Alice Fratoni echoed a similar response

“It was my first time participating and I really enjoyed the event,” she said. “The colors, refreshments, Pee Dee, and encouragement as I was running made it really fun.”

The Pirate Alumni Road Race and Fun Run, which is in its ninth year, is held every April and helps provide scholarships for ECU students by giving all of its proceeds to the ECU Alumni Association scholarship program. With the help of Potash, Wells Fargo, and Coke this year’s edition exceeded expectations; raising well over $12,000 and having 460 people registered for the event.

Though the Road Race itself provided many memorable moments, it’s who the participants shared the moments with that made the race so special. Foster, who is an instructional coach at Belvoir elementary, decided to share the experience with her schools running club.

“Running with them this year was the best part! These kids have been part of the Belvoir running club since January and we have been running together after school every Monday,” she said. “None of these kids have ever experienced a 5k race, so they were excited!

“We had one student who was only three seconds away from placing in the “15 and under” category, he finished in fourth place.”

The ECU Alumni Association will be celebrating 10 years of the Road Race and Fun Run next April.


By Michael Avila

Nursing Alumni Honored in Hall of Fame


Several East Carolina University alumni were honored at the College of Nursing Hall of Fame ceremony on Friday, April 15. In addition to ECU alumni, the 11 inductees also include ECU faculty and staff. The event honored outstanding contributors to nursing in the areas of education, administration, research and practice.

Among the honorees was 2016 Distinguished Alumnus Wendy Leutgens ’87. She is the president of Loyola University Health System, an 801-bed academic medical center and health system in Maywood, Illinois.

The 2016 inductees join a list of 79 Hall of Fame members representing nine states.

•    Mary Chatman ’90, ’96, ’12, Savannah, GA
•    Sue Edwards ’76, ’85, Ayden, NC
•    Ann King, Clayton, NC
•    Donna Lake, Goldsboro, NC
•    Wendy Leutgens ’87, Oak Park, IL
•    Janice Neil, Winterville, NC
•    Jane Pearson ’73, Forest, VA
•    Annette Peery ’96, Greenville, NC
•    Loretta Ritter ’85, Milford, PA
•    Sandra Smith ’80, Williamsburg, VA
•    Gina Woody, Winterville, NC

Click here to read more on the College of Nursing website.

Alumni Say Studying Abroad Benefited Their Careers

Hundreds of East Carolina University students will study abroad this summer, and alumni who did so while they were in school say it benefited their careers. They were recently featured in an article by ECU News Services.

A recent ECU graduate, Kaileigh Hubbard (’13), said her study abroad experience led to her career  working with students from around the world as an international admissions advisor at the University of Buffalo, The State University of New York.

Hubbard double majored in English and English education at ECU and planned to teach high school students. She studied in London in 2012 during the Olympics.”Now working in higher education, I still get to serve as a teacher, just in a different capacity,” she said.

Another ECU graduate, Vincent Meadows (’13) said his career also has been influenced by studying abroad. A graphic designer, he works for an international media company providing news in nine languages in Asia.

Meadows studied in Indonesia the second semester of his junior year through an exchange program, which helped save money while providing academic credit hours. “It was not only my first travel experience, but my first time ever on a plane,” he said. “Traveling was something I thought only rich kids did. At that point, I wanted to go somewhere I thought I would never go to again.”

He said he made lifelong friends and learned about graphic design on an international level. He credited ECU’s International House with helping him sort through options to make study abroad possible. He also believes his travel experiences have made him a well-rounded, more marketable employee.

Alumni Speak at Business Leadership Conference

Several alumni of East Carolina University were among the speakers and panelists at the second annual Business Leadership Conference held April 12-23 and organized by the College of Business.

During a session titled From ECU Student to CEO and CFO Leadership, four College of Business alumni spoke about their experience in leadership and how ECU students can prepare themselves for successful careers.

“Show up, on time, and be ready to go,” said Thomas Arthur (’71), president and CEO of ASAP Capital. “Whoever you work for is going to notice it and appreciate it.”

Click here to read more from ECU News Services.

Welcome to the Red Carpet: Meet Eric Gabriel ’01

Eric GabrielA trip to the Oscars would be a check off the bucket list for a majority of people. For ECU alumnus Eric Gabriel, he did more than just take a trip to the Oscar’s: he was able to cover it too.

“It was an exciting experience; there is a lot of energy out there,” said Gabriel, who graduated from ECU in 2001 with a degree in electronic mass media. “The folks being nominated are at the top of their craft and the whole evening is a celebration of their success. Being out there with my AFN teammates and representing our military men and women gives me a sense of purpose and pride in what I do!”

Gabriel is currently the lead producer and host for the American Forces Network. The AFN broadcasts entertainment, sports, and news programming to the U.S. government and military stationed around the world. A lot of what his job centers around is marketing AFN’s programming and covering industry events like the Oscars.

“We send our broadcast to 150 plus countries and multiple ships at sea,” said Gabriel. “If it’s popular here in the U.S., chances are we’ve got it on air for the troops.  [We want] to give those folks out there a “touch of home” while overseas.”

Gabriel’s journey to ECU started with the thought of being “close to home.” After getting a chance to tour the campus, he immediately knew that ECU and the school of communication was the place that would help create the foundation for his future.

“I had some great opportunities to learn and prepare for the TV and media business while at ECU. The teaching philosophies and wisdom of the professors was first class,” said Gabriel. “From learning proper voice and dictation to understanding news and copy writing, the instructors poured their knowledge into those of us who were eager to learn and pursue a career in the business.”

With a strong foundation and a rewarding job, Gabriel couldn’t help but express pride for his school and what it meant to him.

“I’m always a proud pirate; my four years at ECU were really memorable,” said Gabriel. “I had some great experiences and learned a lot of life lessons. East Carolina [University] will always be a part of who I am.”

He also had a piece of advice for current and potential ECU students.

“Surround yourself with a good support team and if there’s something you want to be or do after college, chances are you can get some experience at it while at ECU,” said Gabriel. “You have to be a “go-getter” and take advantage of every opportunity. If there’s a chance for someone to give you a helping hand, they will! The culture of “Pirates helping Pirates” is alive and well.”