Golf Tournament Raises $26,000 for Alumni Scholarships

The ECU Alumni Scholarship Classic golf tournament was a huge success, raising a net $26,000 for the Alumni Scholarship program! This is up slightly from last year’s proceeds of $25,000.

Around 160 golfers participated in the East Carolina Alumni Association’s September 9 event, held at Ironwood Golf and Country Club and sponsored by Hilton Greenville and PotashCorp Aurora.

“It was such a great day, everyone had a wonderful time,” said Shawn Moore ’91, ’98, director of scholarships and signature programs.

The winning team with the lowest gross score was the JoCo Pirates, comprised of alumnus Jerry Shaw ’99 and his friends Whitt Young, Gill Young, and Daniel Castleberry.  The JoCo Pirates, named for Johnston County, also won the 2014 tournament.

The JoCo Pirates will go on to represent ECU at the Acura College Alumni Team Championship at Pinehurst in late October. They also went to Pinehurst in 2014, where they won first place in the net scoring division.

“Winning again felt amazing,” said Shaw. “We have been looking forward to going back to Pinehurst since 2014. That trip was the best golf trip I have ever been a part of. Hopefully we can win again! It’s always nice to know you are supporting your university and helping make college more affordable.”

The Alumni Scholarship program is funded by proceeds from two major scholarship fundraisers, the golf tournament each fall and the Pirate Alumni Road Race and Fun Run each spring, along with donations from alumni and supporters. If you’d like to contribute to the Alumni Scholarship program, you can do so anytime at PirateAlumni.com/donate.

Click here for more photos from the 2016 tournament.

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No Boundaries For Alumnus

After a week of rock climbing, rafting, fly fishing and more, George Kalinowski was most excited about being among fellow veterans who really listened.

Kalinowski, a Vietnam veteran and East Carolina alumnus, was one of ten participants on a recent trip that allowed combat wounded veterans to bond and realize new capabilities through specially adapted outdoor sports. From Aug. 9-14 at the National Sports Center for the Disabled in Winter Park, Colorado, Kalinowski and veterans of other conflicts like Iraq and Afghanistan were able to build confidence and camaraderie.

“The trip was outstanding. Everybody was opening up. I think they liked having the old guy there,” said Kalinowski, who suffered shrapnel wounds in Vietnam and received a Purple Heart. “No one takes the time to listen to veterans, at any age. With the guys, we opened up more when we realized we’d gone through similar things. They wanted to hear what I had to say. They were really supportive, and I wanted to support them too.”

Kalinowski was selected for the trip after applying through the East Carolina Alumni Association Military Alumni Chapter. This year, the chapter partnered with No Boundaries, a non-profit that offers this trip to veterans from across the country twice a year, in the summer and winter, at no cost to veterans.

“My favorite part was the fly fishing, but every activity was great,” he said. “A couple times, I doubted myself, and thought some of this stuff was beyond what I could do at my age. But everything went really well.”

Kalinowski grew up in the Washington, D.C. area. His father was an Air Force officer. He came to ECU on the recommendation of one of his high school teachers. He joined a fraternity and studied accounting, but was drafted into the Army before he could graduate. He worked in several fields throughout his career, including real estate and as the part owner of a sign company.

“Life has been good to me, I’ve been fairly well off,” he said. “But being retired, I wasn’t doing much. This trip inspired me to get in shape. My family was worried it would be too much strain. I’ve been a couch potato, but now I’ve got a whole new attitude.”

On the last night of the trip, participants were invited to be guests of honor at a local rodeo. They were brought to the center of the ring as the announcer thanked them for their service.

“The crowd stood up and clapped. I’m not an emotional person, but that got to me,” Kalinowski said. “We were so unwelcome when we came home. I’m so glad the nation is supporting veterans better.”

Kalinowski “overwhelmingly” recommends the trip to other Pirate veterans. “No doubt about it, you won’t be sorry,” he said. “It’s great what these organizations are doing for us.”

The next No Boundaries trip will be March 7-12, 2017. Applications will be due Jan. 2. ECU alumni or students who are combat wounded veterans are encouraged to apply. 

The Military Alumni Chapter hosts various programs throughout the year and is open to any East Carolina alumni with current or past military service. To find more information, get involved or support the chapter, visit PirateAlumni.com/militaryalumni.

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Classes of 2016 and 1966 Celebrate Commencement

After more than 50 years, Bryant “Pete” Paris ’66 finally got a chance to participate in commencement at East Carolina University earlier this month.

Paris was one of 14 graduates of the class of 1966 who participated in the Golden Alumni Reunion hosted by the East Carolina Alumni Association on May 5-6, 2016. The 50th reunion class donned gold robes and led the class of 2016 into commencement ceremonies in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

“I didn’t get to walk in 1966, so I was thrilled to finally put on a cap and gown,” said Paris. He was supposed to complete his bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1965, but was just a few credits short. He started working full-time at the NC Medical Society while finishing his courses, and a travel assignment prevented him from participating in the next year’s ceremony.

In addition to commencement, about 25 total participants including family members participated in other activities like tours of campus and a special reception and champagne toast with the class of 2016, co-hosted by the Pirate Club. Paris, who lives in Raleigh, drove in for just the graduation ceremony.

“I loved being there,” said Paris. “It was a treat to see some faces I hadn’t seen in 50 years, and some I didn’t recognize. We told stories and had a wonderful time. I really enjoyed it.”

Paris also took pride in watching his niece, Kinsey “Palmer” Watson, graduate with the class of 2016.

“It was so special and neat knowing my uncle was a part of the commencement ceremony with me, as a 50 year graduate,” Watson said. “I know not many people share their graduation with a relative who is celebrating their 50th anniversary, so it made the day that much more special.”

Watson says she fell in love with the ECU campus the day she first visited. “The campus was so beautiful and homey feeling!” she commented. “Graduation was a very bittersweet feeling. I am not quite ready to leave behind the home away from home I have created during my time at ECU, but I am excited for what the future holds!”

Paris knows the feeling well. “I have a lot of fond memories there. I told Palmer [who had been considering UNC-Chapel Hill] that once you go to East Carolina, you won’t want to leave. You can’t help loving it.”

Originally from Alamance County, Paris came to ECU after serving four years in the Air Force, mostly at Langley Air Force Base. Paris said he chose ECU because “I wanted to focus on learning, but when I wasn’t learning, I wanted to have fun.”

Paris went on to work for the NC Medical Society for about seven years, and then spent more than 25 years with the NC Medical Board, a separate entity, before retiring in 1999. He says his experience at ECU prepared his well for his career.

“I believe I got an excellent education at East Carolina,” Paris said. “It fit me to a T.”

Click here for more photos from the Golden Alumni Reunion.

Click here for a video about Senior Celebration.

By Jackie Drake

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Pirates Volunteer at UNC-TV

Around 20 Pirates including alumni and students volunteered for ECU Night at UNC-TV on Saturday, February 27.

ECU Night was part of UNC-TV’s annual weeks-long “Festival” telethon, which helps North Carolina’s only statewide public television station continue to provide quality, educational programming for North Carolinians.

After receiving a brief training at the studio in Research Triangle Park, volunteers answered phones and received pledges from those calling in to support the station. Volunteers worked behind the scenes while special guests led live segments. Volunteers gained some great exposure for ECU while supporting a good cause.

Any organization can volunteer for any night of the telethon; ECU is the only university in the UNC system with its own night.

“I wanted to volunteer because I love volunteering and this was something different. I’m used to just volunteering in my own community,” said student Khiana Wyatt, a senior majoring in family and community services. “My favorite part was interacting with other volunteers during our free time. I would definitely recommend others to volunteer at alumni events.”

Alumnus LaQuan Lucas-Harris ’09 found out about the event via an e-mail from the alumni association. He earned his MBA at ECU and is now a regional credit analyst at First Citizens Bank in Raleigh.

“It was convenient to my house and I wanted to network with alumni locally,” Lucas-Harris said. “I enjoyed meeting new people who all had a love for ECU.  We got to volunteer for a great cause and we were treated like royalty at the event.  At the end I felt rewarded and stated I will definitely see about attending more alumni functions in the area.”

Click here for more photos from the event.

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By Jackie Drake

Pirates Enjoy Hurricanes Game

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It was another memorable night for ECU alumni, friends and family as they descended on PNC Arena in Raleigh on February 21 to watch the Hurricanes play against the Tampa Bay Lightning as part of the East Carolina Alumni Association’s “Bring the Whole Crew” series.

Attendees were treated to a pregame buffet and had access to numerous seating locations at a discounted price. Ashley Lewis ’06, who is now a registered nurse for Vanceboro Farm Life elementary school, used the event to meet more alumni.

“I really wanted to connect with other ECU alumni and I also enjoy watching the Carolina Hurricanes play,” said Lewis. “[But] my favorite part of the night was the ECU alumni buffet. They had excellent food along with some great company in fellow Pirates!”

Although the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2, the night was a big success as 69 people attended the event, with 29 of them also participating in the pregame buffet. The event left attendants like Lewis eager for more.

“I will definitely attend other ECU Alumni events in the future,” said Lewis. “I recommend that other Pirates do [the same]!”

By Michael Avila

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Click here for more photos.

Pirates Enjoy Cheering on the Hornets in Charlotte

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ECU alumni, friends and family gathered in Charlotte to watch the Charlotte Hornets take on the Washington Wizards as part of the East Carolina Alumni Association’s “Bring the Whole Crew” series.

Participants were treated to a delicious pregame meal, which was served by Queen City BBQ, and also had VIP access to the pregame shoot-around.

“I thoroughly enjoyed both the dinner and game; I couldn’t pick one thing,” said Glovette Shannon ’07. “I also liked that it was a ‘Bring the [Whole] Crew’ event. It was a great chance for my family to enjoy the Pirate experience.”

Dominique Womack ’05, who is an account executive for Enterprise Holdings, used the event to catch up with some old friends.

“I found out about the event through a few of my ECU Marching Pirate alumni friends that I try to meet up with monthly. I thought it would be awesome for us to go,” said Womack. “When they said ‘let’s go to Charlotte,’ I put on my fun hat and got on the road!”

The event was a huge success, with 73 attendees descending on Time Warner Cable Arena as they watched the Hornets defeat the Wizards 108-104 in a hard fought contest.

By the end of the evening, everyone left satisfied and excited for the next event.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the trip and the opportunity to participate in the event,” said Shannon. “I now check the calendar regularly for similar events.”

Womack echoed a similar response.

“If I had a chance to do it all over again, I definitely would,” said Womack. “Food, drinks, Pirates and sports are my favorite pastimes!”

By Michael Avila and Jackie Drake

Pirates Race to a Good Time!

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Eighteen Pirates raced to a good time at Rush Hour Karting on January 15. The event was part of Bring the Whole Crew, a series of family and social events hosted by the East Carolina Alumni Association. Participants got a chance to enjoy indoor go-kart racing and to meet fellow Pirates in the Raleigh area along with their friends and families.

“The event was so much fun,” said Britni Holman, who graduated from ECU in 2011 with a degree in sports studies. “My favorite part of the event was being able to sit around the table with everyone and learn about their careers and swap our greatest college memories.”

Holman is a promotions specialist for the North Carolina Education Lottery. She heard about the event from ECUpdate, the association’s monthly e-newsletter for members.

She said, “I decided to attend since I have always wanted to go to Rush Hour Karting, and I love attending networking events where I get to meet fellow Pirates.”

Randy Mizelle ’85, ’88 heard about the event via the mailed postcard. He works in human resources, and his wife Amanda is also an ECU grad, earning degrees in 1990 and 1992.

“I enjoyed the event because I enjoy karting, and it was a chance to meet some ECU grads that perhaps I hadn’t met before,” Mizelle said.

The next Bring the Whole Crew event is at the Charlotte Hornets game on February 6.

By Jackie Drake