2017 Chancellor’s Report

Message from the Chancellor

These days at East Carolina University, “progress” is almost too modest a term for what we are achieving. It is a promising time, a fortuitous time, for the Pirate Nation—for our students, faculty, staff, community, supporters and friends. We are in the process of taking a substantial step forward. As we set sail in a new year and a new era, we pause to assess the ground we gained in 2017 and resolve to build upon our success to ensure an even bolder and brighter future for ECU.

Our university has experienced growth physically, but more importantly we have embraced our mission with renewed energy and determination. We are poised to reach a pinnacle of service and impact regionally, nationally and globally. We are well along the journey toward becoming America’s next great national university. We have attained significant progress in the areas of our comprehensive campaign, construction and expansion, exciting research activity, globalization, rural prosperity initiatives and unveiling a new brand. We have shown that we are not afraid to seek and create new solutions, to test the waters of greatness and to capture the horizons we strive to reach.

We are producing sophisticated, globally aware graduates who have immersed themselves in their fields of study in order to become better stewards and servants in their communities. We are attracting and retaining faculty and professionals who are experts in their fields, and we are providing facilities and resources on our campuses that are second to none in their value and influence.

There is much more work ahead! We will continue to grow in 2018, in every way and in every direction. There is no limit to where we can sail this Pirate ship. We encourage you to join us on our promising journey toward ever-increasing impact and greatness.

Dr. Cecil P. Staton

We have shown that we are not afraid to seek and create new solutions, to test the waters of greatness and to capture the horizons we strive to reach.


From the classroom to the community, ECU researchers are making their impact felt across eastern North Carolina. ECU has renewed its commitment to scientific exploration, promising to provide an increase in the university’s research activities to enhance opportunities to its students and better prepare them once they graduate. As the only university in North Carolina with a medical school, a dental school and a college of engineering, ECU is leading the way in our region to create important discoveries through investigation.

Current ECU research includes exploring the health impact of the chemical GenX in the Cape Fear River; leading HIV/AIDS innovation and care on a worldwide scale; and studying the impact of national childhood literacy programs in eastern North Carolina’s classrooms. Not only do ECU’s efforts focus on medical advancements— including breakthroughs in women’s health and prescription medication—but they also shine light on academic analysis in the humanities, highlighting advancements in literature, film and psychology.

Over the first six months of ECU’s 2017-18 academic year, university faculty and staff have been awarded more than $21 million in grant and contract awards, funding 188 proposals.

ECU is also introducing its eight new pan-university research clusters in Biomed Sciences & Engineering, Energy & Natural Resources, Marine & Coastal Systems, Health & Chronic Disease, Health Behavior, Precision Medicine, STEAM Education, and Big Data & Analytics, which combine resources across campus to create dedicated centers in these areas. These clusters, combined with the university’s award-winning faculty and its pledge to increase undergraduate research opportunities, position ECU to expand the future impact of its research.

Read more:




ECU is committed to growing the international footprint on campus to help our students prepare to live and work in a global community. By providing opportunities for students to travel abroad and interact with international students and faculty on campus, we are increasing our global impact and our reputation around the world.

With 200 programs in more than 60 countries, ECU students have the opportunity to study abroad in countries including Italy, Spain, China and Germany. These experiences can be transformative for students as they are immersed in communities much different than their own.

In addition to travel, the Global Academic Initiatives program at ECU partners with institutions in 33 countries to bring the world to our campus through an interactive, student-driven global experience. Each year more than 500 students participate in the programming and spend class time discussing culture differences, family, college life and religion. The program gives those involved the chance to have a global experience without leaving our home county and to test the waters to see if a study abroad experience is right for them.

Read more:




For 110 years, ECU has been North Carolina’s rural and coastal university. Now, the university is embarking on an unprecedented effort to grow our research and enterprise through the Rural Prosperity Initiative.

The Rural Prosperity Initiative allows ECU to deploy its intellectual capabilities, community partnerships, network of alumni, and extensive research facilities to combat health, economic and educational disparities faced by community members living in rural areas. To tackle this mission, ECU has launched eight new pan-university research clusters that focus on research and engagement in support of the Rural Prosperity Initiative.

ECU is also making major investments in research infrastructure, including developing a Millennial Campus, hiring additional research faculty, and launching a new Bioenergy & Biobased Products Innovation Center. The university will be a leader in data analytics with the development of its Big Data & Analytics Center in partnership with SAS. Through the initiative, ECU will be able to create new micro-businesses, increase job development, and foster a collaborative environment between the university and local industries.

The Rural Prosperity Initiative will further ECU’s mission to develop healthy, educated, ready-to-work, and prosperous students, faculty and community members, establishing a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship that will come to define eastern North Carolina.

Read more:




As our student body grows, ECU’s campus and facilities are expanding to include modern, state-of-the art elements. The impact of the new construction and renovations will benefit not just our student body but citizens across our region and beyond. As the physical face of our campus changes, several dynamic and exciting new structures and buildings are taking shape.

  • The $60 million Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium renovation began late last year; it will add about 900 seats, luxury suites and lounges, and an 8,000-square-foot Field Level Club adjacent to the west end zone in front of the Murphy Center.
  • The new Main Campus Student Center is scheduled to open in fall 2018 and will serve as a central hub for students. The 210,000-squarefoot facility will be home to a theater, game room, lounges and study rooms, restaurants, a ballroom, Dowdy Student Stores and the Ledonia Wright Cultural Center.
  • The 75,000-square-foot Health Sciences Student Center opened in March 2017 and is the first stand-alone student center on a medical campus in North Carolina. It is also one of few such centers on medical campuses in the country and includes study space, restaurants, other student services and a recreation and wellness center.

Read more:




In November 2016, ECU launched a $500 million comprehensive fundraising campaign that promises regional transformation, increased student success and research incentivization. So far, $ 165 million has been raised and the total continues to rise daily.

An increase in individual donors and strong support for ECU’s first stand-alone day of giving— Pirate Nation Gives— helped ECU raise more than $48 million in fiscal year 2017.  To complement our ambitious fundraising efforts, ECU introduced the Chancellor’s Amethyst to recognize the highest level of philanthropy among Pirates.

Each gift ECU receives brings us one step closer to transforming our campus and providing the foundation we need to be recognized as America’s next great national university. Each gift is a commitment to improving the university, the lives of our students, and the communities we serve.

Read more:




ECU has a bold vision. Big goals. Unlimited potential. But most of all, a horizon that is boundless. In order to look the part as America’s next great national university, ECU rebranded in the summer of 2017, updating our logo to be more bold and contemporary. This allows ECU to better communicate our message and mission. And in doing so, we lead the way in changing the perception of greatness by:

  • Celebrating the acceptance of more qualified students from economically depressed and rural counties, as we build on a student body that currently includes more than 9,500 undergraduate students from Tier 1 and Tier 2 counties in N.C.;
  • Welcoming those who will work hard to succeed but are turned away elsewhere for circumstances beyond their control;
  • Training students to be servant leaders who, in turn, return to their communities to improve lives as much-needed doctors, dentists, nurses, teachers and engineers; and
  • Conducting research benefitting all of humankind whether in our state, nation or world.

ECU’s rebranding has been illustrated in print and online advertising.