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Exams, possible chancellor announcement highlight busy week for ECU

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Julia Florack studies for her exam in her athletic training class while her boyfriend, Daniel Gajda, keeps her company as they relax in a hammock on the campus of ECU on Monday.


Holly West

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

It’s a busy week for East Carolina University, which in the next four days will wrap up spring classes, start final exams, celebrate Founders Day and, hopefully, find out the name of its new chancellor. 

Classes end today. Wednesday will serve as a reading day before exams start Thursday. 

Campus Recreation and Wellness is hosting several events throughout the week to help students stay physically, mentally and emotionally sharp despite the stress of the year’s end.

From 3-5 p.m. today, the “Day of Play” gives students a chance to play with puppies, do yoga and learn relaxation techniques, among other activities, in front of the Student Recreation Center. 

Georgia Childs, associate director of wellness and fitness programs, said the activities are all based on teaching students how to manage stress. 

“It’s important for people to sit back, decompress, get off your social media, put the computer down, put the laptop down, step away from the stress of going to class and studying, and take a moment to breathe,” she said. 

On Wednesday, the rec center’s outdoor pool offers a pool party with free snacks starting at 1 p.m. At 4 p.m., the ECU Center for Counseling and Development will host ”Mind Body Connection” at Hendrix Theater in Mendenhall Student Center to talk about the importance of being mentally and physically healthy.

Childs said a good way for students to avoid end-of-the-year panicking is to keep up with studying and practice stress management throughout the year.

“If you take some of the tips we talk about and practice them every day, you won’t have to worry as much about test day,” she said. 

Wednesday also is Founders Day and University Awards Day. A ceremony celebrating the founding of the institution by the N.C. General Assembly 109 years ago and the presentation of several awards will be held in Hendrix Theatre at 9 a.m.

According to ECU historian John Tucker, Founders Day was first celebrated in 1932 on the 25th anniversary of the March 8, 1907, legislation that created the East Carolina Teachers Training School, a precursor to the university.

“The 25th was the first noteworthy anniversary occasion where you could look back and say, ‘Wow, we’ve come a long way,’” Tucker said. “It was a special moment.” 

The legislation authorized the State Board of Education to locate a school in some eastern town and appropriated $15,000 for equipment of the buildings. Greenville was the intended location of the school in the mind of the bill’s sponsor, Sen. James L. Fleming, a Greenville resident and one of the founders of the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, but the city wasn’t named in the legislation.

Since several other towns in the east wanted the school, it would have been difficult to garner support for a bill that presupposed Greenville as its location, Tucker said.

The city later secured the school by offering $100,000 in local bonds, outbidding other municipalities. 

Founders Day historically has been celebrated on or near the anniversary of March 8. However, in recent years, it has been held instead at the end of the semester near University Awards Day in an attempt to avoid the chaos of midterms, spring break and March Madness. This year, the celebrations have been combined into one ceremony. 

“The feeling was that rather than try to do two things in rapid succession, Awards Day and Founders Day, it would be better to combine them into one ceremony at the end of the year close to commencement,” Tucker said.


Contact Holly West at hwest@reflector.com or 252-329-9585.


Chancellor announcement 

The University of North Carolina Board of Governors will meet in Chapel Hill on Wednesday to consider appointing ECU’s next chancellor. 

The meeting will be held at 1:30 p.m. in the board room of the Spangler Center. According to the tentative agenda, BOG members will go into closed session after taking roll to discuss the person UNC System President Margaret Spellings nominates for the position. They will then discuss and possibly vote on the candidate in open session.

Spellings will choose a finalist from among three candidates recommended to her by the ECU Board of Trustees. 

The search process began in October when ECU announced the formation of the statutorily required Chancellor Search Committee and a second group, the Leadership Working Group, which worked to develop the profile for the position. 

After holding several public meetings and forums to discuss the criteria for the candidates, the committee met in closed session twice to consider candidates. The top three candidates were presumably voted on during closed session in a special-called meeting of the Board of Trustees on March 28 and sent to Spellings.

Chancellor Steve Ballard will step down July 1.