Let me clear something up for you. Us old men with several days of beard growth are not trying to look like Brad Pitt...

Fanning added to ECU trustees nomination list

UNC governors scheduled to appoint trustees today


Leigh Fanning


By Ginger Livingston
The Daily Reflector

Friday, March 22, 2019

An ECU trustee who initially was passed over for reappointment made the list of nominees who will be submitted to the full UNC Board of Governors today.

The board’s Committee on University Governance, meeting on Thursday, added Leigh Fanning, an executive with R.A. Jeffreys Distributing Company in Greenville, to the list of nominees.

Others on the list include Thomas P. Furr of Durham, founder and CEO of PatientPay, a payments service provider for specialty care agencies; Phillip A. Lewis of Greenville, co-founder of Carolina Benefit Specialists, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina service provider; and Angela Moss, an ECU alumna and senior director at the UNC Management Company, a nonprofit organization that manages investment services for the University of North Carolina System.

Moss also was a late addition to the list, replacing current trustee Mark Copeland, who was nominated for reappointment but whose name was removed from the Board of Governors’ online agenda on Wednesday and replaced with Moss.

Harry Smith, UNC Board of Governors’ chairman, said work had been underway for a couple of weeks to add Fanning to nominees’ list.

“I talked to Leigh probably a week-and-a-half, two weeks ago and told her to have faith and to not participate in the circus,” he said. “Leigh did exactly that. Leigh Fanning is an asset to ECU.”

Fanning showed “grace and dignity” by not joining in what Smith characterized as “yelling and screaming” by a small group at ECU.

The “yelling and screaming” and circus Smith referred to were related to the process involved in the section of prospective trustees for East Carolina University and to Chancellor Cecil Staton’s Monday announcement that he is resigning. 

ECU Board of Trustees chairman Kieran Shanahan released a letter on Tuesday criticizing the Board of Governors for considering the appointment of four individuals who were not recommended or vetted by his board. 

Shanahan also said the nominees all were males, which could have left the ECU Board of Trustees with no female members if the General Assembly didn’t select a woman for one or both of its two appointments.

Smith said concerns about “unhealthy dynamics” was the reason Fanning initially was not recommended reappointment.

“I think there was some overall concerns about board dynamics at East Carolina,” he said. Smith declined to elaborate. 

“Leigh unfortunately got tangled up in what a lot of members of the Board of Governors considered unhealthy dynamics,” he said. “It says a lot that she showed restraint and didn’t engage in the emotional dynamics.”

Fanning said she found out on Tuesday that her reappointment was being considered.

“I am a very proud Pirate and I am excited to be back on the slate,” she said Thursday night. “I am hopeful I am reappointed and I look forward to serving in whatever capacity I can at East Carolina University.” She declined to comment on the appointment process.

Fanning’s addition meant Troy Dreyfus of Pirate Radio in Greenville was removed from the list. Smith said Dreyfus was understanding.

“He’s a Pirate, he’s important to ECU. It’s part of the process,” Smith said. “Troy represents a large portion of the Pirate nation and he’s very important to East Carolina University. He’s showed a lot of strength in standing up for the school. We’re big fans of Troy and his strength … I think Troy is also very excited to have Leigh Fanning (on the board) he communicated that to me and that shows his grace.”

The Committee on University Governance considered nominees to the Boards of Trustees at ECU and eight other UNC System institutions. An observer at Thursday’s meeting said no other nominees for the other institutions were changed.

Contact Ginger Livingston at glivingston@reflector.com or 252-329-9570.