ECU opens for fall semester

East Carolina University began its fall semester on Monday, Aug. 18, as members of the faculty attended the annual convocation program in Wright Auditorium. Classes begin on Wednesday, Aug. 20.

Molly Corbett Broad, president of the University of North Carolina, gave the opening remarks in her first public presentation. Broad succeeded former president C.D. Spangler, last July, as head of the 16-campuses of the UNC system.

“I have a great deal to learn and I will be a student in your midst,” she told the faculty. She then listed some of the things that impressed her from her readings about East Carolina University.

She talked about the depth of diversity in the ECU School of Education, the largest in the state, and said the school’s Model Clinical Teaching Program has revolutionized the way people think about teaching.

She said the medical school’s young history demonstrates the value of perseverance and politics. She noted that the school has earned a national reputation from its original mission to emphasize primary care. Broad said that primary care and family medicine is much more important today than when the school began in 1974.

“It is impossible to talk about the culture and the economy of eastern North Carolina without mentioning East Carolina University,” she said. “ECU is a source of great pride to the community.”

Students returning to campus found fewer construction sites than last fall and spring. One unfinished project is the renovation of an older section of the J.Y. Joyner Library. The renovation, the second phase of a $30 million library improvement project, will modernize offices and classroom space in the building. Phase three of the project, which will be completed next year, will provide ECU with an attractive, pedestrian entryway into the east campus. The construction will continue throughout the year and is not expected to interfere with the services of the library.

Parking on campus has improved with the expansion of parking lots near Mendenhall Student Center, the new Student Recreation Center, the Belk Allied Health Building and the Rivers Building. A large parking area near the downtown district (corner of Reade and 4th Streets) will be open this fall to ECU registered vehicle.

On the academic front there are some changes as well. Among them are a new masters degree program in International Studies that begins in the College of Arts and Sciences. The School of Allied Health Sciences has enrolled the first 20 students in a new degree program for physician assistants.