Chancellor Cecil Staton awarded three of his Chancellor’s Amethysts at the East Carolina University Board of Trustees dinner Nov. 9. The Chancellor’s Amethyst is a special recognition of philanthropic commitment and generosity to ECU that is awarded each fall and spring. This fall, Staton honored the Harold H. Bate Foundation, Dan and Elizabeth “Beth” Nichols and Dr. Harriet Wooten for their ongoing altruism and service to the university.
“Your tireless work for this university is vitally important,” Staton said. “During my tenure as chancellor, I am committed to expressing our sincere thanks and celebrating the contributions of so many of you.”
The Bate Foundation of New Bern, named after the late Harold Bate, has provided ECU numerous scholarships, support of many academic programs, as well as financial support for construction of the baseball stadium, basketball practice facility and Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium Southside Renovation campaign.
Bate was a lumber executive from New York whose business brought him to Eastern North Carolina in the 1960s. He fell in love with the region and the university. Shortly before his death in 2000, he established the Harold H. Bate Foundation and designated ECU as one of its primary beneficiaries.
In 2001, ECU renamed the General Classroom Building as the Bate Building, home to the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Business, in honor of this longtime friend and benefactor of the university.
ECU alumnus and Bate Foundation president Don Brinkley accepted the award on behalf of the foundation. Brinkley also serves as a member of the ECU Foundation Board of Directors.
“I’m pleased for the whole foundation,” Brinkley said. “I just wish Harold could be here. I see what ECU has to offer and the potential we have here and I’m glad to be a part of it.”
The second recipient, Dan Nichols, was a member of the Pirate Club’s Executive Committee from 2005 to 2007 and returned for a second term in 2013 as vice president. Now serving as president, Danny played integral part in Southside Renovation Campaign — championing the need to raise the visual impact and game-day environment of the athletic programs.
He and his wife Beth have been faithful donors, Pirate Club members and season ticket holders for nearly 30 years. They have displayed their commitment not only through attendance and volunteerism but through significant gifts to various projects including the Second Century Campaign, the Circle of Excellence, the Clark-LeClair Stadium project, and the aforementioned Southside Stadium Renovation.
“I grew up here and enjoy giving back, it’s been a pleasure to do,” Dan Nichols said. “ECU and this community mean so much to me.”
The final recipient, Dr. Harriet Wooten, established The Wooten Laboratory for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases Research at ECU in memory of her husband, Dr. John Wooten, who died of Alzheimer’s disease in 2004.
The Wooten Laboratory has initiated several important programs promoting regional awareness of neurodegenerative diseases in aging populations and supported many research collaborations. It has generously sponsored and funded a lecture series at the annual neuroscience symposium organized by the ECU Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience as well as a prize for the best student at the symposium.
Dr. Harriet Wooten is a retired physician, who for many years directed the Student Health Clinic at ECU. Her late husband was the first orthopedic surgeon in eastern North Carolina.
Their son, Lamont Wooten, a retired orthopedic surgeon, accepted the award on her behalf. He was joined by his brother, Johnnie; his wife, Cindy; son, John, who is a third-year medical student at Brody School of Medicine; as well as John’s wife, Elizabeth.
“She is a fantastic grandmother,” John Wooten said. “It’s been fun and rewarding to talk to her about my medical school experience. She and my grandfather were dedicated to their profession and dedicated to giving back to the community and this university.”
The Bate Foundation, Dan and Beth Nichols and Harriet Wooten join several illustrious individuals and organizations honored with the Amethyst vase. They are the Golden Leaf Foundation; Walter and Marie Williams; BB&T; Carl and Connie Rogers; and Drs. Mary Raab and William McConnell.