Employees and students recognized for service

East Carolina University celebrated the commitment employees have made to the university’s motto – Servire, to serve – during the Chancellor’s Horizon Awards for Service Thursday, March 14.

“Service is in our DNA and among the hallmark characteristics of this university, and one that sets us apart,” said ECU Chancellor Cecil P. Staton. “We offer a promise of opportunity to our students and these recipients are helping ensure that ECU students have the chance to be beneficiaries of that promise.”

Staton presented the James R. Talton Jr. Leadership Award, which recognizes a leader who serves others in their work through collaboration, empathy, trust and the ethical use of authority. Chris Stansbury, associate vice chancellor for the Division of Student Affairs, was selected from 15 nominees as the recipient of this year’s award.

Chris Stansbury accepts the James R. Talton Jr. Leadership Award from Chancellor Cecil Staton.

Chris Stansbury accepts the James R. Talton Jr. Leadership Award from Chancellor Cecil Staton.

In his remarks, Staton said Stansbury is respected across campus, leads by doing and displays integrity on a daily basis.

“I am so honored and blessed to receive the Talton Leadership Award. As a two-time ECU alum, I love this university and I am thrilled to be part of the leadership that is working to help our students learn, lead, serve and succeed,” said Stansbury.

The Office for Equity and Diversity recognized faculty, staff and students in the areas of diversity, inclusion and leadership.

Toya Jacobs, diversity and inclusion program manager, said the awards help recognize and reward individual and team efforts for a more inclusive campus.

Diversity and Inclusion awards were presented in four categories: faculty, staff, student and group.

  • Faculty honoree – Dr. Priti Desai, associate professor, department of Human Development and Family Science.
  • Staff honoree – Dr. Virginia Hardy, vice chancellor, Division of Student Affairs.
  • Student honoree – Cecilia (Ceci) Shelton, doctoral student, Rhetoric, Writing and Professional Communication.
  • Group honoree – College of Education Diversity Committee.
Dr. Priti Desai receives the faculty award for Diversity and Inclusion.

Dr. Priti Desai receives the faculty award for Diversity and Inclusion.

The Centennial Awards for Excellence in ambition, leadership, service and spirit were presented by members of the Faculty and Staff senates. Up to three award recipients were selected in each category and were nominated by their peers and selected by a committee.

The faculty winner selected for ambition was Dr. Carmen Russoniello, professor of recreation and leisure studies, for his efforts in addressing and raising awareness to advance health care techniques that have led to positive impacts on the lives of so many people.

Members of the planning team for the Console-ing Passions at ECU conference were chosen for the team ambition Centennial Award. The team consisted of Amanda Klein, Cheryl Dudasik-Wiggs, Anna Froula, Marianne Montgomery, Jennifer Valko, Katy Webb, Carolyn Willis and Laura Jolly.

The staff honoree in the leadership category was Ginger Grimes, administrative support specialist in the Department of Biology. She is the founding chair of the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences staff council and staff executive committee and participates in the Women and Gender Advancement Council.

Dr. Susan McCammon, the faculty leadership winner, was described as an exemplary servant-leader. She is the department chair of the Department of Psychology and interim dean of the College of Health and Human Performance. Associate Provost for Institutional Planning Assessment and Research Dr. Ying Zhou was also recognized for her leadership and commitment to inclusion.

This year’s faculty honoree for service was philosophy professor Dr. Calvin Mercer for his commitment to community service and helping others. Employee Taria Crenshaw, research operations manager in the Department of Biology, also was recognized for service. Crenshaw works closely with students as a mentor and encourages underrepresented minorities to work in STEM fields.

Dr. Vivian Martin Covington was recognized in the “other” category for service. In her nomination, colleagues noted that she took service to others very seriously in her role as executive director of undergraduate affairs and education preparation in the College of Education.

The final category of the Centennial Awards, spirit, recognized individuals who embody an enthusiasm for the purpose, mission and belief of ECU. Dr. David Batts, associate professor in the College of Engineering and Technology, was the faculty recipient for his focus on doing what he can to make the world a better place and his willingness to do what is best for the university and its mission.

Technology Support Analyst Johnny Stanley was selected for the staff spirit award. Each year he coordinates the North Pole Link to the N.C. School of the Deaf. He collects wish lists for the school’s residents, helps collect items and delivers the donations with other volunteers.

In addition to the Talton Leadership Award, Chris Stansbury was recognized in the “other” category for the spirit award for his positive approach to situations and his knack for making sure staff members at all levels are recognized for their good work.

ECU’s Servire Society inducted 70 faculty and staff members and 20 students who volunteered a minimum of 100 hours annually in public service.

“Whether it was local activities through Girl Scouts, the Crossroads Community Shelter, the Humane Society or international efforts working with children with special needs in Ecuador to providing medical assistance in Haiti, our Pirates are truly everywhere,” said Dr. Dennis McCunney, director of the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement at ECU.

Before recognizing the inductees, McCunney took a moment to remember ECU employee Dawn Harrison for her ninth year in the Servire Society. Harrison, an administrative support specialist in the School of Music, died earlier this year and earned many of her service hours as a volunteer firefighter with the Bear Grass Fire Department. Her 12-year-old son accepted a plaque on her behalf.

Students who completed the Public Service Fellows Internship Program, funded by the State Employees Credit Union Foundation, were honored for their service in rural communities across North Carolina. The internships are part of ECU’s Public Service Fellows program.

At the close of the event, Provost Ron Mitchelson remarked on the number of people recognized during the evening for serving others.

“When a university creates an atmosphere where we can promote, support and celebrate these types of activities, things get done,” he said.

Employees and students are recognized as inductees to ECU’s Servire Society.

Employees and students are recognized as inductees to ECU’s Servire Society.

The following retired ECU employees received staff emeritus status during the awards ceremony.

Stacie Tronto, retired chief audit officer

Scott Buck, retired associate vice chancellor for administration and finance

Willie Lee, retired auxiliary services director

Janet Johnson, retired assistant director for academic initiatives, Division of Student Affairs

Robert Bruce Peterson, retired director of laboratory operations

Sue Smith Chapman, retired business services specialist, Honors College