Meet ECU’s 2021 Family of the Year

Each year, East Carolina University celebrates the parents, relatives and friends of current students with a fun-filled weekend on campus.

Sponsored by the Office of Parent and Family Programs and the Division of Student Affairs, Family Weekend aims to connect families to ECU and honor the supportive role they play in the lives of students and the university community. In addition to a variety of events, the weekend includes a special recognition of the Family of the Year. The 2021-2022 Family of the Year is the Almachar-Gottlieb family.

Leah and Phillip Gottlieb, and Gigi Curtin, Family of the year

Leah and Phillip Gottlieb, and Gigi Curtin tailgate for an ECU game. (Contributed photo)

The Almachar-Gottlieb family has been involved with ECU and the Office of Parent and Family Programs for the past four years. Leah Gottlieb has served on the Parents Fund Grant selection committee and is currently a member of the Student Affairs Advancement Council, along with her sister, Gigi Curtin. Gottlieb’s son, Phillip, is a senior studying construction management.

“What resonated with me as a parent was the commitment of the administration and faculty to students,” Gottlieb said. “Some people don’t have the time or bandwidth to be super involved. We see it as an investment. We invest our time and heart in ECU because it’s worth it — not just because of what ECU has given Phillip, but because it helps other students as well.”

Curtin is an alumna who “tells everyone about ECU,” she said. “It’s such a great place and such a great school to be part of.” A highlight of her year is the Family Weekend tailgate, she added.

“When Leah and Phillip called me to say he was considering ECU, I was so excited. When he decided to attend and Leah joined the parent organization, I went along to support them as well as the school,” Curtin said.

The Family of the Year receives tickets to Family Weekend events, including the tailgate and ECU football game, and gets to raise the “No Quarter” flag on the field. In addition, the family is presented with a plaque during the university update that kicks off Family Weekend.

“This weekend serves as an opportunity for family members to experience ECU from their student’s perspective, highlighting why they are proud to be a Pirate. The Family of the Year is selected based on ECU involvement, Pirate pride and support of their student,” said Carter Fenwick, assistant director of the Office of Parent and Family Programs.

Both Gottlieb and Curtin say they plan to stay involved with ECU and the Student Affairs Advancement Council even after Phillip graduates.

“My son is 12, so there’s potential for another Pirate soon,” Curtin said.

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Family Weekend Events

Family Weekend Service Project
1-3 p.m. | Main Campus Student Center Room 249
RSVP Here | Free
Face Covering Required
Join the Office of Parent and Family Programs and the Center for Leadership & Civic Engagement for an afternoon of service that supports the Goodwill Industries of Eastern NC, Inc. This is an indoor service project.

Family Weekend Hospitality Table
2-5 p.m. | Main Campus Student Center Commons (1st Floor)
Face covering required
Stop by this location to pick up your Family Weekend T-shirts, receive some Family Weekend goodies and visit our sponsor tables.

University Update
5-6:30 p.m. | Hendrix Theater, Mendenhall Building
Face covering required
Join us as we officially kick off Family Weekend. ECU campus administrators and Parent and Family Programs staff will welcome families to campus and provide an update on the state of affairs at ECU. Event includes the 2021-2022 Family of the Year presentation and the fifth annual Pirate Legacy Ceremony.

Families in attendance are eligible to win one semester of free in-state tuition or one semester of textbooks.

Family Weekend Tailgate
3 p.m. | Top of College Hill, 14th Street across from Ballard Residence Hall
Tickets $20 (Sold out)
Bring the whole family to the tailgate and enjoy great food, music, games and more. You can sit and soak up the sun and mingle with other families before the game. This is a catered event, not an open tailgate lot. Family Weekend shuttles will drop off visitors at the tailgate location. Gates open three hours before kickoff with the first shuttle departing 15 minutes prior to the tailgate. Tickets must be purchased in advance.

Captain’s Society Brunch
11 a.m. to 1 p.m. | Club Level, Towne Bank Tower, Dowdy-Ficklen Football Stadium (Registration closed)
Face covering required
Members of the Captain’s Society are invited to a special brunch that will include light refreshments, time to mingle with  Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Dr. Virginia Hardy, a brief tour of Towne Bank Tower and exclusive time on the football field.

For a full list of events, visit