Rogers: Thankfulness and Gratitude — Nov. 24, 2021

As we approach Thanksgiving and a much-needed break in the fall semester, we have much to be thankful for as a university community. First and foremost, Rebekah, the boys and I are thankful to be back home in Greenville, and I am especially grateful to be back at East Carolina University.

As Pirates, it has been a bustling couple of weeks, and we have had great news to share. The state budget includes an investment in a new medical education building, salary increases for faculty and staff, and much-needed repair and renovation funds for campus facilities. There is also generous support for our Rural Residency Program and the N.C. Statewide Telepsychiatry Program.

Our joint operating agreement with Vidant Health was approved, allowing us to begin the detailed work to launch ECU Health, a clinically integrated academic health system bound by a strategic mission focused on providing high quality, culturally competent care to our region. ECU Health will be better positioned to impact rural health care in Eastern North Carolina and address health disparities and care delivery obstacles.

This month we cut the ribbon on the new Life Sciences and Biotechnology Building — you can’t miss it as you come over the 10th Street connector. The 141,500-square-foot facility is a new gateway facility to our campus that features lab spaces, faculty offices, and meeting and classroom space, and it will be home to ECU’s Department of Biology and the new Eastern Region Pharma Center.

We also recently announced the launch of the public phase of a $500 million comprehensive fundraising campaign. This campaign is an inclusive initiative that will align and advance our university fundraising priorities and represents the largest philanthropic endeavor in ECU history. It will serve to bolster academics, research, athletics, health care and more. We’re now ready to build on the momentum of the last few months to sprint toward this goal and propel ECU into the future with a solid endowment, state-of-the-art facilities, increased scholarship opportunities for students and new research achievements.

Our proud athletics tradition continues to thrive, as well. Big wins on the gridiron have ensured a winning season and a bowl berth for the ECU football team as we face a top-five opponent on national television this week. I’m thankful for every single fan joining us in Dowdy-Ficklen on Friday afternoon to cheer on the Pirates and for those who support all of our Pirate student athletes. And just in time for that marquee matchup, we returned a repaired and rejuvenated Pirate statue to the campus mall.

Finally, I’d like to express my gratitude to all of Pirate Nation for the support you’ve shown to my family and me over the past eight months. The collaborative spirit and commitment to our mission does not go unnoticed and I am grateful. I hope you each find time for rest, relaxation, and renewal over this Thanksgiving break and know that I’m most grateful for all of your contributions to our university.

Go Pirates!
Philip Rogers