Here are the planned gifts that made a difference at ECU this year

Each year, East Carolina University donors make planned gifts that pave the way for future students, faculty and pivotal projects. This year was no different, with donors supporting areas across campus including music, medicine and athletic scholarships.

The Leo W. Jenkins Society honors these philanthropic benefactors and their planned gifts to ECU. The society is named after the university’s fifth president and first chancellor, Leo Jenkins, who oversaw exceptional growth during his tenure. The Leo W. Jenkins Society was established to ensure that ECU appropriately recognizes alumni and friends who have created their own ECU legacy through documented planned gifts.

Chancellor Philip Rogers, center, addresses the Jenkins Society with Senior Associate Vice Chancellor for Development Greg Abeyounis and Vice Chancellor for Advancement Chris Dyba. (Contributed photo)

For the past eight years, the event has been a holiday tradition for the society. Normally, new Jenkins Society members are inducted at an annual luncheon on campus, but the 2020 and 2021 events were virtual due to the coronavirus pandemic. On Dec. 9, the society inducted 31 new members whose collective planned giving totaled more than $22 million. Nine existing members added to their planned gifts in 2021.

“Dr. Jenkins personified many of the qualities we hold dear as Pirates — pride, loyalty and perseverance,” Chancellor Philip Rogers said. “What better way to honor someone who gave so much to our beloved university than to celebrate the commitment demonstrated by members of a group bearing his name?

“Your generosity allows us to continue doing great work and it allows us to confidently deliver on our mission of student success, public service and regional transformation. I hope you know how grateful we are for each of you and for your unwavering commitment to ECU and its future.”

During the virtual event, new members were recognized, including Jeffrey Jenkins ’72, son of Leo Jenkins. Jeffrey and his wife, Bedie ’73, provided an estate bequest to establish the Lillian Jenkins Scholarship Endowment for undergraduate scholarships. Jeff’s brother, Jack Jenkins, is a Jenkins Society member.

Vice Chancellor for Advancement Christopher Dyba was also inducted into the society. He and his wife, Eva Marie, made a gift to support the Access Scholars program. They have a son attending ECU.

“I want to lead by example. I’m thrilled to be part of the Jenkins Society,” Dyba said. “All giving is intentional, and all giving is thoughtful. But planned gifts are especially so given the complexity and the sustaining value of these donations.”

Several new members focused on Access Scholarships in their giving. Dorothy Pruitt ’56 and her husband, Leonard, established a planned gift through a will bequest to provide Access Scholarship funds for incoming freshmen majoring in human development and family science or other programs in health and human performance or education.

“To me, I see it as ongoing,” Pruitt said of her connection to ECU. “You either put a period at the end of your formal education at East Carolina, or you pause and when the time and resources permit, you continue to support the school that made such a significant difference in your life.”

Among the biggest planned gifts made this year was Thomas Arthur’s $2.5 million (with $2.5 million in cash) to the College of Business’ graduate program. Arthur also made a previous $1 million gift to establish the Thomas D. Arthur Distinguished Professorship in Leadership in 2010. His cumulative giving is the largest of any donor to the college.

Planned gifts are vital to the university and significantly increase its endowment, said Greg Abeyounis, senior associate vice chancellor for development. “This endowment growth will serve as a catalyst for excellence for ECU in the future, providing immeasurable returns on strengthening our special mission,” he said.

There’s a lot of flexibility for donors to create a planned gift that works with their philanthropic goals and financial assets in a tax-advantageous manner, he added.

By making planned gifts, donors help ECU address its most pressing financial needs, fuel cutting-edge research and make education more accessible for tomorrow’s leaders. To learn more about planned giving options at ECU, visit

2021 Jenkins Members and Support Areas

  • Thomas Arthur and Dixie Barker Arthur – College of Business graduate school
  • Joseph Biddell – Access Scholars program
  • Frances Boyce and Lawrence Boyce Jr. – Sara Baker Transplant Surgery fund
  • Casey Chapin – College of Business priority fund
  • Lloyd and Virginia Cooper – Ed and Ginny Cooper Access Scholarship Endowment in the College of Business
  • Lee Ann Culmer Carter – College of Nursing and the School of Dental Medicine
  • Christopher and Eva Marie Dyba – Access Scholars endowment
  • Evelyn and William Farrior – Dietetic Internship Scholarship Endowment in the College of Allied Health Sciences
  • Horace and Joyce Gurganus – ECU Foundation and the ECU Educational Foundation
  • David Holloway – Eva Woosley Warren Memorial Scholarship
  • Jeffrey and Bedie Jenkins – Lillian Jenkins Scholarship Endowment
  • Raymond and Sheila McCulloch – Raymond Kirkman McCulloch Scholarship Endowment in the College of Business
  • Dorothy Pruitt – Dr. Dorothy Jean Gooch Pruitt and Mr. William Leonard Pruitt Access Scholarship Endowment in ECU Division of Health Sciences
  • William Reinhart – William Reinhart Scholarship in the School of Music
  • Thomas and Clarissa Robinson – Joe and Anna Robinson Endowment
  • Guy Rogers – Corporal Louis W. Eckstein Ph.D Military Scholarship Endowment and the Nancy DePalo Vincent Endowment in the College of Business.
  • Margaret Eliza Roper – Margaret Eliza Roper Scholarship Endowment in Psychology
  • DeAnne Smith – DeAnne Smith Scholarship Endowment in the College of Education
  • Michael and Alice Taylor – Michael and Alice Taylor Endowment for the Joyner Library and the NC Collection
  • William and Mary Truslow – The Gray-Truslow Scholarship Fund in the Brody School of Medicine


Jenkins Members Who Added to their Support in 2021

  • Jeffrey Brame – Stan & Ann Riggs Endowment Fund in the Thomas Harriot College of Arts & Sciences
  • Duane Grooms – Duane Grooms and Family Scholarship Endowment in the College of Health and Human Performance and a baseball scholarship in the ECU Educational Foundation
  • Ed and Mary Hamilton – ECU student-athlete endowment
  • Hal and Debbie Johnson – Hal & Debbie Johnson Basketball Scholarship in the ECU Educational Foundation
  • Mary Jo Parker – Grace Pelt Parker Scholarship in the College of Education
  • Burney and Judy Warren – EC Scholars program

ECU is in the public phase of the Pursue Gold campaign to raise half a billion dollars. This ambitious effort will create new paths to success for Pirates on campus, across the country and around the world. Donor gifts during the campaign will keep us constantly leading and ready to advance what’s possible. Learn more at