ECU College of Business awards record scholarship dollars
At the East Carolina University College of Business’ annual scholarship ceremony held earlier this semester, 150 students, faculty and COB donors met, networked and celebrated a program that handed out a record-breaking $400,000 in scholarships in 2021-22.
The event’s attendees also had the opportunity to learn from current and future business leaders.
Steve Eagle graduated from what was then known as ECU’s School of Business in 1981. He received his degree in economics after attempts in biology and education. Eagle told the ceremony’s audience about his early days with the school and how there were some missteps, but eventually, he graduated with honors. During his time at ECU, Eagle says he learned more about what was within him to become successful.
“That’s what ECU is all about,” Eagle said. “It’s about meeting you where you are, making you better than you thought you could be. That’s what happened for me, here.”
Eagle also provided words of encouragement about the future of the COB students in attendance. One message was to understand that failure, if one should experience it, is very much part of one’s success. An analogy he used referenced something everyone on campus sees daily: an old oak tree.
“Like rings of an old oak tree, each year they build upon on another,” said Eagle. “A limb will break, but another will grow back that’s stronger.”
Eagle’s career could also be looked at as an old oak that’s still standing. He’ll tell you that he has had challenges in his career, but today that old oak of his is standing in Savannah, Georgia; it’s called Sterling Seacrest Pritchard— the largest privately held insurance brokerage/consulting firm in the southeast. As a partner, Eagle helped grow the firm to more than 300 employees with more than $90 million in revenue.
No matter what was going on with his career, Eagle found time to give back to the college. He has provided scholarship support since 1996. On a night when the southeastern seaboard was hoping its majestic oaks would stand up to a storm named Ian, the College of Business celebrated a Pirate that sees people as influential points along one’s life journey.
“To me, people and places are like stars in your life,” Eagle said. “They show you the way.”
Thankfully, the ceremony brought Eagle back to ECU for the first time in 40 years, along with his wife, and fellow Pirate, Carter.
Junior Jordan Anderson is from Charlotte, North Carolina. The accounting major represented the students and also spoke at the scholarship ceremony. She’s the previous recipient of the Chancellor’s Fellow scholarship from the Honors College and the Business Scholar Scholarship from the College of Business. This past year, she also received the Sarah and Charles McGimsey Accounting Scholarship.
Anderson speaks fondly about how her first two scholarships affected her life. They came at a point in her life where things were financially stressful at home.
“Because of my first two scholarships, my college experience was not affected. We didn’t have to touch my savings,” Anderson said.
So, what was her message to those in attendance? Donors heard firsthand how their gifts make a difference. For the students? If you see an opportunity, go for it.
“It’s because of the College of Business and the donors that I can have the college experience I’m having right now,” Anderson said. “My message to the students is to take advantage of every opportunity available because there are so many opportunities at ECU and the College of Business.”
Going for it
Interim Dean Mike Harris is not one to rest on his laurels. He knows when to celebrate the wins, but he also knows the culture of what makes the College of Business a desired destination.
“We have a very strong competitive spirit in the college,” Harris said. “We are proud Pirates, and we are all very happy that we’ve had a record-breaking year with scholarships. But, I know all of us can do more.”
Harris closed the evening with a challenge. He’d like to see the College of Business award more than $500,000 in scholarships for 2022-23. To do that, he’s asking if COB donors can give a little more this next donation cycle.
And based on initial feedback, the increases have already started.