If one word sums up Pirate Nation in 2022, it’s “renewal.”

Pirates returned to campus with a rejuvenated sense of hope in response to COVID-19. Chancellor Philip Rogers was officially installed in March as the university’s 12th chancellor. ECU announced its plunge into a unique education model with its formal partnership with YouTube star MrBeast.

Provost Robin Coger also joined Pirate Nation in July, ushering in a new era of academic leadership for ECU’s academic affairs, health sciences and research divisions. In November the university announced plans for its new medical education building to be built beside the Brody School of Medicine, signaling an investment in the state’s future health care leaders.

ECU Athletics also had a banner year in 2022, hosting a super regional round of the NCAA Baseball Championships — the first ever on campus. And the Pirate football team, under head coach Mike Houston, earned its second bowl berth in as many seasons.

And we can’t leave out all of the amazing accomplishments of our students, faculty and staff, including million dollar education grants and research projects that will have long-lasting effects on our region and beyond.

This past year was one to remember for Pirate Nation. Let’s take a look back at 2022’s greatest hits.



University Milestones

East Carolina University Chancellor-Elect Philip Rogers.

ECU celebrated the installation of Philip Rogers as ECU’s 12th chancellor in March. The ceremony was part of ECU’s Founders Week celebration, capping off Rogers’ return to ECU after previously serving as the university’s policy analyst in 2007 and then chief of staff from 2008 to 2013.

ECU and Vidant Health announced a logo for the ECU Health system — which launched in the east in May — capturing the essence of an innovative regional health system.

July marked the start of Robin Coger’s tenure as provost and senior vice chancellor for academic affairs at ECU.

ECU and MrBeast announced an exclusive partnership aimed at developing a credentialing program for employees in the content creator industry.

ECU’s Board of Trustees approved the site of a new medical education building on the health sciences campus. The building will support enrollment growth from 86 to more than 120 medical students per year.

Health Sciences

Dr. Jeffrey Eells, Brody School of Medicine associate professor of anatomy and cell biology, led a study on the relationship between COVID-19 exposure and the likelihood of development of Parkinson’s disease.

A team of scientists, led by researchers from ECU’s Brody School of Medicine, has identified another problem stemming from COVID-19 infections — the potential for greater risk of Parkinson’s disease. The ECU contingent of researchers — Jeffrey Eells, Shaw Akula, Srinivas Sriramula and Dorcas O’Rourke — published a study of how COVID-19 infections could increase the likelihood of developing Parkinson’s disease.

Medical student Rashieda Pugh reacts to learning where she will be completing residency training during ECU’s annual Match Day event.

For the first time since 2019, one of ECU’s most exciting annual events returned to an in-person format when 82 fourth-year medical students learned where they will spend the next three to seven years completing residency training.

Bimbola Akintade’s appointment as dean of the ECU College of Nursing was approved by the ECU trustees.

Bimbola Akintade was named dean of the College of Nursing in July, succeeding Sylvia Brown, who had led the college as dean since 2009.

David Murray, from left, Arvind Mallikarjunan, Valentine Okafor and Vaishnavi Siripurapu — all North Carolina residents — have been chosen for the Class of 2026 Brody Scholar and Brody Fellow award, valued at approximately $118,000.

Four students at ECU’s Brody School of Medicine have been awarded the university’s most prestigious medical scholarship, valued at approximately $118,000.

Physical therapy students from ECU’s College of Allied Health Sciences have been at the helm of a free, student-run clinic for several years, delivering quality health care to eastern North Carolinians who would otherwise lack treatments.

The East Carolina University School of Dental Medicine’s fourth-year students complete three nine clinical rotations in the school’s community service learning centers, where they practice the skills they have learned.

Fourth-year dental student Darian Askew embodies the mission of the ECU School of Dental Medicine. The Union, North Carolina, native returned to Hertford County as part of the school’s community service learning center program.

ECU occupational therapy students practice guiding patients through life tasks in the College of Allied Health’s simulated apartment, where students use hands-on approaches to learn occupational therapy skills.

ECU’s College of Allied Health Sciences is set to offer a doctoral degree program in occupational therapy — the first at any public university in the state.

School of Medicine Dean Dr. Greg Chadwick and Vice Dean Dr. Maggie Wilson join dental student Haley Hildreth as she waves to friends and family during the Class of 2024’s White Coat Ceremony at the Greenville Convention Center.

The ECU School of Dental Medicine’s Class of 2024 received their white coats in a ceremony at the Greenville Convention Center, marking their formal acceptance of their obligations to their future patients and communities.

Medical student Kylie Nowicki affixes a special pin onto her Legacy Teacher Hilary Patty.

ECU Brody School of Medicine students honored patients who made a lasting impression during their third-year clinical rotations at its Legacy Teachers luncheon.


A World War II battle site will be focus for researchers in East Carolina University's Program in Maritime Studies.

Researchers in ECU’s Program in Maritime Studies have received a $707,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research to explore a World War II battle site in Alaska. Field research for the project will occur in the summer of 2023 and utilize advanced marine survey technologies to document the cold-water marine environment, and locate and record the remains of ships, aircraft and other military vehicles lost during the battle.

Colleen Johnson-Jones, owner of Queens of Color Cosmetics, stands in her studio on Red Banks Road. Johnson-Jones participated in ECU's Accelerate Rural NC program to help grow her business.

Small business owners in eastern North Carolina are taking advantage of ECU’s entrepreneurship resources and research, using expert guidance to take their businesses to the next level.

Dr. Kelsey Fisher-Wellman, center, works with students during a lab at the East Carolina Heart Institute. Fisher-Wellman teaches a unique course where instead of final grades, students strive for journal publication.

An ECU assistant professor at the Brody School of Medicine has found a new way to teach lab skills and help students publish their work in peer-reviewed journals.

ECU researchers are telling the stories of Princeville, N.C., residents who chose to rebuild their town after two devastating hurricanes.

ECU faculty and students in the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences are telling the stories of Princeville — the oldest incorporated African American town in the United States.

A pair of Task Force Dagger Foundation veterans excavate a unit. East Carolina University researchers and Task Force Dagger continue to search for and recover missing aircraft and WWII personnel off the coast of Saipan.

ECU maritime studies researchers are leading veterans in therapeutic dive experiences off the island of Saipan to recover missing WWII personnel.


Bradly Boaz, from left, and Krysta Byrd were recognized for their efforts to help Blake Solomonson during a medical emergency. Solomonson and his parents, Becky and Rich Belthoff, attended a recognition ceremony for Boaz and Byrd at ECU’s Main Campus Student Center.

When they found a fellow student in cardiac arrest, ECU students Krysta Byrd and Bradly Boaz stepped in to help, and their actions helped save a life. The pair were recognized in a ceremony at the Main Campus Student Center for their actions that made the difference in keeping Blake Solomonson alive.

A student jumps into the pool during the Polar Plunge.

Keeping an ECU tradition alive, 670 people took the 26th annual Polar Bear Plunge on a cold, windy and rainy night at the Eakin Student Recreation Center outdoor pool.

Love in Pirate Nation Logo

Students come to ECU to find success in higher education, but sometimes their treasure map leads to love.

Jamerus Payton, left center, owner of Carolina Chicken and Waffles, celebrates with his family after winning the fifth annual Pirate Entrepreneurship Challenge.

Student-led Carolina Chicken and Waffles went from a family idea to a business that will reach eastern North Carolina with its win in the 2022 Pirate Entrepreneurship Challenge.

Entrepreneurship major Katie Rowland hopes to use Isley Hub to meet peers who could assist her with getting her nonprofit idea off the ground.

ECU students who want to gather, collaborate and prototype entrepreneurial ideas can now do so in the renovated, former location of the Old Dowdy Bookstore.

Faculty and Staff

East Carolina University police officers Michael Fecteau, left, and William Brown were honored by the Board of Governors on Thursday with the University of North Carolina System's Valor Award.

ECU police officers Michael Fecteau and William Brown received the Valor Award from the University of North Carolina System in recognition for their acts of valor and exceptional service to the system through bravery, heroism, outstanding courage or work above and beyond the call of duty. It was the first time that ECU officers have received the Valor Award.

Teresa Ryan, associate professor and director of engineering research in the Department of Engineering, speaks after receiving the UNC Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching.

ECU celebrated its faculty during the 2022 University Teaching Awards ceremony, as Department of Engineering Associate Professor Teresa Ryan was named the university’s recipient of the UNC Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Lok Pokhrel, left, and Shaw Akula work in a lab in the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University.

A pair of researchers at ECU’s Brody School of Medicine have discovered that a new nanotechnology could potentially have therapeutic benefits in the treatment of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Emily Yeager spends time her with student researchers Anjalee Hou, center, and Taylor Cash. Hou and Cash run social media accounts promoting Yeager’s research into the Blue Economy Corridor.

For many aspiring college students, being able to participate in research projects as an undergraduate is a huge draw. ECU faculty are providing those opportunities to connect researchers with students across disciplines.

William J. Meggs, professor of emergency medicine at the Brody School of Medicine, is one of the presenters participating in the online program.

ECU faculty and staff have teamed with the Eastern Area Health Education center to develop an online module focusing on toxic substances to help farmers in eastern North Carolina.


East Carolina baseball players celebrate with fans in The Jungle after winning the NCAA Greenville Regional championship.

ECU baseball fans and Pirate alumni were celebrated for their enthusiasm this summer as the Pirates battled through the NCAA Baseball Championship. The Clark-LeClair Stadium Jungle section was buzzing at an all-time high for the first-ever NCAA super regional games on campus.

Engaged couple Chloe Ament, left, and Nick McNeill pose together. The couple went on its first date thanks to one of Rappleyea's classroom assignments.

Pirate alumni Chloe Ament asked Nick McNeill on a date because of a class assignment in 2014. Now they are planning their wedding.

Austin Vick, left, and Emily Wiggins were two of 17 ECU alumni who returned to campus on June 13 to help lead new student orientation sessions.

As in-person new student orientation roared back in full force at ECU, chants of “purple and gold” and “no quarter” rang out from the 17 orientation assistant alumni who returned to campus to help instill those traditions.

J. Fielding Miller holds the 2022 John E. Hughes award. He was presented the award at the USASBE 2022 conference at N.C. State University. The event was hosted by the ECU Miller School of Entrepreneurship.

Alumnus J. Fielding Miller and the Miller School of Entrepreneurship shined at the 2022 United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship conference, as the school’s reputation continues to rise.

Brody School of Medicine graduate Hannah Woriax, a breast surgical oncologist, talks with a patient in rural Laurinbug, North Carolina.

For nearly a half century, Brody School of Medicine alumni have been fulfilling the school’s promise to North Carolina patients, enhancing access to physicians, treatments and education.


East Carolina University's online graduate programs in business, criminal justice, education and nursing have been recognized as best in the nation in a new U.S. News & World Report ranking.

ECU’s online graduate programs in business, criminal justice, education and nursing have been ranked best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Online master’s programs in the College of Nursing were ranked in the top 15% of schools listed in the 2022 U.S. News Best Online Programs.

Chancellor Philip Rogers welcomes everyone to the 2022 Chancellor’s Awards for Service. More than 100 East Carolina University faculty, staff and students were honored at the event.

An unwavering commitment to helping others took center stage at ECU’s annual Chancellor’s Awards for Service as more than 100 university faculty, staff and students were honored.

ECU’s Office of Research, Economic Development and Engagement held its sixth annual Research & Scholarship Awards to celebrate university faculty who demonstrated excellence in research, community engagement, and innovative or creative activities in the past year.

East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine has again ranked as North Carolina’s most diverse medical school in a listing of the 2023 Best Graduate Schools released today by U.S. News & World Report.

ECU’s Brody School of Medicine, College of Education, and several graduate school programs in the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences were recognized for their success.

The ECU School of Dental Medicine has received a national award for its advances in social mission — from addressing the oral health care gap in rural communities to providing access to a dental education.


Six ECU College of Education faculty members are working on the edPIRATE grant. From left, they are Dr. Jennifer Gallagher, Dr. Karen Jones, Dr. Amy Swain, Dr. Christy Howard, Dr. Kristen Cuthrell and Dr. Matthew Militello.

At its heart, the ECU College of Education is dedicated to enriching and giving back to the rural community around Greenville. A new $9 million grant will allow it to create a new teacher pipeline to do just that. The federally funded Teacher Quality Partnership grant aims to support educator preparation programs.

ECU Brody School of Medicine assistant professor Dr. Karen Litwa was named the recipient of a $1.2 million research grant from the National Science Foundation for her research into brain development.

ECU researcher Karen Litwa has earned a National Science Foundation Career Award for $1.2 million over five years to study synapse formation in brain development, which is vital to cognitive processes like learning and memory.

Dr. Jean-Luc Scemama, associate professor of biology; Dr. Heather Vance-Chalcraft, assistant professor of biology; and Dr. Jason Yao, professor of engineering are part of an East Carolina University team receiving $1 million of a multi-university grant to support students from underrepresented backgrounds in science, technology, engineering and math.

ECU is one of five North Carolina universities collaborating on a $3.4 million, five-year grant from the National Science Foundation to better recruit and support students from underrepresented backgrounds in science, technology, engineering and math.

Markis’ Hamilton, an undergraduate student from Fayetteville State University, works in a hood in the East Carolina University Life Sciences and Biotechnology Building. A North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation grant will support years of minority health promotion graduate student education at ECU.

An ECU and Fayetteville State University partnership has secured more than $1.3 million in grant funding from the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation to address regional public health needs.

Dr. Sy Saeed talks to a student from Elizabeth City from his office in Brody.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina awarded $1.54 million to ECU to provide telepsychiatry services over the next five years for students at Elizabeth City State University.


Supporters of East Carolina University raised a record $69.8 million during the 2021-22 fiscal year.

As ECU works to prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s careers, Pirate Nation has gotten on board with the mission, providing the university with a record $69.8 million in philanthropic support during the fiscal year that ended June 30. The annual fundraising effort surpassed last year’s mark of $48.3 million and the previous record of $56 million set in 2016.

Current EC Scholars pose in front of the East Carolina University Main Campus Student Center. The EC Scholars program is the most prestigious undergraduate award program at ECU.

A planned gift is like planting a tree. Donors never expect to sit in its shade. Alumnus Burney Warren ’70 wants future generations of EC Scholars to enjoy it instead, pledging an 8-figure gift to ECU.

Students write messages to ECU donors during Pirate Nation Gives. The university raised more than $8.4 million during its sixth annual day of giving.

As ECU marked its 115th year and celebrated the installation of Chancellor Philip Rogers, Pirate Nation rose to the occasion and pledged more than $8.4 million during the university’s annual day of giving.

Dr. Ledyard E. Ross Jr., the namesake of the ECU School of Dental Medicine's Ross Hall, died on the evening of June 28.

ECU remembered School of Dental Medicine supporter Ledyard E. Ross Jr. after his death earlier this year. Ross committed $4 million to name the dental school in 2010.

Even with federal funding, student vets can still struggle to pay college tuition and fees. The Paul Singleton Military Academic Success Fund helps student veterans pay for their tuition, fees and books.