Pirate Nation Gives provides limitless possibilities

Donations came from campus and across oceans as more than 2,300 Pirates answered the call to support East Carolina University during Pirate Nation Gives.

The seventh annual day of giving on March 22 surpassed expectations and raised more than $11.8 million in support of university priorities, including student scholarships, health care initiatives, athletics, and faculty and program support. It was the final Pirate Nation Gives to be held during the Pursue Gold campaign and continued the steady course of the university’s ambitious effort to raise $500 million.

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Std. Affairs


Alumni Asc.


Access Sch.


Allied Health


*Bonus money winners

“Thank you, Pirate Nation, for being part of an outstanding day of giving at ECU. We asked for you to be all hands on deck for the university, and you rose to every challenge,” Chancellor Philip Rogers said. “Your gifts and enthusiastic support of ECU allow the university to fearlessly pursue our mission. Because of you, ECU will provide more access to a top-tier education and continue providing innovative initiatives to transform and uplift the region we call home.”

The generous support shown by all of Pirate Nation was led by Pat ’67 and Lynn Lane, annual supporters of Pirate Nation Gives. Their leadership gift will support the EC Scholars program and the Honors College.

The Lanes have cared for ECU like family and their generosity has ensured the university and its students can thrive. Over the years, the Lanes have supported academics and athletics and have established scholarships in the College of Fine Arts and Communication, College of Education and the EC Scholars program.

“We are especially appreciative of the enduring leadership of Pat and Lynn Lane, who support ECU during Pirate Nation Gives annually and have stepped up to be lead donors in this year’s effort,” Rogers said. “Their dedication to the university is unwavering.”

Pirate Nation Gives Champions, like the Lanes, answered the call by establishing numerous challenges for donors, which, when fulfilled, unlocked additional gifts supporting scholarships and programs across all disciplines. The challenges influenced other Pirate gifts, which helped unlock nearly 50 challenge donations throughout the day.

Notable gifts this year include:

  • Keith Beatty ’73, who has endowed access and athletics scholarships with a gift of more than $980,000;
  • ECU Trustee Cassie Burt and husband Travis, who have committed to a professorship;
  • Todd Ervin ’94, who gave $25,000 toward the Todd & Elizabeth Ervin College of Business ROTC Scholarship Endowment;
  • Cheryl and John Oliver, who provided a Pirate Nation Gives challenge gift of $25,000 in addition to a bequest and planned gift in support of the Coastal Studies Institute;
  • Darrell Roberts, a technology systems student, who has donated $5,000 to start a scholarship in the Bachelor of Science in Industrial Technology program;
  • Nicholas Steward ’07 ’11, who established a scholarship endowment in the College of Nursing in memory of his wife, Christina Hill Steward ’07.

ECU donors could specify where and how they would like their funds to be used, designating support to scholarships, research, innovative programs and more.

Campus spirit

Students, faculty and staff participated in Pirate Nation Gives through a variety of on-campus initiatives aimed at building engagement. Students who donated to Name a Squirrel supported Student’s Treasure Chest, and philanthropy honor cords were available for a $20.23 donation for graduating seniors.

Students accounted for 20 percent of the day’s donors. Hundreds visited tables at the campus student centers and the College of Business Student Technology Center to share social media posts, snap up philanthropy cords, thank donors and support the cause.

EC Scholar Sarah Maisto watched the clock and gave the final online donation of the 24-hour period, earning a $4,000 bonus for the EC Scholars Priority Fund. Alumnus Montique Warren made the second-latest gift, earning $2,000 in bonus money for the Department of Finance.

“ECU has already provided me with so many opportunities and such a great overall experience, I wanted to be able to give back in some way, even if my contribution was small,” Maisto said. “I wouldn’t trade being an EC Scholar for the world, and attempting to make the last donation of Pirate Nation Gives this year was just a small expression of my gratitude for this program.”

Maisto knew she wanted to contribute to the Honors College and studied the challenges that could unlock further gifts. The potential bonus money of the day’s last gift inspired her efforts. She set several alarms as reminders, found a clock online that counted the time down to the second, and just when she was sure there was no time to spare, she hit submit.

PeeDee goes global

The search for pint-sized PeeDee was a mission accepted by the campus community and pursued in earnest by the Office of Global Affairs. Staff and students wanted to generate excitement for the program, which participated in Pirate Nation Gives for the first time. The team mobilized, followed the clues, and brought in five of the seven PeeDee plush toys hidden across the university.

“They have a lot of school spirit and they did this together. This was a great team building exercise,” said Jon Rezek, assistant vice chancellor for global affairs. “The staff really believe in what they do and have an affinity for the students these funds will impact.”

Global affairs will receive $5,000 in bonus money for their program. The funds will be used for study abroad opportunities and scholarships for international students, Rezek said.

ECU students lined up to participate by sharing Pirate Nation Gives content on social media, thanking donors and giving support the university.

ECU students lined up to participate by sharing Pirate Nation Gives content on social media, thanking donors and giving support the university. (ECU photo by George Crocker)

“This challenge and the other gifts received through Pirate Nation Gives is exciting for our office,” he said. “It lets others know we’re here and providing value for students.”

The Coastal Studies Institute and Access Scholarship program each received $1,000 from the PeeDee challenge.

Bonus leaders

Throughout Wednesday, leaderboards on the Pirate Nation Gives website tracked support for areas of campus and encouraged giving with a competitive spirit. Numerous social media challenges gave participants the opportunity to win bonus money for their favorite ECU area or fund.

Serious competition began at midnight as donors vied to make the event’s first website gift. It was down to the millisecond to determine that alumnus Eric Rivenbark captured first place and selected the ECU Alumni Association Priority Fund to earn $4,000 in bonus money. ECU employee Mark Rasdorf made the second gift and earned $2,000 for the Dr. Jesse R. Peel LGBTQ Center Priority Fund.

Athletics spent the late hours of Wednesday encouraging support on social media. More than 900 unique donors chose to support an athletics program. Women’s lacrosse won the day and the bonus raising more than $17,000.

Pirate Nation Gives is about everything East Carolina — students, research, arts, health care, athletics and more. By combining one person’s philanthropy with that of others, donors created limitless possibilities for the university.

For more information about the many ways to give to ECU, visit ECU University Advancement.

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

PeeDee's pint-sized mateys went global during Pirate Nation Gives. International enrollment and engagement staff in the Office of Global Affairs earned bonus money for their program by participating in the search for the plush dolls.

PeeDee’s pint-sized mateys went global during Pirate Nation Gives. International enrollment and engagement staff in the Office of Global Affairs earned bonus money for their program by participating in the search for the plush dolls. (Contributed photo)