ECU alumnus Richard Twilley excited for ‘awesome job’ as homecoming grand marshal

Alumnus Richard Twilley ’89 will have a view from the front of the East Carolina University homecoming parade Saturday after being chosen to serve as grand marshal of the Pirate homecoming tradition.

“Not only am I excited, I’m honored to represent ECU. It’s a place that changed my life,” Twilley said. “Homecoming has always been special to me, as a child and ECU student, but never has it meant more to me as an alumnus.”

Richard Twilley will soon be waving to the ECU homecoming parade crowd. (Photo by George Crocker)

Twilley has many fond memories of watching the parade with his family and his college friends. He grew up in eastern North Carolina. His parents and siblings had very close ties to ECU, and attending the homecoming parade was a family tradition. Twilley said his parents always ensured they had the perfect viewing spot to watch the parade as it moved down Fifth Street.

This year, Twilley and his wife, Avis, will ride the parade route in a friend’s restored Jeep. He will be dressed in Pirate purple and ready to wave to all the children and families lining Fifth Street.

“The thought never crossed my mind that I would be grand marshal, but I always did say as a child that when the marshal would pass by waving and in a cool car, that looks like a pretty awesome job,” Twilley said.

The ECU Alumni Association’s Amanda Murer is thrilled to welcome Twilley as the parade’s lead.

“The parade is a celebration of Pirate Nation in the community, and it is always wonderful to have an ECU alumnus return and lead the procession,” Murer said. “Richard is a proud Pirate who loves ECU. We are grateful for his support and service to the university and are honored he will be part of this homecoming tradition.”

Twilley earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration with a concentration in marketing and completed Harvard Business School’s executive management program. He serves as group vice president at Charter Communications, where he is responsible for leading the vertical sales organization at Spectrum Enterprise.

He was recently appointed to the ECU Foundation board of directors and will serve a four-year term, promoting and strengthening the university through the solicitation, management and distribution of private gifts. He also serves as a director on the Pirate Club’s executive committee.

As a student, Twilley recalled that fall weather always meant Pirate football for him and his friends, who participated in all the social events the season brings. In the days before cellphones and social media, fall and homecoming provided a reason to reach out to friends and start planning for time together on campus.

“The anticipation of reconnecting with old friends and their families was always a highlight and remains that way today,” he said. “The great thing now is all the new friends I made in and around Greenville over the years. I feel blessed.”

The ECU homecoming parade and float competition begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday and processes on Fifth Street from Hilltop to Evans Street.