Forty-three family members share ECU legacy

Many families have legacy ties and deep connections to East Carolina University. The late Maude Lena Gatlin Bryan’s life story is so richly connected to ECU that it mirrors and has enriched the institution’s history. She was a 1917 graduate of East Carolina Teachers Training School (ECTTS) and the first of a long line of ECU graduates in her family.

The ECU-Bryan family tapestry is so vast that her granddaughter, Ann Carole Bryan ’68, wrote a family genealogy to trace the legacy. She identified more than 40 family ties with lineage to Maude Gatlin Bryan.

During Family Weekend, Ann Bryan watched as her granddaughter, Emma Grace Bunting, joined the family legacy at the ECU Alumni Association Legacy Pinning Ceremony. Bunting is the 43rd family member to attend ECU.

Ann Carole Bryan ’68, right, watches as her granddaughter, Emma Grace Bunting, receives a legacy pin from her mother, Krista Williams Bunting ’01. (Photo by Patricia Earnhardt Tyndall)

Ann Carole Bryan ’68, left, watches as her granddaughter, Emma Grace Bunting, receives a legacy pin from her mother, Krista Williams Bunting ’01. (Photo by Patricia Earnhardt Tyndall)

She chose ECU for its highly rated psychology program, which will help her pursue her goal of becoming a child psychologist. As fate would have it, Bunting was assigned to live in Legacy Hall.

“Although I never knew my great-great-grandma Maude, family members say she was a strong woman, way ahead of her time,” Bunting said. “I have always been proud to be a member of the Bryan family, and it is interesting that my Grandma Ann’s grandma came in 1917 to become a teacher.”

Maude Bryan was 8 years old when ECTTS was founded. According to Ann Bryan’s family history, her grandmother’s life parallels the school’s growth to its present-day status as East Carolina University.

Maude Bryan graduated from ECTTS just shy of her 18th birthday. She taught at Maul Swamp School, a one-room school for grades one to eight, in Craven County for three years. In 1920, when ECTTS became East Carolina Teachers College, she stopped teaching to marry widower John Bryan. She had six children and became stepmother to his five children.

When ECTC became East Carolina College in 1951, Maude Bryan became manager of the school cafeteria at Vanceboro Elementary School. Ann Bryan said former students who passed through this school still talk about Maude Bryan’s home-cooked meals. Her children say she lost her touch at home because she cooked at such volume at school.

“Maude died on Sept. 28, 1963, meaning she did not live to see her beloved college become East Carolina University in 1967, but she left a legacy of a whole family of Pirates,” Ann Bryan said.

Generations of Maude Bryan’s relatives have attended ECU, including her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Eleven became teachers, and 12 pursued master’s degrees. Others studied business, industrial technology, recreation, engineering and criminal justice.

Ann Bryan was Pitt County Teacher of the Year 1994-95, and her master’s thesis, “A Teacher’s Guide to North Carolina Literature for Grades 4, 8 and 11,” was published by the Gallopade Publishing Company in 1984.

Krista Williams Bunting, Emma Grace Bunting’s mother and Ann Bryan’s daughter, earned a master’s in education at ECU in 2001. She is an elementary school teacher with Pitt County Schools.

LuAnn Bryan ’77 ’91, Maude Bryan’s granddaughter, worked for the North Carolina Recreation Resources Service, supporting the growth of public parks and recreation opportunities throughout the state.

Her son, Andrew Bryan Moore ’17, earned a degree in security studies and political science. He was hired on his graduation day by the Secret Service. Today, he works for the Department of Homeland Security.

John Hallow ’83, Maude Bryan’s grandson-in-law, played Pirate football from 1978-79 and baseball from 1980-83 at ECU. His daughter, Maggie Hallow Tilley ’20, played volleyball from 2017-2019 at ECU.