ECU employees receive state service and Treasured Pirate awards

Lou Anna Hardee works in the College of Education.

Lou Anna Hardee works in the College of Education.

Hardee recognized for 55 years of service

Lou Anna Hardee has worked for every East Carolina University chancellor since Leo Jenkins and seven deans in the College of Education, where she started in 1968.

On Wednesday, ECU recognized Hardee and other faculty and staff with more than 30 years of service to the state during a ceremony in the Main Campus Student Center. With 55 years, Hardee was the longest serving employee honored.

“Students are our first priority on this campus,” she said. “I serve the faculty and staff and dean and have worked with department chairs. They know if they ask me to do something, I will get it done.”

Hardee first joined ECU as secretary in the then Department of Secondary Education in the School of Education after working three years as a clerk-stenographer at the Pitt County Department of Social Services.

She has witnessed phenomenal growth and change as the school became the College of Education and ECU grew to one of the largest in the UNC System.

When Hardee started, education shared the Speight Building with ECU’s psychology department. There were 35 faculty members; now there are well over 300 full and part-time College of Education faculty and staff members, who work in Speight and five other buildings across campus.

Hardee now works part time as administrative support specialist in the associate dean’s office and as facilities coordinator and safety representative for the college. Among her duties, she is responsible for approving 1 Card access and getting driver verification for all faculty and staff, maintaining the overall employee directory, placing work orders, space and building assignments, and the disposition of all furniture and equipment.

Her previous positions included EPA faculty personnel officer in the dean’s office, administrative secretary for an associate dean and two assistant deans, and as department secretary in five areas.

“If there’s one thing as far as the legacy I leave, it’s that I put others’ needs before my own,” she said. “If I know someone needs something or needs help, I’m going to be there for them.”

Service has been at the heart of Hardee’s life.

As an inductee to the College of Education Educators Hall of Fame, her motto is engraved on her hall of fame plaque: “Dedicated to providing friendly, quality and outstanding service to the students, college, university and community. A true Pirate and friend to many!”

Hardee also is a member of ECU’s Servire Society, which recognizes significant service in the community. She is past president of the Optimist Club of Greenville, served as Oratorical Contest chair, past governor and lieutenant governor of the North Carolina East District, and served as vice-president of the Mid-Atlantic region for Optimist International, which included training officers in two southeastern states. She is a past member of District 65 (ECU) State Employees Association of N.C.

A Pitt County native, she married her high school sweetheart, the late Curtis Lee Hardee Sr., and they have two sons and six grandchildren.

“The College of Education and the university have been my extended family,” said Hardee, sharing some reasons for her longevity. “I just enjoy being here. I like people and I like my job. I get bored real easy. I’ve got to have something to do. I’ve got to be busy.”

East Carolina University faculty and staff members with 30 years or more of state service and 14 Treasured Pirate Award winners were recognized during a ceremony Wednesday in the Main Campus Student Center.

“We are grateful for all Pirates, but today we celebrate these honorees,” said Chancellor Philip Rogers in his welcome. “You are the strength of Pirate Nation. It is you who make our goals possible, and I am honored to have the opportunity to recognize these dedicated professionals who have given so much to our university.”

Dennis Gibson receives the Richard Caswell Award from Chancellor Philip Rogers for 45 years of state service. (Photo by Steven Mantilla)

Dennis Gibson receives the Richard Caswell Award from Chancellor Philip Rogers for 45 years of state service. (Photo by Steven Mantilla)

Nearly 6,000 faculty and staff members work at ECU, helping to fulfill the university’s mission of student success, public service and regional transformation. “Our people have allowed us to deliver on the promises of opportunity to the people of this state for more than 115 years now and we are only as strong as we are today because of the people who invest in their time and talents in our students and our region,” he said.

Those honored embody ECU’s motto, Servire, meaning to serve. “They serve our students, our university, our region and our state with steadfast and selfless dedication. They represent the very best of ECU,” Rogers said.

Faculty and staff with 30, 35, 40, 45, 50 and 55 years of service to ECU and the state of North Carolina were honored. In addition, ECU’s annual Treasured Pirate award winners were recognized for going above and beyond and distinguished accomplishments in the following categories: customer service, efficiency and innovation, human relations, outstanding government service, public service, safety and heroism, and the spirit of North Carolina.

“Collectively and individually, you possess a wealth of knowledge and a deep understanding of what it means to be a Pirate,” Rogers said. “You embody the very best of East Carolina University, and it is people like you that help ECU continue to deliver on its promises to our students, faculty, staff, the region and beyond.”

Three employees — Dennis Wayne Gibson, Judy Sawyer Harrison and Lou Anna Hardee — received the Richard Caswell Award, which acknowledges the noteworthy dedication of employees with 45 or more years of service to the state. The award is named for Caswell, who dedicated most of his adult life to the state including as governor from 1776-1780 and again from 1784-1787, as a delegate to the constitutional convention in Philadelphia in 1787, and as a state senator.

Gibson, who works full time in the neurology administration department for Brody School of Medicine internal medicine, was recognized for 45 years at ECU. He started working in 1978 in ECU sports medicine.

While Gibson’s roles on the Health Sciences Campus evolved through the years, he has stayed because of “the community, the people and the Pirate spirit — that’s a big thing,” he said following the ceremony. “I still love it. People always say, ‘You’ll know when it’s time to retire.’ As long as you enjoy working and doing what you’re doing, stay with it.”

Harrison served in many positions at ECU, the most recent for 16 years as part-time administrative support associate in the Department of Addiction and Rehabilitation Studies in the College of Allied Health Sciences. She retired in December after 50 years of state service. She received a watch instead of a framed Caswell award, which she received at 45 years.

Harrison worked full time for 30 years in the ECU registrar’s office. Following retirement there in 2000, she returned part time to serve other areas, including the math department in Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, the vice chancellor’s office, the advising center in the College of Health and Human Performance, and the Department of Physician Assistant Studies.

Judy Harrison receives a watch for 50 years of state service from Chancellor Philip Rogers. (Photo by Steven Mantilla)

Judy Harrison receives a watch for 50 years of state service from Chancellor Philip Rogers. (Photo by Steven Mantilla)

“My love for students and great coworkers was why I stayed so long. They were my work family. East Carolina University was my life for many years, but it is now time for my family and a new journey,” Harrison said.

Hardee was recognized for 55 years in the ECU College of Education. Read more about Hardee in the accompanying story.

In closing, Rogers thanked the honorees for their service, commitment, dedication and never-wavering service to ECU and the state of North Carolina.

The following employees were recognized by their respective division vice chancellors:

2023 Service Awards

30 years: Angela Robbins Anderson, Scott Dellana, Anne Dickerson, Sandy Dixon, Shelia Ellis, Cindy Putnam-Evans, Mary Farwell, Mary Drillious Gay, Stephen Gray, Nedra Lee Harris, Purificación Martínez, Brenda J. Morton, Zachary Perkinson, Mary A. Price, Sue Raedeke, Claudia Robinson, Lynn M. Roeder and Regina Gwyn Smith; 35 years: Azeez Aileru, Cynthia Andrews, James P. Coleman, Carlester Crumpler, Martha Dartt, Retha Gardner, Christie C. Harrison, Gregory L. Hassler and Scott Edwin Wade; 40 years: Alan Branigan, Martha G. Elmore, Debra S. Peele, Ann Carol Stocks and Karen Vail-Smith; 45 years: Dennis Wayne Gibson; 50 years: Judy Sawyer Harrison; and 55 years: Lou Anna Hardee.

2023 Treasured Pirates

Natalie Aman, teaching instructor in the College of Engineering and Technology

Dr. Monisha Atkinson, instructional technology consultant, College of Education

Dr. Marissa Carraway, clinical assistant professor of family medicine, Brody School of Medicine

Chad Carwein, ECU sustainability manager

Allison Flowers, director of the Office of Faculty Affairs and Leadership Development, Brody School of Medicine

Rebecca Gilbird, director of the Office of Clinical Simulation, Brody School of Medicine

Steve Hinrichs, director of athletic equipment operations for ECU

Cathy Knudson, director of international enrollment and engagement, Office of Global Affairs

Deidra Morrisey, auditor, Chancellor’s Division

Annika Philippe-Auguste, residence hall coordinator, Student Affairs

Damon L. Rappleyea, former program director for the marriage and family therapy master’s degree program, College of Health and Human Performance

Max Rohrman, student success center coordinator, College of Engineering and Technology

Rachel Stewart, dental hygienist, School of Dental Medicine

Randy Yui, assistant director of annual giving, University Advancement