The East Carolina University Board of Trustees held a meeting on Feb. 2 to discuss school athletics and the university’s fundraising campaign.
Vice Chancellor for University Advancement Christopher Dyba said six months into the current fiscal year, the university has raised about $34.5 million through its fundraising campaign. This puts ECU on track to meet its comprehensive goal of $500 million by the end of 2023, Dyba said. Fundraising numbers have an extraordinary effect on the lives of students, he said.
“I always encourage you (Board of Trustees) to remember the qualitative side of when we talk about numbers,” Dyba said. “I know in our office, you can sort of get lost in how many millions you raise, but you realize that a dollar, a hundred dollars, a thousand dollars makes a real impact in the life of these students and, of course, all of campus.”
A large donation to the Brody School of Medicine from an unannounced corporation will be officially revealed on Feb. 14, Dyba said.
A large part of fundraising at ECU is Pirate Nation Gives, the annual day dedicated to students, staff, faculty and alumni donating to the university, Dyba said. This year, it will be on March 22, Dyba said. Last year, the university raised around $8 million on the single day, he said.
“As we wrap up (the fundraising campaign), we’ll always be focused on what’s next, and I will tell you that our chancellor has been talking across academic affairs about scholarships and what that means,” Dyba said.
The University of North Carolina (UNC) System Board of Governors proposed state-funded, merit-based scholarships for ECU to the state legislature, Dyba said. The scholarships have not been approved yet, but the initiative remains a priority for administration, Dyba said.
More information on the new scholarships will be released in time, Dyba said.
“It’s exciting that we’ve gotten that on their radar,” Dyba said. “This could be very, very important as we think about attracting students, keeping them in Eastern North Carolina and having them come to ECU and be successful throughout their careers.”
Director of Athletics Jon Gilbert said student athletes performed remarkably well academically last semester, with the average grade point average at 3.19.
ECU broke records in home game attendance during the last football season, Gilbert said. The university ranked second in average home attendance out of all schools participating in NCAA Division I football, Gilbert said.
“I can’t tell you how impressive that is,” Gilbert said. “We are in very rare company as it relates to our peers.”
Athletics sold 15,835 season tickets for the 2022 football season, Gilbert said. Season tickets for the next football season are now on sale and the full home schedule should be done in mid-to-late February, Gilbert said.
Baseball season tickets have sold out for the second year in a row, Gilbert said. On Feb. 25, ECU will be hosting UNC-Chapel Hill in a baseball game and the University of Houston in a basketball game, Gilbert said.
“There’s gonna be some events in and around the athletic complex between baseball and basketball that night,” Gilbert said
Student athletics is creating more opportunities for athletes to use their Name, Image and Likeness, Gilbert said. These developments will result in more successful teams in the future, Gilbert said.
During the month of February, ECU athletics will celebrate Black History Month during games, Gilbert said.
“Our first African-American student athlete, Vince Colbert, came to campus in 1966,” Gilbert said. “He was a two-sport student athlete in both basketball, where he averaged 14 points a game, and in baseball, where in 1968, he threw nine complete games, which ranks third of all time to this day.”
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