To our students and all of the campus community, welcome back!
We are building on some big accomplishments, milestones and new beginnings from the fall as we move into the Life Sciences and Biotechnology building, develop Intersect East and plan for a new medical education building. Our faculty continues to impress with innovative teaching and groundbreaking research and the staff makes it all possible and ensures that the Pirate experience is engaging and fulfilling for all of us.
And the students! Before the break, we celebrated the ultimate Pirate moment with more than 1,800 newly minted ECU graduates. I had the opportunity to meet many of them and hear their stories, and I must tell you that it is simply a joy for me as your chancellor to celebrate that special day with our new graduates and their families. All of you are writing your own stories, and whether it’s this May or a few years down the road, I look forward to sharing that transformative moment with each of you.
But we have work to do and memories to make before that time comes. As we returned to campus in the fall, I remarked on how Pirate Nation has persevered during the pandemic, and my pride in all our efforts to protect each other. Now, more and more I see that it’s not just persevering; in many ways we are thriving — rising to meet each new challenge and taking our individual and collective efforts to new levels. But that’s not to say that it’s easy, and I also know that many of us are struggling. So continue to lend a hand or an ear when you can to those around you — that’s Servire. And reach out for help if you need it. We have great resources and people eager to assist. You are not alone.
As for what our precautions will look like this spring, campus will operate much as it did in the fall, with masks required in indoor spaces and social distancing measures in place. Vaccinations and boosters are available on campus, and regular testing is required for those who are unvaccinated. In December we reached an 80% campus vaccination rate, and I take that as a great sign of Pirates protecting Pirates. As I shared in a recent campus communication, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for you to get vaccinated and to receive your booster as soon as you are eligible. We know there will be cases on campus as students and employees return.
ECU’s COVID Coordination Committee will continue to monitor and discuss the latest trends and guidance, and it may be necessary to adjust our precautions during the semester. The Return of Pirate Nation website remains the best source for the latest updates on COVID-19 information and expectations.
I hope that each of you had a restful break, I’m glad to have you back in Greenville and on campus, and I wish you a fun and successful spring semester. I know you will do amazing things.
From music and theater to student clubs and events, you will have plenty of opportunities to get involved in campus activities. We’ve seen firsthand that we can’t take campus life for granted, so take full advantage. Winter sports are in full swing, and spring sports will be soon. Get out and support your fellow Pirates, and I’ll see you there!
East Carolina University chancellor