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Down East Viking Football Classic


The Down East Viking Football Classic began in 1998. ECSU administrators Dr. Claudie Mackey and Dr. Edward McLean brought the idea to then ECSU Board of Trustees Chairman and City of Rocky Mount Assistant City Manager Charles Penny for consideration. After discussion and review by the City Council of Rocky Mount and former Mayor Frederick Turnage, Elizabeth City State University, under the leadership of former Chancellor Mickey L. Burnim, and the City of Rocky Mount entered into an agreement to host the Down East Viking Football Classic in Rocky Mount, NC. The inaugural game was held in September 1998. Since that time, ECSU and the City have maintained their partnership, hosting the Classic each year as indicated below:

1998 1st Annual FSU 10 ECSU 7
1999 2nd Annual (Cancelled due to Hurricane Floyd) ECSU vs. North Carolina Central University (NCCU)
2000 3rd Annual FSU 32 ECSU 26
2001 4th Annual NCCU 31 ECSU 21
2002 5th Annual FSU 16 ECSU 0
2003 6th Annual ECSU 25 NCCU 23
2004 7th Annual FSU 17 ECSU 0
2005 8th Annual SAC 7 ECSU 0
2006 9th Annual ECSU 41 FSU 31
2007 10th Annual Shaw 20 ECSU 17 - OT
2008 11th Annual ECSU 24 SAC 13
2009 12th Annual ECSU 35 Chowan 30
2010 13th Annual
ECSU 38 Fayetteville State 26
2011 14th Annual
ECSU 49 Livingstone 7
2012 15th Annual ECSU 23 Saint Augustine's 21
2013 16th Annual Fayetteville State 31 ECSU 27

The Down East Classic, now in its 17th year, has grown each year drawing over 10,000 fans to the Rocky Mount Athletic Complex. Fans have the opportunity to enjoy a CIAA football game, golf challenge, college and regional high school bands, and a variety of social and entertainment activities. Through additional recruitment and outreach activities, ECSU also offers scholarship opportunities for students in the Rocky Mount-Nash-Edgecombe-Wilson areas. The CIAA (Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association) is a premier NCAA Division II athletic conference. Elizabeth City State University, located in northeastern North Carolina, is a constituent institution of The University of North Carolina. This year's opponent, Benedict College of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC), is located in Columbia, SC.

About The Colleges

Elizabeth City State University

Elizabeth City State University was founded on March 3, 1891 when House Bill 383 of the North Carolina General Assembly established a normal school for the specific purpose of "teaching and training teachers of the colored race to teach in the common schools of North Carolina." Currently, ECSU offers 34 baccalaureate degree programs and four master's degree programs in Elementary Education, Biology, Mathematics and School Administration in three academic schools Arts and Sciences; Business and Economics; and Education and Psychology. As of May 2013, undergraduate and/or graduate degrees have been conferred upon more than 20,000 students.

Elizabeth City State University, a constituent institution of the University of North Carolina, offers baccalaureate, graduate, and professional programs for a diverse student body. The institution's rich heritage provides a firm foundation for its educational endeavors, as well as its role in serving the needs and aspirations of individuals and society.

Through teaching, research, and community engagement, Elizabeth City State University provides a student-centered environment, delivered in a manner that enhances student learning, while preparingits graduates for leadership roles and lifelong learning. The university is also a leader in facilitating sustainable economic growth, while safeguarding the unique culture and natural resources of the region.

The continued growth and excellence has been noticed. ECSU has earned national acclaim for its academic advances: In 2007, Diverse Issues in Higher Education ranked ECSU #1 among Historically Black Colleges and Universities for its black male student-athlete graduation rate. Between 1999 and 2014, ECSU repeatedly earned national acclaim in U.S. News and World Report Magazine's ranking of best colleges in the south. The U.S. News and World Report's 2014 Edition of Best Colleges ranked ECSU first in the Top Public Schools Regional Colleges (South) category and #18 among the nation's Historically Black Colleges and Universities. ECSU also ranked #1 among baccalaureate colleges in Washington Monthly's 2012 and 2013 college rankings.

Benedict College

Founded in 1870, Benedict College is a private, co-educational liberal arts institution located in Columbia, SC. Benedict College was recently ranked for the third consecutive year one of the top baccalaureate colleges in the nation by Washington Monthly for creating social mobility among low-income students, producing cutting edge scholarship and research. In 2011, Benedict received the National Civic Engagement Award from The Washington Center. Benedict is recognized for encouraging students to give back to the community which is the heart of the College's vision and mission. Benedict also was named one of the top 100 institutions in the nation graduating African-American scholars in by Diverse Magazine. Dr. David Holmes Swinton is the thirteenth president of Benedict College. Since Dr. Swinton's appointment in 1994, the College has experienced a dramatic increase in its enrollment, particularly among male students. As a result of this tremendous growth, Benedict has the second largest undergraduate population of the 20 private institutions in South Carolina, and has become the third largest college in The College Fund/UNCF network. Benedict has over 15,000 alumni throughout South Carolina and the United States. The College has been "a power for good" in the community for over 143 years and is a major economic contributor to the region and South Carolina, with a local annual economic impact of $106.7 million.

Benedict received grant of $1.18 million in 2010 from the Department of Energy. The funds will be used for research relating to radioactive materials cleanup and for the creation of a South Carolina HBCU Center of Excellence in Radiation Safety Training. Benedict will also establish a Bachelor of Science program in engineering and bolster existing internship programs at SRS environmental and increase the number of minorities in the environmental science field.