Ninth Founders Day Scholarship Gala celebrates university’s 125th anniversary

By Kesha Williams

The Elizabeth City State University Foundation Board of Directors celebrated the university’s 125th anniversary with a sell-out crowd attending the ninth Founders Day Scholarship Gala on March 12.

This year, gala organizers presented five of ECSU’s former First Ladies as recipients of the Chancellor's Legacy Awards —Mrs. Lula Thorpe, Dr. Faleese Moore Jenkins, Mrs. LaVera Levels Burnim, Mrs. Jacqueline Gilchrist, and Mrs. Brenda Becton. Chancellor Thomas Conway, and current first lady, Mychele Conway, presented the awards to the honorees. They congratulated the honorees for their contributions and support of former chancellors who led the university. Of the honorees, Jenkins and Gilchrist earned undergraduate degrees from ECSU, Thorpe was a faculty member, and all of them have lengthy records of community service.

Victor Moody, a member of The Elizabeth City State University Foundation’s board of directors, said it was his pleasure again to greet the crowd of supporters who generously purchased tickets that support scholarships for deserving ECSU students. He was also appreciative of employees and other supporters who made donations for the occasion.

“This year’s gala was significant because we are celebrating the university’s 125th anniversary and we recognized the former First Ladies. It was really special to welcome back former chancellors as well who returned to share this occasion,” Moody said.

“The Board of Directors for The ECSU Foundation collaborated with National Alumni Association (NAA) members to coordinate this event. The two student scholarship recipients who spoke at the gala explained just how important those scholarships are to deserving students.”

Dr. Jeanette Evans, a 1963 graduate of the institution, current member of The ECSU Foundation Board of Directors and former president of the NAA, said the alumni were pleased to contribute to another gala and welcome back the honorees.

“We were delighted to welcome former First Ladies and to recognize them for their ambassadorship of ECSU. While here, they witnessed the development of new academic programs, achievements of our students, improvements in the campus landscape and construction of buildings that are significant to the education and overall advancement of our students,” Evans said.

Master of Ceremonies, Mr. Antonio Knox, the 40th Grand Basileus of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., received a hearty applause after announcing two donations from the organization.

ECSU alumnus and saxophonist, Jashawn Peele, provided a blend of jazz and R & B music for the evening.

The gala followed the annual Founders Day Convocation on Friday where Chancellor Thomas Conway served as the speaker. Foundation board members say it remains their pleasure to hold the annual gala in conjunction with Founders Day festivities. The ECSU Foundation’s mission is to serve as the steward of private contributions to Elizabeth City State University in order to provide educational assistance for students, to support faculty, and to secure the operational needs of the university. The Foundation receives, invests, and administers funds received, as a result of charitable contributions from the private sector, on behalf of the students and programs at ECSU and, as a result, for the greater good of the community.

To donate to scholarship funds managed by the ECSU Foundation, visit the following link: http://www.ecsu.edu/administration/university-advancement/giving/giving-opportunities/index.html