Legacy Award Honorees

Chancellor's Legacy Award Honorees


Biggs Cadillac Buick GMC Logo Biggs Cadillac, Buick, GMC
Elizabeth City Corporate Partner  



Billy Hines

Billy C. Hines
ECSU Choir Director, Retired

Billy C. Hines is a retired music educator, conductor, and singer. He began his career at Langston University (OK) in 1972. In 2009, he retired from Elizabeth City State University after an illustrious 34-year career as professor of voice, director of choral activities and artist-in-residence.  He directed the Elizabeth City State University Choir- the premiere goodwill ambassador and vocal performance ensemble for the institution.  The University Choir, acclaimed as an “incredible group of voices,” performed annually on tour and in appearances on campus and throughout the United States, Europe, and Africa.  

Professor Hines holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education from Stillman College (AL) and Master of Arts and Master of Education degrees in Music and Music Education from Teacher’s College, Columbia University, and a Certificate in Managing the Arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has done further study at Oklahoma City University and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

A native of Alabama, Professor Hines is an accomplished baritone soloist, a skilled adjudicator, clinician, and conductor.  He has conducted the Wayne County (NC) Schools Spring Music Festival, the Junior High Honors Chorus and the Senior High Women’s Chorus at the Summer Music Camp of the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1994), the NC Junior High All-State Chorus and the Edgecombe County (NC) Choral Festival (1996).

Locally, Professor Hines is an active member of Mount Lebanon African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. It is his honor to serve God as the Preacher’s  Steward. He is also a member of the Senior Choir, Male Chorus, Men’s Commission, Lay Council, and Finance Committee.

For over 25 years, he directed the Evelyn A. Johnson Community Singers. This group was especially well known for their annual rendering of Handel’s Messiah. For over 10 years, he was invited to conduct a week-long workshop and concert of the Interstate Church Musicians and Choir Guild, where over 60 church musicians from throughout the Roanoke-Chowan area participated annually. He is a life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated and is active with the Epsilon Chi Lambda Chapter.

Billy is especially proud of his 46 years of marriage to the former Patricia Callier. He and Pat are the proud parents of two adult children, a daughter-in-law and two grandsons. He is well-pleased also to acknowledge that “all that [he is] and ever [hopes] to be is a gift from God!”


Norma James

Norma M. James '88
Former Member and Secretary, ECSU Board of Trustees

Norma M. James graduated from Elizabeth City State University in 1988 with a Bachelor of Science in Basic Business Education.  She went on to get her real estate license in 1991 and received her broker license in 1994.  She has been a Notary Public since 1979. 

She joined Taylor Mueller Realty in 1992 and has been the Broker in Charge since 1999.  She has continued to be the top producing agent year after year.  As a realtor, Norma’s objective is to serve in an  outstanding manner the needs of her clients in all areas of real estate. In 2004, 2005 and 2007, she was Realtor of the Year.

In addition to her professional responsibilities,  Norma has served in all the board positions with the Albemarle Area Association of Realtors and was president in 2004 and 2018.  Norma also joined the board of the local Habitat for Humanity in 2004, and she was president of Elizabeth City Habitat for Humanity in 2006 and 2009.  She has been the treasurer this organization since 2010.  Norma and her family helped build two homes in the area.  Norma is currently the vice president of the local Home Builders Association. Norma has also served on the Advisory Board at BB&T Bank. 

Notably, in 2004, she started her term as a trustee at Elizabeth City State University and served until 2015.  In this capacity, Norma participated on several committee, including chair of the Buildings and Property and member of the Executive and Personnel committees.  During her tenure, she also successfully orchestrated an increase in board giving to support general scholarships and student success activities.

Norma loves her church family and has served as the church moderator, elder, Sunday School teacher, and children’s church teacher.

As a native of Pasquotank County, Norma welcomes the chance to give back to her community and church by volunteering wherever she may be of service.


Joyce and Justina Long

Joyce E. Long '54 & Justina M. Long '54
Educators, Retired

Giving with grace. the unspoken motto of Joyce E.  and Justina M. Long, has been a principle that has guided their way for nine decades. The late Walter Raleigh and Mary McCloud Long proudly welcomed twin girls to this world on May 27, 1932, in Elizabeth City, Pasquotank County, North Carolina. The loving family grew to include their siblings - Elton, Gloria, Jayne (all deceased) and Donald. Their Christian home was filled with laughter, loyalty, learning, and love.

It should come as no surprise that Joyce and Justina have devoted their lives to serving others. Education has long played a significant part in their family’s journey. Their beloved parents pursued careers in communication and education while advancing their community.

Raised in Perquimans County and Lawrenceville, New Jersey, Walter Long made a career as a printer. He published a monthly magazine, which was the only African-American magazine in the Albemarle area. Mr. Long also worked as a type-setter for The Daily Advance, the Independent Newspaper, and the Journal and Guide Newspaper. After taking time to raise her children, their mother, Mary, returned to Elizabeth City State University to complete her degree in education. She proudly graduated alongside her youngest daughter and returned to the classroom in 1965.

Educated in Elizabeth City primary and secondary schools, Joyce and Justina graduated from P.W. Moore High School in 1950. They later graduated from their beloved Elizabeth City State Teachers College in 1954, earning their bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. Joyce began her teaching career in Henderson, Vance County, North Carolina, moving to Franklin Township, New Jersey where she taught elementary and special education. Justina spent her entire career in education in Piscataway, New Jersey. Both furthered their studies at Rutgers University and spent more than 30 years in the classroom.

Their commitment to community service and civic engagement is unparalleled as they have tirelessly served in countless organizations and clubs.  The twins have served on the boards or are members of the Museum of the Albemarle and the Arts of the Albemarle, NAACP, Golden K Kiwanis, the National Association of University Women, and numerous other groups. They are lifelong members of Cornerstone Missionary Baptist Church.

Determined to help ESCU honor its glorious past while supporting its future, Joyce and Justina are the Co-Founders of the ECSU Legacy Room. The Longs organized the sale of plaques recognizing the accomplishments of those in the ECSU community. All of the generous donations raised have benefited the university’s numerous scholarship programs. Both are life members of the ECSU National Alumni Association, Incorporated and proudly boast more than 23 graduates from their family.

Joyce and Justina’s hobbies include gardening, crafts, reading, current events, and entertaining family and friends. Their love for travel has taken them to Dakar, Senegal, London; Paris, Venezuela and numerous islands in the Caribbean and across the United States. No matter where they roam, they proud call Elizabeth City their home and are honored to be a part of the ECSU family.


Barbara Sutton

Barbara B. Sutton, '74
Director of Alumni Relations, Retired

Barbara Barnes Sutton resides in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.  She received her formal education in the Pasquotank County school system. In 1969, Barbara was a member of the last eleventh grade class to matriculate at P. W Moore High School, the only black high school in Pasquotank County.  After school consolidation, she was a member of the first graduating class of Northeastern High School in 1970. 

In 1974, Barbara received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a minor in accounting from Elizabeth City State University. She also pursued a master’s degree in public administration at Troy University in Troy, Alabama.

Barbara is a retired Elizabeth City State University administrator.  During her tenure at ECSU, she held several positions, including service as a Title III professional in the Office of Federal Programs, assistant to the assistant director of Development and Planning, accounting technician for the ECSU Foundation, interim director of alumni relations, assistant director of alumni relations, and staff senator. She retired as the director of alumni relations after 45 years of service to the university.  

During her career as a development professional, Barbara assisted the ECSU Foundation and University Advancement in raising over $10,000,000 in private dollars; increased alumni giving by 50 percent; established multiple planned gifts, and served as the liaison between the university and the ECSU National Alumni Association, Incorporated (ECSU NAA). Under her leadership, the Pre-Alumni Endowment was also established.

Barbara is a life member of the ECSU NAA and active member of the Elizabeth City Area Alumni Chapter. Recently, she was elected to serve on ECSU NAA Board of Directors. 

As a member of the Thurgood  Marshall Fundraising professionals, she received the Alumni Relations Meritorious Award and the Office of Alumni Relations Certificate of Appreciation in recognition of her notable service.

She is the second of nine siblings and the proud mother of three Vikings and six ECSU prospects (grandchildren).


Captain Tony Swain

Captain Anthony W. Swain '82
United States Navy, Retired

Captain Swain graduated from Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) in 1982 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and concentration in Accounting. He received a Master of Science in Financial Management from Naval Postgraduate School and MS in Resource Strategy, Industrial College of the Armed Forces. Upon graduation from ECSU,  he worked for the Internal Revenue Service as an auditor, then US Navy, retiring after a 30-year career. His last active duty assignment was Naval Inspector General Washington DC as the Director of Inspections. He also served as the Maritime Operation Center Director for Commander Fleet Forces Command. He joined Northrop Grumman Corporation in November 2014 in Government Relations, and moved to Business Development, December 2016. He is currently the Navy account business manager for Northrop Grumman Corporation in the Mission Systems Sector.

Captain Swain commanded three naval warships during his career. He commanded USS RAVEN (MHC 61) and permanently moved RAVEN based in Ingleside, Texas, to Manama, Bahrain on the Blue Marlin cargo carrier in 2000. He commanded USS CARR (FFG 52) during a surge deployment with Theodore Roosevelt Battle Group in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM and the War on Terror deploying to the Arabian Gulf.  His last command was the USS HUÉ CITY (CG 66). The ship completed a complex maintenance period and all certifications including earning two Battle Efficiency “E” awards for 2008 and 2010.  HUÉ served with the Harry S Truman Strike Group then moved to Dwight D. Eisenhower Strike Group to deploy.  HUÉ CITY and Captain Swain were the AIR DEFENSE COMMANDER for the deployment to the Arabian Gulf in January 2010 to July 2010.

During his ashore tours, he served as the Deputy Director for Conventional Arms Control at the State Department. His office was responsible for the Conventional Forces Europe Treaty, Open Skies Treaty and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe agreements. After that assignment, he served on the Chief of Naval Operations Staff as Sea Shield Branch Head, Navy Lead for Force Protection and Force Application Functional Capabilities Boards.

Captain Swain’s awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit (four), Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (two), Navy Commendation Medal (three), Navy Achievement Medal (two), and several other service awards.

He is a life member in the following organizations: ECSU National Alumni Association, National Naval Officers Association, Surface Navy Association, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, and Disabled American Veterans (DAV). His commitment to service continues as he has served as president of Washington DC Metro Alumni  Chapter for the last five years. His foremost goal is to help students in their quest to attend and complete college through financial and mentoring support. As he did during his naval career, Captain Swain leads by example and “Not Self, but Others.”

Captain Swain has been married to Dr. Joy Swain from San Fernando, Trinidad and Tobago for 32 years. He has a son Trevon, a doctoral candidate (fiancé Tiffani), Margie and Calvin Griffin (parents), siblings Gwen ‘83 (Torrie), Marvin (Kim ‘88) and Tracy (Anisa ‘90), and several nieces and nephews.



Johnnie Walton

Johnnie B. Walton '69
Elizabeth City Councilman

NFL Player and Educator, Retired 

Johnnie Walton is a native of Elizabeth City and the fifth of seven children. He grew up in a working class family of faith.  They believed in education and service to others, and taught solid values that influenced Johnnie’s decision making and success as a contributing member of society.

Prior to attending Elizabeth City State University (ECSU),  Johnnie  received his early and secondary education in the Elizabeth City Pasquotank County School System. He graduated from ECSU in 1969, after which he began a career in the NFL with the Los Angeles Rams. Johnnie was the 1st black quarterback from North Carolina to  play in the NFL.

Johnnie also played in the Continental Football League with the Indianapolis Capitols. They won the championship and Johnnie was selected as the team's and Continental Football League's "Most Valuable Player."  From 1976-1979, Johnnie was quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles.  

After leaving the NFL,  Johnnie became head football coach at his alma mater (ECSU) from 1980-1982.  He led the team to a NCAA playoff berth.  Not having enough of professional football, however, Johnnie soon returned to play in the World Football League as well as the USFL League, where he competed again at a high competitive level.

Following his retirement from pro football, he returned to Elizabeth City where he served as a teacher until his retirement in January 2014. He now serves his community as a city councilman.

In honor of his sports legacy, Johnnie was selected to ECSU's Sports Hall of Fame in 1985 and was honored with the Legacy Award for the All Fish Bowl Team in 2012.  He also received the Trey Whitfield Legacy Award in 2015.  In 2017, Johnnie was selected to represent Elizabeth City State University and the CIAA as a “legend” in celebration of 125 years of Black College Football.  In addition, he was honored to be selected by his peers as one of the finalists for the 2019 Black College Hall of Fame.

Currently, Johnnie is authoring a book to describe the rollercoaster journey he had to endure while pursuing a career in the world of professional football. Johnnie hopes that this book will assist and serve others with their career decisions.

Johnnie is married to Earline Walton, who is also an ECSU graduate. Both are lifetime members of the ECSU National Alumni Association and staunch supporters of ECSU.