The campus at Elizabeth City State University is quiet now and the fall 2019 semester is in the rearview mirror. But it is, without a doubt, a semester to remember for Vikings new and old.
The semester is highlighted with a number of significant events, and we will recount some of them right here. However, if you’d like to look back at the entire semester, go to https://newsroom.ecsu.edu and click on the News tab to scroll back through time.
The semester got started just before students arrived with the official dedication of the new STEM Complex on Aug. 12. Formerly the Pharmacy Complex, the new and improved building houses two new academic departments – the Department of Health and Human Studies that includes: Pharmaceutical Science, Social Work, Psychology and Kinesiology; and the Department of Aviation and Emergency Management that includes: ECSU’s signature Aviation Science Program, the new Unmanned Aircraft Systems Program, and Emergency Management.
On Aug. 19, it was announced that the G.R. Little Library would move to its temporary home at the Gilchrist Complex, across campus. The move allowed repairs to the G.R. Little Library building to begin, part of an ongoing plan to revitalize ECSU campus infrastructure.
On Aug. 27, ECSU announced that enrollment continues to rise. According to the fall 2019 enrollment census report, student admission was up from 1,677 in fall 2018, to 1,773 students in fall 2019.
As the fall semester was underway, the campus community was anticipating Chancellor Karrie G. Dixon’s Installation Week events, scheduled for Sept. 3 through Sept. 8. But Mother Nature had other plans and the events were postponed until October as the campus prepared for the arrival of Hurricane Dorian.
Hurricane Dorian increasingly looked like a threat to ECSU and the Northeastern North Carolina region. University officials made the decision to send students home, close the campus, and offer shelter for students who chose to stay put.
In the end, while the university sustained damage to roofs and interior walls due to water, the impact of Dorian was relatively easy on the campus, and the community.
However, just before the storm’s arrival, there was time to celebrate the grand-reopening of the Khan Planetarium. Located inside the Jenkins Science Building, the planetarium had been undergoing an extensive renovation and upgrade, making it a one-of-a-kind planetarium in North Carolina with state-of-the-art digital technology.
The fall 2019 semester also saw the launch of ECSU’s drone degree program, which got a real publicity boost when the university was called upon by area law enforcement officials to assist in the search of an armed suspect.
Members of ECSU’s drone lab staff were able to assist law enforcement by launching our eyes in the sky, equipped with infrared camera equipment to capture heat signatures in the swamp. ECSU figured prominently in the reporting of the story by area media, including Hampton Roads television stations.
The publicity not only showed the public that ECSU’s drone program is up and running, it demonstrated the significance of drone technology degrees in a rapidly changing workforce.
October on the ECSU campus was a big month. It began with the highly anticipated installation of ECSU’s 12th chief executive officer and seventh chancellor, Dr. Karrie G. Dixon.
The ceremony was held on Friday, Oct. 11, in the Mickey L. Burnim Fine Arts Center. The event was attended by the university community and numerous special guests.
The day was topped off with the Installation Ball held inside the R.L. Vaughan Center that evening.
The following week Vikings Unleased: Homecoming 2019 kept that imitable Viking Spirit alive with events throughout the week, culminating in a downtown Elizabeth City parade and homecoming football game.
As November arrived on the ECSU campus, Vikings prepared for the arrival of the University of North Carolina System Board of Governors. As a constituent university of the UNC System, it had been at least 25 years since the Board of Governors held a regular meeting on the ECSU campus.
On Thursday, Nov. 14, the governors gathered for their two-day meeting in the K.E. White Center. According to Chancellor Dixon, governors and the UNC System staff reported that they were impressed with the level of professionalism and hospitality they experienced at ECSU.
As the semester drew to a close, the campus prepared for the 169th commencement ceremony. The fall 2019 Bearer of the Mace was Jamar Harrell, leading the way for 86 diplomas to be awarded at a Dec. 14 ceremony inside the Mickey L. Burnim Fine Arts Center.
So much more happened during the fall semester and to see it, please take a look at the stories on ECSU Newsroom. Just click on News and scroll through the headlines.