William Edward Laupus was born 25 May 1921 in Seymour, Indiana. He earned his Bachelors of Science in 1943 and Doctorate of Medicine in 1945, both from Yale University. During World War II, he served the Army at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Marion, Indiana, where he met his future wife, Evelyn E. Fike. In 1975, Dr. Laupus accepted the position as the first dean of what was to become a four year medical school at East Carolina University. Also while at East Carolina, he served as professor of pediatrics, vice chancellor and dean of the School of Medicine, vice chancellor for health sciences, and professor of preventive medicine and pediatrics. In 1989, he received the O. Max Gardner Award, the highest honor given by the University Of North Carolina Board Of Governors, for his outstanding work in North Carolina. He died 15 February 2005.
Evelyn Estelle Fike was born 23 December 1921 in Spartanburg, South Carolina to Claudius Edwin and Rosa Fike. She was raised in eastern North Carolina and graduated in 1941 as a registered nurse from the School of Nursing at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond. During World War II, she served in the U.S. Army Nursing Corp on the European front, first in England and then on a Red Cross Hospital Ship based off southern Italy and North Africa. After the war, she was reassigned to an Army hospital facility in Marion, Indiana where she met her husband-to-be, Captain William E. Laupus. They were married 6 March 1948 in Ahoskie, North Carolina and shortly thereafter relocated to New York City. In 1953, the Laupus’ moved to the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan to establish Dr. Laupus’ pediatric practice. In 1959 and then again in 1963 they moved to Augusta, Georgia and Richmond, Virginia respectfully. They remained in Richmond until moving to Greenville, North Carolina in 1975. Evelyn returned to psychiatric nursing in Richmond at St. Mary’s Hospital. Once in Greenville, she worked alongside her husband to transform the School of Medicine - helping to recruit nationally recognized staff, raising funds, and promoting its mission to the citizens of eastern North Carolina. She also founded the Pill Guild, an association of medical faculty wives. Evelyn died 15 July 2011.
William and Evelyn Laupus had four children: Patricia Ann (1950), John Richard (1953), Laura Ruth (1954), and William Edward Jr. (1957). The health sciences library at East Carolina University is named in honor of Dr. William E. Laupus, and gallery space in the library is named after Evelyn Fike Laupus.