Max Ray Joyner Sr. papers

University Archives #UA90-40

  • Descriptive Summary
    Title: Max Ray Joyner Sr. papers
    Creator: Joyner, Max Ray, Sr.
    Repository: East Carolina University Archives
    Language: English
    Abstract: The Max Ray Joyner, Sr. papers include awards, speeches, financial records, general correspondences, photographs, newspaper clippings, ephemera, and post cards from 1940-2018.
    Extent: 8.0 Linear feet,
  • Description

    This collection contains the personal and administrative records for Max Ray Joyner, Sr., an East Carolina University alumni and former Board of Trustees member. The bulk of the Joyner papers consists of correspondence and financial papers related to the university, although the collection also contains a considerable quantity of photographs, newspaper clippings, and other printed material pertaining to ECU and Greenville, NC.

    The first series in this collection includes photographic and visual materials related to Max Ray Joyner, which have been organized into three subseries. The first subseries contains photos pertaining to the functions/events (1971-2017) that Joyner was involved with on and off campus, such as the ECU and UNC Board of Trustees, ECU Alumni Association programs, EC Scholars receptions, university commencements, building naming and award ceremonies, state politicians, and former chancellors. The second contains pictures from Max Joyner’s military service (1951-1952) during the Korean War including photographs of his platoon, tank station, and various personnel (including Korean and Chinese civilian workers) that were stationed at the base in Kumsong, Korea. The third subseries contains the personal photographs of individual people, birthday celebrations, vacations, and events relating to Max Joyner’s family (1940-2010).

    The second series encompasses the physical awards (1971-2012) that were bestowed upon Joyner for his contributions to both the university and Greenville. This includes recognitions of service to ECU, awards for sponsoring organizations in Pitt County, and Chancellor’s Society memorabilia. This series also contains printed materials (1975-2017) related to the various awards and recognitions Joyner has received including general correspondence, copies of newspaper/internet articles, event programs, and paper certificates.

    The third series contains the topical files, both personal and administrative, of Max Ray Joyner from 1976-2018. This includes biographical material about Joyner and his wife, Catherine “Kitty” Joyner; correspondence, programs, speeches, and articles regarding events Joyner attended such as Richard Eakin’s inauguration as chancellor, honors society inductions, awards ceremonies, speeches to the Board of Trustees, and dedication ceremonies; endowment reports and correspondence related to the scholarships, fellowships, and awards that Joyner funded at the university.

    The fourth series contains newspaper clippings and printed materials (1925-2018). Topics include scholarship ceremonies, military veterans, ECU Board of Trustees, building naming ceremonies, Greenville city council, and university receptions. There is also a copy of the “ECTC News” from 1925 and religious texts from the Presbyterian Church.

  • Biographical / Historical Note

    Max Ray Joyner, Sr. was born in 1931 near Greenville, NC in the Red Oaks neighborhood. He attended Greenville High School where he met his future wife, Catherine “Kitty” Smith in 1949. After graduating high school, Joyner enlisted in the US Army in 1951 and was shipped overseas to serve in the Korean War. He was discharged from the military in September of 1952 at which point he returned to Greenville and enrolled at East Carolina College. Three years later he graduated with a degree in business administration and soon thereafter began working for Jefferson Standard Life Insurance. For nearly four decades, Joyner held the position of regional agency manager until retiring in 1995.

    Throughout his business career, Joyner has remained dedicated to supporting the students, staff, and administration at East Carolina University. He is a lifetime member and past president (1979) of the Pirate Club and a former member (1985-1993) and past chair (1988-1990) of the ECU Board of Trustees. Joyner is also a founding member and former president of the ECU Foundation (1982) and former president of the East Carolina Alumni Association (1976-1977). He has served on the board of directors of the ECU School of Business and on the Honors College Advancement Council (2011-2014). The Joyners were also active members of ECU’s major philanthropic groups, including the Leo Jenkins Society, the Order of the Cupola, the Order of Wright Circle, and the Polaris Society.

    Joyner’s success in business enabled him to become one of ECU’s major benefactors. In 1987, he endowed one of the first scholarships for the EC Scholars program at ECU, creating the Max R. and Kitty Joyner Scholarship Award. They have also given generously to the College of Nursing to establish a scholarship for nursing students. The Joyners also funded the first endowed chair at the ECU Medical Foundation, the Catherine and Max Joyner Distinguished Professorship in Primary Care Medicine, in 1994. He also endowed the annual Max Ray Joyner Award for Faculty Service through Distance Education in 1991. They have also supported the Four Seasons Chamber Music Series and the S. Rudolph Alexander Performing Arts Series and are members of the ECU Friends of Music, the Friends of Theatre and Dance, and the Friends of Joyner Library.

    East Carolina University and the City of Greenville have on many occasions recognized and awarded his exceptional leadership and generosity. In 1974, Max Joyner became the first alumnus honorary member of the Beta Gamma Sigma Business honors society chapter at ECU. The ECU Alumni Association also presented him with the Outstanding Alumni Award in 1981. The North Carolina Jaycees named Max Joyner the “Outstanding Boss of the Year” in 2009, and two years later he was presented with the ECU Honors College Advancement Council Award. At the state level, Max Joyner was appointed to the Order of the Longleaf Pine, the highest honor a North Carolinian can receive, by Governor Pat McCrory in 2014. A year later, both he and his wife (Mrs. Joyner, posthumously) were awarded one of ECU’s most prestigious honors, the ECU Alumni Association’s Virgil Clark 1950 Distinguished Service Award. In 2016, Joyner received the Greenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year award for his contributions to regional progress and advancement. Chancellor Cecil Staton awarded Max Joyner with the Chancellor’s Amethyst Award on April 19, 2018 in recognition of his dedication and generosity towards the university. Most recently, Joyner was honored with the Thomas Jordan Jarvis Medal, ECU's most prestigious award, at the Order of the Cupola event on April 11, 2019.

  • Administrative Information
    Access Restrictions

    The collection is open for research use.

    Copyright Notice

    This material is made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright law. The user assumes full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to taking precautions against infringement of copyright and respecting the publication rights of reproduced materials. All rights are reserved and retained regardless of current or future development or laws that may apply to fair use standards. Any materials used should be fully credited with their source according to the example given in the Preferred Citation note. Requests for assistance with citations and images of publication quality should be directed to This collection may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state law. The user assumes full responsibility for using such information and is advised that the disclosure of such information about identifiable living individuals without their consent may have legal ramifications.

    Preferred Citation

    [Item description]. Max Ray Joyner, Sr. papers. UA90-40, Box [number]. University Archives, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC.

Container List

  • Awards and Recognitions, 1971-2017
    Max R. Joyner East Carolina University Clock, undated
    ECU Stadium Expansion Recognition, 1977
    Circle of Champions: Boys and Girls Clubs of Pitt County, 2011-2012
    American Heart Association: Silver Heart Sponsor, 2000
    The Huebner Personal Sponsorship Committe Award, undated
    Leo W. Jenkins Society Coin
    Life Membership Award in the East Carolina University Pirate Club, undated
    Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival of Eastern North Carolina Concert, 2002
    The American College of Life Underwriters Degree, 1971
    The Order of Wright Circle: The Old Austin Society, 1981-1983
    The Greater Greenville Community Foundation: Legacy Award, 2008
    Records for Awards and Recognitions, 1975-2019
  • Topical Files
    Biographical - Max R. Joyner, 1976-2018
    Biographical - Katherine Joyner, 1998-2013
    Events Attended, 1978-2018
    Honors College Scholarship, 1986-2018
    College of Nursing Scholarship, 2002-2018
    Endowment Reports for Scholarships, 2003-2017
    Faculty Service Through Continuing Education Award, 1999-2018
    Distinguished Professorship in Primary Care Medicine, 1994-2017
    Endowment Reports for Faculty Service and Primary Care, 2004-2017
    Off-Campus Involvement, 1984-2018
    Other Campus Involvement, 1996-2018

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