Portions of this collection are restricted. Contact the University Archivist for details. Restricted Box 12 Folder 18.
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The collection is arranged into eleven series: 1)Personal Papers 2)State Correspondence 3)National Correspondence 4)College Correspondence 5) Local Correspondence and Papers 6)Board of Trustees 7)Students and Campus Events 8)Faculty and Staff 9)ECC Land and Buildings 10) Academic Papers 11) Miscellaneous Articles
[Item Description and date]. Records of John Decatur Messick's Tenure as President of East Carolina Teachers College And East Caroina College. UA02-05. University Archives, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC.
- Methodist Hymnal donated by Mr. Sam H. Stallings of Lumberton, NC.
John Decatur Messick was born the sixth of nine children to Jesse McCagie Messick and Mary Zion Flowers Messick on November 9, 1897 in South Creek, NC in Beaufort County. After completing his basic schooling in South Creek, Messick studied at Falcon Academy. Messick attended King's Business College in Raleigh before entering Elon College, where he graduated in 1922.
Messick married Magdalene Elizabeth Robinson of Washington, DC. They had two daughters Helen Margaret and Mary Rosalyn and two sons, Norval Robinson and John Albert.
After graduating from Elon, Messick pursued a career in education. He spent the next few years working in North Carolina public schools. He worked as principal of South River School in Wade, NC from 1922-1926, principal in Trenton, NC from 1926-1929, and Superintindent in Spencer, NC from 1929-1935. Meanwhile, Messick continued his education by doing graduate work during the summers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 1922-1929. Messick recieved his Ph.D. in administration and supervision of schools from New York University in 1934.
After obtaining his Ph.D., Messick decided to shift his career to college education starting with a small job as a summer session professor at the teachers college in Asheville, NC in 1934-1935. In 1935, Messick accepted his first big job at a college as the Dean of Men, Instruction and Administration at Elon College, a post which he held until 1944. In 1944, Messick left North Carolina to take a job as Dean of Instruction and Administrative Assistant to the President at State Teachers College in Montclair, NJ.
In 1947, ECTC President Dennis H. Cooke resigned, leaving the Board of Trustees with the task of finding a new President. The Board invited Messick, who accepted and became the fifth President of East Carolina Teachers College. Messick began his presidency with a campaign to drop the word Teachers from the school's name to reflect his new expanded mission for the college. The General Assembly approved the name change to East Carolina College in 1951. A highly qualified and energetic leader, Messick presided over the expansion of the campus, enrollment, faculty, and curriculum during his tenure. By the time of Messick's resignation in 1959, ECC had become the third largest campus in North Carolina. Two of Messick's most important accomplishments include challenging the state government's unequal funding of the Consolidated University over the teacher's colleges and fighting for the establishment of a Nursing School.
After his resignation as President of ECC, Messick took a job as grants administrator with HEW in Washington DC and later became Dean of Administration at a teachers college in Vermont. He also served as vice-president of Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1965. Messick and his wife retired to Wilmington, NC where they lived until he died on October 3, 1993.
The Records of John Decatur Messick's Teunure as President of East Carolina Teacher College and East Carolina College include biographical materials, correspondence, articles, newspaper clippings, administrative records, and other miscellaneous materials. The records cover the years of Messick's Tenure from 1947 to 1959, but also include materials up until Messick's death in 1993.