Thousands of images, texts, and audio/video from ECU's diverse collections and beyond.

ECU History Collection: Chronological Sort

1880-1920
1921-1940
1941-1960
1961-1980
1981-2000
2001-Present

East Carolina Teachers Training School was chartered in 1907 with the purpose of qualifying students to teach for the public schools of North Carolina. Robert Herring Wright was selected as the first president of the school and remained so until 1934. The school opened in 1909 with 123 students and 11 faculty members. ECTTS offered two year teaching certificates or a one-year program for rural teachers over three quarters. There was also a two year preparatory program for students who wished to transfer to a four-year college and, after 1912, hundreds of employed teachers took advantage of the annual summer school. Intermural sports were popular, especially basketball and tennis, and retention problems led to required participation in literary clubs. During World War I, students harvested crops in the area, sewed clothes for war victims, and rained money for liberty bonds. Students also maintained gardens both as part of the curriculum for rural teachers as a part of the war effort. By the end of the war the campus had expanded to included six buildings. In 1920 legislation to establish a four-year college in Greenville was approved by the North Carolina General Assembly ushering in a new era at the school.

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With the elevation to a four-year college ETTCS became East Carolina Teacher College. The first BA in Teaching was awarded in 1922 and throughout the next twenty years programs of study became increasingly specialized. The first master’s degree was awarded to Deanie Boone Haskett in 1933. Campus would continue to expand as well with new dormitories and a new library which would later be named after David J. Whichard. Both the student newspaper, he Teco Echo, and the annual yearbook, the Tecoan, began publication in 1923. By the 1930s, men were enrolling in increasing numbers and, in 1932, the first man graduated from ECTC with a four-year degree. The same year formal intercollegiate competition began with the formation of basketball, football, and baseball teams. On April 25, 2934 Robert Wright who had been president of the college since its formation died. He was succeeded by Leon Meadows who was committed to a program of teacher certification but willing to consider a liberal arts curriculum.

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World War II brought many changes to the East Carolina campus. In 1943, the male and female student government associations merged into a combined organization that served all students. Leon Meadows served as school President until his replacement by an interim chief administrator, Howard J. McGinnis. Dennis Cooke was selected as the next East Carolina president, serving only a single year before resigning. His replacement was North Carolina native, John D. Messick, who oversaw the post-WW II growth of campus. The Messick years are noted for the enrollment of men surpassing women, the formation of Air Force ROTC Detachment 600, the move to the current Chancellor’s Home, and the construction of several campus buildings including College Stadium, J.Y. Joyner Library, the Erwin Building, and Garrett Dormitory. The most recognizable change under Messick may have been a name change from East Carolina Teachers College to East Carolina College, to better reflect the introduction of a variety of programs to the curriculum. The steady growth under Messick lasted over a dozen years until news of Messick’s sudden resignation in December 1959 signaled the beginning of a new era at East Carolina.

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1961 marked the beginning of the Leo Jenkins era at East Carolina. The New Jersey native embraced Eastern North Carolina and dedicated his time as the school’s chief executive to raising the profile of the institution and region. Jenkins accelerated Messick’s campus growth initiative, as the first decade of Jenkins’ term included the construction of Ficklen Stadium, Fletcher Music Center, the Austin building, the Brewster building, the Irons building and Clement, Fletcher, Belk, and Green Dormitories to house the ever-growing student body. East Carolina also transformed into East Carolina University, which transformed Jenkins’ title from President to Chancellor. This period also saw advances in civil rights, most notably through the desegregation of campus. Among the Jenkins era’s greatest accomplishments was the founding of a medical school, approved by the General Assembly 1975. Jenkins submitted his resignation in 1978. That same year the Board of Trustees selected Thomas B. Brewer as the second chancellor of East Carolina.

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The ECU School of Medicine reached a milestone in 1981 when the first class of four year students graduated with Medical Doctorates. In 1982, ECU marked its 75th Anniversary with a series of lectures, concerts, and theater productions. A major change was the transfer of leadership from Thomas Brewer to John McDade Howell, who served as Chancellor until 1988. In October, the nine story current home of the Brody School of Medicine opened its doors. ECU conferred its first Ph.D. degree in 1983. During Howell’s tenure the university acquired Blount House and Garrett House, computerized class registration, formed a School of Social Work, and completed construction of the Bate (General Classroom) Building. Howell retired from the Chancellorship in 1987 and was followed by Chancellor Richard R. Eakin. During Chancellor Eakin’s tenure the student population grew to over 18,000 students. Several new academic programs were added, J.Y. Joyner Library reached one million volumes, and the football program joined Conference USA. The ECU campus expanded with the construction of the Student Recreation Center and Todd Dining Hall. Eakin also oversaw a number of renovations and additions to campus including Joyner Library, Minges Coliseum, Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, and the Warren Life Sciences Building. In 1999, the ECU School of Medicine was renamed the Brody School of Medicine in recognition of the support of the Brody family.

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In 2001, William Muse replaced Richard Eakin as Chancellor of East Carolina. A renovated Student Health Center was dedicated in 2002, a requirement necessary to serve an ever growing student population. In 2003, the newly constructed Science and Technology building opened on East Campus along 10th Street. Soon after, Bill Shelton assumed the responsibilities of Interim Chancellor. As a permanent replacement, the Board of Trustees selected Steven Ballard. In 2007, East Carolina drew its first Century to a close with a two-year series of commemorative events and the announcement of the Second Century Campaign.

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