Campus buildings named for Eakin, Ballard

ECU renamed two campus buildings for former chancellors Steve Ballard and Richard Eakin during a ceremony Nov. 6.

The Student Recreation Center is now the Richard R. and JoAnn M. Eakin Student Recreation Center, and Gateway Hall is now Steve and Nancy Ballard Hall.

Richard Eakin

“These strong pillars of ECU’s family left an indelible mark on this campus and its people,” said Interim Chancellor Ron Mitchelson. “I’ve been at this interim chancellor thing for one year, so I stand in awe of these two leaders.”

Ballard became ECU’s sixth chancellor and 10th chief administrative officer in 2004. As chancellor, he established the School of Dental Medicine and the Honors College and secured funding for the new Main Campus Student Center and Gateway Hall. Gateway Hall opened in 2015 and is the hub for most of the university’s living learning communities.

Ballard also oversaw the move to the American Athletic Conference and the establishment of SECU Partnership East, a $2 million grant in partnership with the State Employees’ Credit Union to educate teachers in rural communities. Ballard retired as chancellor in 2016 but returned to ECU as a professor in the Honors College.

“ECU is a special place. I recognized it when we arrived in 2004,” Ballard said. “It seemed to be a perfect fit for us, and we stayed for 12 years because we had a strong affinity for ECU’s mission.”

Eakin, ECU’s fourth chancellor and eighth chief administrative officer, was unable to attend the ceremony but said before the event, “We have a great deal of love for the East Carolina family, and we’re deeply touched by the university returning that love in this most tangible way.”

Before coming to ECU, Eakin played a key role in getting a student recreation center at Bowling Green State University. At ECU, he did the same, and the $18 million, 150,000-square-foot facility opened in 1997.

Eakin also oversaw a major expansion of Joyner Library and the university’s reclassification as a doctoral degree-granting institution. During his tenure, the student body grew from 13,000 to 18,000. He retired as chancellor in 2001 but returned a year later to teach higher education administration in the College of Education. He then served as interim chair of the Department of Mathematics followed by dean of the then-new Honors College. Eakin retired for the third time on June 30, 2013, capping 26 years of service to ECU.