Pirate Nation Gives

More than $8.4 million raised during Pirate Nation Gives

East Carolina University alumni and friends pledged more than $8.4 million during the sixth annual Pirate Nation Gives on March 23. That surpassed last year’s record total of $6.5 million, and more than 1,500 individual donors contributed to the effort.

“Giving back to ECU is a way for every Pirate to be involved in the impact this university has on our students, our region and the world,” said Christopher Dyba, vice chancellor for university advancement. “Pirate Nation Gives is a time for us to connect with each other in support of ECU. Every gift, large or small, makes an impact.”

Diana Haytko, professor and chair of marketing and supply chain management, gave in memory of her mother, who grew up in Germany during World War II and never had the opportunity to finish college.

“My parents both taught their three girls that education was the key to the American dream,” she said. “I am a first-generation college graduate from a lower income home. My mother pushed me to get a master’s degree and the Ph.D.”

After living with Haytko for 16 years, her mother died in April 2020.

“We were inseparable for 16 years. I wanted to honor her memory with something she would have agreed with,” Haytko said. Fundraising to reward faculty is often overlooked, she said, and she wanted to do something for them.

“They do the job because they love it,” she said. “They love teaching and working with students. … That is why I created (the Elizabeth Haytko Faculty Fellowship) to provide a $5,000 award for an MVP faculty member, as a thank you.”

In addition to funding the first five years of the faculty fellowship, Haytko has pledged $1 million in her will to establish two professorships — one focused on teaching, the other on research — and a study-abroad scholarship program.

ECU donors can specify where and how they would like their funds to be used, earmarking funds for scholarships, research, innovative programs and more. For Eileen Shokler, a longtime resident of Greenville who served as a guardian ad litem in Pitt County for eight years, it was important to support abused and neglected children in eastern North Carolina.

Her $100,000 gift will fund training programs for staff and volunteers at the TEDI BEAR Child Advocacy Center, a partnership between the Brody School of Medicine and the James and Connie Maynard Children’s Hospital. It is the largest children’s advocacy center in North Carolina and provides critically important services to children who have been victims of child abuse or neglect.

Among many notable gifts were the following:

  • Kathleen Adams ’92 ’97; Mary Chatman ’90 ’96 ’12; Jim ’63 and Selba ’64 Harris; and Dr. Mary Raab for nursing scholarships.
  • Col. (Ret.) Worth ’77 ’81 and Dolores Carter for College of Health and Human Performance, College of Business, and Air Force ROTC.
  • Kay ’76 and Ken ’68 ’71 Chalk and Robert ’78 and Amy Brinkley for Honors College travel.
  • Denise Dickins, ECU professor, for Students’ Treasure Chest.
  • Oak Foundation for University Priority Fund for Greatest Needs.
  • Mike ’76 ’78 and Alice ’73 ’76 Taylor for Joyner Library.
  • The Wooten Family for the Wooten Family Initiative for Brain Health Research Endowment.

– Jules Norwood