Cheryl and John Oliver have long been captivated by North Carolina’s Outer Banks. They vacationed there, were married in Manteo and have been connected to the coast for many years.

Through a bequest and IRA beneficiary designations, the Olivers are investing in the coast’s future by supporting the Coastal Studies Institute. Their $2.5 million planned gift will provide housing for students studying at the Wanchese campus and resources for other needs that may arise at CSI. The Olivers additionally championed CSI during Pirate Nation Gives.

“We hope it will encourage others to do something similar and provide support to CSI,” John Oliver said. “You don’t have to be an ECU alum to support CSI.”

“They need the financial support at all levels to continue the robust programs they have and seize the opportunity provided by the local maritime heritage niche,” Cheryl Oliver added. “Eventually on-site housing will make it all much easier.”

As staff with the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration in Silver Spring, Maryland, they had professional connections to the coast. The CSI mission and goals were a natural fit for their endowment.

“Cheryl and John have been a part of CSI from the very beginning and are demonstrating their confidence through this investment in
the significance of the interdisciplinary coastal science being conducted by the faculty and staff at CSI. We are grateful for this transformative gift and humbled by their generosity,” said Reide Corbett, executive director of the institute and dean of integrated coastal programs. “The Coastal Studies Institute has a reach beyond just Pirate Nation. This generous gift demonstrates that directly.”

Corbett described the Olivers’ gift as a game-changer as the relatively young organization continues to grow academic programs at the coast. Through their investment, CSI will expand opportunities for students to participate in programs embedded in a coastal community.