Click here for further details on the upcoming Black Alumni Chapter Homecoming Reunion and to register for the weekend's events.

Mission and Purpose

The East Carolina Alumni Association exists to inform, involve, and serve members of the ECU family throughout their lifelong relationship with the university.

The Black Alumni Chapter is composed of alumni and friends who are interested in generating support for East Carolina University and serving its constituencies by:

  • promoting the university’s reputation for excellence
  • building good will between the university and its alumni
  • promoting the African-American presence on campus
  • promoting alumni contributions to the university
  • aiding in minority student recruitment
  • promoting the welfare of its alumni


The first full-time African-American student at East Carolina University was Laura Marie Leary (at right), a native of Vanceboro, NC. Leary enrolled in the fall of 1963 and attended the university for a full academic year as the only African-American student. She completed the requirements for a bachelor of science degree in business administration in 1966, becoming the first African-American graduate of ECU, and its first black alumna.

Following Leary was Bennie Teel of Greenville, NC. He received a bachelor of arts degree in English and French in 1967. Lillian T. Jones and Nellie Ross, both of Greenville, NC also graduated 1967. The Black Alumni Chapter began in the early 1980s under the leadership of Dr. Dennis Chestnut ’69, Jaquline Hawkins ’74, and Drs. Larry ’76 and Barbara ’76 Hines.

Get Involved & Support the Black Alumni Chapter

As members of the Black Alumni Chapter, it is important for us to support the East Carolina Alumni Association through membership. Membership in the association supports and strengthens Black Alumni Chapter programs and shows pride in ECU.


The East Carolina Alumni Association’s Black Alumni Chapter recognizes awards the Dr. Andrew A. Best Trailblazer, Laura Marie Leary Elliott Courageous Leader, and Ledonia Wright Outstanding Faculty/Staff Awards at the Black Alumni Reunion during Homecoming.

Click here for more information about nominations.


  • Pirate alumni network – mentor current students
  • Pirate Career Casts – tips and advice to advance your career



Stay Connected

The following groups have been setup to assist alumni with connecting with former classmates:

  East Carolina Alumni Association

Black Alumni Chapter

"My wife and I both graduated from ECU and we are both lifetime members of the Alumni Association. We've always had a devotion to East Carolina, and because we gained so much from our education, we think lifetime membership is a great way to give back to the University. I would recommend lifetime membership to anyone who went to East Carolina. There are many wonderful benefits, and it's very special."

Jerry '65 and Joanie '65 Tolley

"I am a member of the alumni association because it provides an opportunity for me to connect to the university, renew relationships through alumni events, and help attract potential students to ECU. As an active member of the alumni association, I have the chance to serve as an advocate for the university through volunteerism. Being a member along with my son as a fellow Pirate demonstrates commitment and builds a legacy within our family."

Linda Thomas '81

"I am a member because ECU is my second home. Staying connected not only allows me to give back to the university but also inspire the next generation of pirates."

Tim Willis '12

"I am a member of the Alumni Association because I want everyone to know what East Carolina means to me and how much pride and love I have for ECU. Being a member means the world to me, and is the one way that I can give back and stay connected to the place that gave me the best years of my life."

Jeremy Woodard '01

"I am a member of the alumni association because I appreciate how well ECU prepared me for my business career. I enjoy contributing to the alumni association's efforts to provide scholarships for some of our best and brightest students. The Alumni Association does a great job of providing ways for alumni to reconnect with their alma mater and I hope when they do they enjoy it as much as I do. I believe in what ECU stands for and my membership helps me feel a part of the great things ECU is accomplishing!"

Wes Johnson '85