WE THE EAST! I have grown fond of that expression. I say it a lot. I see it around campus. I hear other people saying it. I also know that it has some grammatical issues. But, there is a century (113 years) of pride wrapped up in that little expression.

Welcome back students to your university, a place that takes great pride in your success and the success of this region that we call the East. This is the essence of Pirate Pride. I sure hope that you’ve been infected because it’s a really good thing and it’s about as contagious as the flu.

This place, it’s people, and the mission that we are on (student and regional success) excite me. I hope this semester that you get engaged in some exciting activities. I want you to investigate some of the fantastic opportunities that you have inside and outside the classroom at ECU. Guess what? By the time they are seniors, almost 80 percent of ECU undergraduate students do two or more of the following: service-learning course, undergraduate research, study abroad, capstone project, living-learning community, leadership position, athletics, internship course, or entrepreneurship. ECU students are engaged and it’s our secret sauce for future success. As you settle in for the spring semester, I’d ask that you to explore these opportunities and plan to take advantage of a few. You’ll be glad you did.

You probably already know that semesters are fast paced. Getting off to a strong start and finishing big are necessary ingredients for successfully “baking” a good semester. My children and now my grandchildren hear the same thing from me frequently—first you work hard and then you can play hard. That sequence (work before play) is another one of those necessary ingredients. If you find yourself lacking an ingredient for success, I want you to access the fantastic resources we have here at ECU. Maybe you need a visit to the Pirate Academic Success Center where the “Nerds” can provide help or maybe you’re feeling distracted and a trip to the ECU Counseling Center might do the trick. In any case, there are a bunch of caring Pirates on this campus who are willing and able to help. This Pirate crew sails together.

Finally, and if you haven’t heard, we have some exciting basketball being played over in Minges. Try joining the Maniacs if you want to have some fun and see some good roundball. Hope to see you there. Later in the spring, you just have to get to the jungle for some baseball or go take in a softball game.

Welcome back and don’t forget WE THE EAST!

Ron Mitchelson

Interim Chancellor

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