Celebrating Engineering

ECU's first engineering graduating class poses for photo during recent ceremony

ECU’s Department of Engineering recently celebrated the 10-year anniversary of its first graduating class. On hand to celebrate were faculty and students representing that class, including, left to right: Dr. Tarek Abdel-Salam (faculty emeritus), Dr. Paul Kauffman (faculty emeritus), Scott Dargan, Dustin Jones, Aaron Spencer, Stephen Dubrey, Josh Brown, Patrick Rhodes, Kyle Barnes, and Dr. Harry Ploehn (dean of the College of Engineering and Technology). 

East Carolina University’s Department of Engineering recently celebrated the 10-year anniversary of its first graduating class at the Greenville Convention Center.

Engineering alumni from as far away as Washington, D.C. joined current administration, faculty, staff and students and celebrated the donors and department friends who helped raise almost $25,000 in scholarship funds by attending the reunion.

Aaron Spencer

Aaron Spencer is an alumnus of the first engineering graduating class and always saw himself as a Pirate when growing up. He considers himself a pioneer that “paved the way for everybody else. Progress has to have a starting point.”

Spencer is very proud of his alma mater and wants it to succeed. He supports his alma mater because he wants people to say ‘wow’ when he tells them he graduated from ECU. To do that, “I’ve got to have the success of the program to build and build for that to be said.”

Plus, Spencer wants to set an example for future classes to give back. “We all have to invest in this (the engineering program). If we’re going to continue to see growth and progress, we have to continue to invest back in to this program to get to the point where people are saying ‘wow’ when they learn where we graduated.”

ECU Dean Harry Ploehn poses for photo

Dean Harry Ploehn

Dr. Harry Ploehn, dean of the College of Engineering and Technology, is among those who are impressed by the program’s development over the last decade.

“I’m very proud of everyone’s contribution to building the engineering program at ECU,” said Ploehn. “I’m not only proud of the faculty and staff who created an excellent engineering curriculum from scratch, but also every graduate who has gone out into the workforce and proven the program’s quality through their impact on their companies and communities. Well done!”

The department’s inaugural graduating class had 22 graduates. Since then, the department’s alumni base has grown to more than 600. Currently, the Department of Engineering has 550 students and 30 faculty.

Dr. Barbara Muller-Borer, chair of the department of engineering, said she is appreciative and enthusiastic of the continued support from industry partners, faculty and alumni for their investment in student scholarships.

“Scholarship funds are important for recruiting and retaining talented students and positively impact student success,” she added.

In addition to returning alumni, many companies and individuals sponsored the event. Called investors, these sponsors included:

  • Diamond: Purdue, Hyster-Yale and NC Electric Cooperatives
  • Gold: ECU’s Department of Engineering, Spencer C2, LLC
  • Silver: ThermoFisher Scientific, SPX Transformer Solutions and Century 21, The Realty Group, Gene & Sally Dixon
  • Purple: Truebeck Construction
  • Bronze: NCEast Alliance, Timothy A. Spencer, Kyle Barnes, and Josh Brown.

Photos of event can be found here