Student designates first BSIT scholarship through Pirate Nation Gives

Darrell Roberts knew East Carolina University was something special the moment he was accepted and heard from his advisor.

“Allison Winters has been overly helpful, and then when I got here officially, every professor, every advisor — everybody everywhere — has been the same,” said Roberts, a junior in the Bachelor of Science in Industrial Technology (BSIT) program.

That’s just one of the reasons Roberts decided to support the university with a $5,000 scholarship donation through Pirate Nation Gives.



  • Growth continues in the technology industry, and you can help continue that trend with a gift during Pirate Nation Gives. Current BSIT student Darrell Roberts has issued a challenge for CET scholarships. Help his $5,000 donation go further with 10 gifts to College of Engineering and Technology scholarships.


  • Want to up the ante even more? Use this challenge as a way to win the Student Pirate Challenge for CET, which includes $5,000 in bonus money. Be sure to mark yourself as a student on the online giving form.

“This isn’t just a place where people come to work and go to school,” he said. “People love it here, and I feel like if I have an opportunity to offer some sort of assistance to incoming students and the next generation, why wouldn’t I? It just made sense.”

Pirate Nation Gives, ECU’s annual day of giving, is Wednesday. Participants can support ECU student scholarships and specific programs through donations of as little as $5. Last year, Pirate Nation raised more than $8.4 million for university programs and students.

Roberts is a distance education student living in Garner. He works as a senior system administrator for PBS North Carolina. He came to ECU as a BSIT student with a concentration in information and computer technology. He’s also part of the accelerated master’s program, so he’ll leave ECU with a pair of degrees.

His donation will support a scholarship designated for a BSIT student, the first such scholarship in the BSIT program.

“With the growth of the program and the direction it’s going, it needs all the support it can get from existing and former students,” Roberts said. “It needs more light. It’s like any plant. It needs to be nurtured. The support staff and everyone involved are definitely doing that, but it also needs more from the students, from the community, to help it grow into what it’s meant to be.”

The BSIT degree program is offered through the Department of Technology Systems in the College of Engineering and Technology. It can be ideal for students and adult learners with a technical or industrial related Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree who are looking to boost their careers with a four-year degree. Concentrations include architectural design technology; mechanical design technology; distribution and logistics; information and computer technology; industrial management; industrial engineering technology; bioprocess manufacturing; and health information technology. Many of the courses are offered online.

That works well for Roberts, who is employed full time and lives an hour away from Greenville. As a Truist national scholarships recipient, he knows the important role scholarships can have in eliminating or reducing student debt. And with a daughter in college, he knows how difficult paying for higher education can be.

Darrell Roberts stands with Dr. Harry Ploehn, dean of the College of Engineering and Technology, after receiving the Technology Systems General Scholarship during the Robert and Betty Hill Recognition of Excellence Awards Ceremony last year. (Photo by Ken Buday)

“Experiencing it myself and knowing what she’s going through, it just adds to it: If you’re able to do it, you should,” he said of his scholarship donation. “I hear this constantly from alumni and professors: So many people are able to help, but they just don’t. It’s not because they don’t care or don’t want to. It just doesn’t cross their minds. Well, all the stuff that I’m learning in my courses and all of the things we’re seeing and dealing with with the decline of students everywhere, this is just one more thing to help at least a couple more students make it. You never know what anybody is going through, so offer whatever you can and hopefully it will change somebody’s life.”

Despite being a distance education student, Roberts does come to campus occasionally because of his involvement with student organizations, including the Phi Sigma Pi and Epsilon Pi Tau service and honor societies. He stays busy.

“You don’t stop just because you add on more,” he said. “You just handle it and keep pushing. I still have no idea how, but every day is a new day. You just keep going.”

And Roberts plans to keep going with more scholarship support in the future.

“They said current students don’t do this. Well, it’s done now,” he said of his scholarship donation. “But it was always part of the plan. It made sense. The level of support and the level of people who love it here — even the graduates and the alumni who are always willing to lend a hand and reach out — it fits. It just fits.”

ECU is in the public phase of the Pursue Gold campaign to raise half a billion dollars. This ambitious effort will create new paths to success for Pirates on campus, across the country and around the world. Donor gifts during the campaign will keep us constantly leading and ready to advance what’s possible. Learn more at