Legacy room opens at ECSU to display university icons

Kesha Williams
March 21, 2011

legacy-room-opens-at-ecs

The long awaited dream of displaying the university's history in a public place is now a reality. Elizabeth City State University's Legacy Room holds a collection of memorabilia that reflects the institution's story over 120 years.

After the annual Founders Day convocation on March 11, visitors strolled through the Legacy Room, room #127 of the K. E. White Graduate and Continuing Education Center, for their first view.  A large wall-size panel facing the entrance door spotlights the chief administrative officers, first known as presidents of the institution and later known as chancellors. A glass case encloses the late Chancellor Marion D. Thorpe's athletic jacket, which bears an inscription noting the 1981 championship of the basketball team. ECSU Archivist Jean Bischoff says the Legacy Room is a wonderful way to increase awareness of the archives.

"It is a perfect place to take people whether we are recruiting students, prospective faculty and staff or touring visitors. The institution's history defines the institution that we see today,"   Bischoff said. "The Legacy Room reflects the loyalty, dedication and perseverance of former faculty, staff and students."

As the crowd entered the Legacy Room last Friday, ECSU Chancellor Willie J. Gilchrist urged everyone in the room to take a close view of the icons that mark the institution's development.

"In order to preserve our legacy of this university, it was imperative we reach out to those who have shown their love and dedication for the university. The Long sisters bring a rich history not only to ECSU but to Elizabeth City, "Gilchrist said. "We are grateful they were able to share their talent and foresight with us.  With this Legacy Room, we are preserving the past, present and items that will be important in the future."

Chancellor Gilchrist was referring to two sisters who graduated in 1954 from the institution, Ms. Joyce and Ms. Justina Long. The two worked diligently with staff, other alumni and interior decorator Ida Muldrow to prepare the room. The Long sisters, as they are affectionately known, sold plaques for $150. The sisters purchased eight plaques for members of their family who are also alumni. Students, staff, faculty, administrators, alumni and friends are represented by commemorative plaques bordering the walls. The money raised initially, $7,000, covered the cost of room renovations. Proceeds from future plaque sales will support scholarships in the ECSU Foundation.

"We wanted to do something that would recognize the chancellors and presidents of the universities and so many others. We hope more people will support this effort and it's not limited to alumni," Ms. Justina Long said.

"Everyone should give back and leave a legacy. There are about 18 survivors from the class of 1954. Some of them couldn't be here to do the physical work but they have been involved. One classmate called from California and plans to visit the Legacy Room in August. We were glad to assist them and all the others who contributed," Ms. Joyce Long said. "Now we are looking forward to selling more plaques so we can earn more money for the scholarships here at the university."

To purchase a commemorative plaque, contact the Mrs. Letitia Evans in the Division of Institutional Advancement, 252-335-3225, or Ms. Joyce Long, 252-335-4541.