Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) was recognized as a new Purple Heart University for its longstanding commitment to members of the U.S. Armed Services community in a ceremony held on campus April 12. The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 6060, Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 639 and North Carolina Patriot Guard Northeast District honored ECSU with the elite Purple Heart University designation.

Event participants included Rear Admiral Shannon L. Gilreath, Commander, 5th Coast Guard District from the U.S. Coast Guard; Trey Lewis, Northeast Regional Representative, Office of U.S. Senator Thom Tillis; N.C. State Representative Bill Ward, 5th District;  Daniel Serik, VFW Post 6060; Lenny Lazzara, Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 639; and Roy Hankinson of the North Carolina Patriot Guard Northeast District.

“As an institution founded on excellence, we are proud of our nation and we celebrate the brave men and women, who have served and continue to serve, and protect our freedom,” said Dr. Karrie G. Dixon, chancellor of ECSU. “Patriotism is a value that we cherish at Elizabeth City State University. On this day, ECSU becomes the second institution within the University of North Carolina System to receive the Military Order of the Purple Heart designation as a Purple Heart University.”

Serik stated, “The nation that forgets its defenders, soon will forget itself. Just as love heals the differences within our own families, so, too, can patriotism heal the differences within our nation.”

Lewis, from the office of Senator Tillis, presented a U.S. flag that was flown over the U.S. Capitol in honor of ECSU’s recognition as a Purple Heart University, to the Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 639. Ward presented a Certificate of Acknowledgement and North Carolina state flag to the North Carolina Patriot Guard Northeast District.

The recognition honors ECSU’s commitment to the entire military community—students, faculty, staff and visitors, as well as veterans and their families. The university ranks no. 4 on the 2022 Best Colleges for Veterans- Regional Colleges South listing by U.S. News & World Report. ECSU consistently ranks as a Top Veteran-Friendly School by U.S. Veterans Magazine.

The mission of the Military Order of the Purple Heart is to foster an environment of goodwill and camaraderie among combat wounded veterans, promote patriotism, support necessary legislative initiatives and provide service to all veterans and their families.

Media Note: Photos from the ceremony are available here.