This post appears here courtesy of ECU News Services
. The author of this post is Crystal Baity
ECU's cupola is surrounded by fall foliage in 2019. | Photo: Rhett Butler
Six outstanding women were honored for their selfless leadership as Women of Distinction at East Carolina University during a virtual ceremony on Sept. 29.
Eboni Baugh, Betsy Tuttle, Cheryl Dudasik-Wiggs, Jill Matarelli Carlson, Emily Taylor Stewart, and Harvey Sharp Wooten received the awards, which are given biennially to women who have made outstanding contributions to ECU.
"This is our time. We have to continue use our voices, our strengths and our influence in ways that are beneficial to the masses."
— Dr. Virginia Hardy, vice chancellor for student affairs
Dudasik-Wiggs received the Dr. Linda Allred Profiles in Leadership Award, named for the former associate professor of psychology who died in 2005. Allred directed the ECU Women's Studies Program and advocated for women's rights and the rights of those with disabilities.
"It's an honor to celebrate these women and their accomplishments,"
said Dr. Virginia Hardy, vice chancellor for student affairs. "This award is a testament to your commitment and drive."
Hardy — a member of the inaugural 2007 class of Women of Distinction — challenged the recipients to continue to inspire and foster growth in others. "This is our time,"
Hardy said. "We have to continue use our voices, our strengths and our influence in ways that are beneficial to the masses."
Pitt County Sheriff Paula Dance, the first Black woman elected sheriff in North Carolina, was the keynote speaker. Dance talked about the challenges and lessons she has learned in a male-dominated profession.
"I was the little girl that Martin Luther King dreamed of when he gave his famous speech,"
said Dance, a Martin County native and ECU alumna. "My career took me through curves, turns and one-way streets at times."
She worked full time while raising three children and earning her college degree. She advised the recipients to continue supporting one another while doing three things: step out of their comfort zone by doing something they're afraid of; have a mindset of equality while demanding respect; and defy social expectations while having confidence in themselves.
The honorees were chosen from more than 30 nominations received by a jury of faculty, staff and students chaired by Dr. LaNika Wright, said Ashley Harzog Cleland, associate director for the ECU Women and Gender Office. Cleland also thanked past jury chair Dr. Stephanie George, Dr. Eleanor Cook, graduate assistants Holly Campbell and Kaitlyn Isherwood, the Gender Studies Executive Council and the Office of Equity and Diversity.
The ceremony is normally held in the spring but was postponed due to the pandemic.