GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — East Carolina University’s fourth annual Pirate Nation Gives fundraising day on June 24 raised more than $3.1 million, surpassing last year’s amount of $805,000 and exceeding its initial goal of $1 million.

The one-day, social media-driven effort brought alumni, faculty, staff, students, parents and friends together to support worthy university causes.

Fundraising priorities for this year included Beacon scholarships, athletics scholarships and the Ledonia Wright Cultural Center.

“Thank you for caring so deeply and being an important part of Pirate Nation. Every gift supports our resilient students, faculty and researchers who are making a positive impact in North Carolina and beyond. It was a different day than we initially planned, but your generosity has made this the most successful Pirate Nation Gives yet,” Interim Chancellor Ron Mitchelson said.

The largest gift of the day was a $1.8 million commitment from an anonymous faculty member.

ECU Chancellor Christopher Dyba says these donations help strengthen the college.

“We’re able to enhance our programs. We’re able to offer scholarships. We’re able to enhance some facilities through philanthropy,” said Dyba.

Nearly $1.1 million will support accounting faculty recruitment and retention — among the largest gifts ever for the College of Business.

“Inspired, knowledgeable, caring faculty are the backbone of our college. The $1.1 million anonymous planned gift will allow us to attract and retain top-notch faculty, influencing thousands of students throughout their careers,” Dean Paul Schwager said.

The remaining $720,000 of the gift will be directed to the Students’ Treasure Chest, a student-led group that supports students’ immediate needs, including financial hardships caused by COVID-19.

Other gifts made during Pirate Nation Gives included:

  • More than $41,000 for Beacon scholarships, with $25,000 from the Harold H. Bate Foundation.
  • Nearly $74,000 for athletics scholarships.
  • An initial gift of $25,000 from Dr. Jesse R. Peel to create a diversity and inclusion support program within the College of Education’s Rural Education Institute.

Peel grew up in Martin County and is a supporter of numerous scholarships and the namesake of the Dr. Jesse R. Peel Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer (LGBTQ) Center.

“The purpose of the new program is to provide rural educators across the state with professional development in areas of equity, social justice, diversity and inclusion,” Peel said. “I feel the social upheaval in our country currently makes this an incredibly vital initiative.”

For more information about ECU’s day of giving and a full list of champion donors, visit