The Vikings are here: ECSU students ready for semester

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Senior Mark Daughtery (left) and sophomore Cornell Dorsey carry their personal items in a hallway at Viking Tower as they head to their dorm rooms at Elizabeth City State University, Friday.


By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Kenneth Robinson Jr. considered studying and playing football at several different colleges — but all the signs kept pointing back to Elizabeth City State University.

On Friday, Robinson attended freshman orientation at ECSU and moved in on campus. He and his parents, Kenneth Robinson Sr. and Vicky Robinson, of Yorktown, Va., said the university’s new kinesiology curriculum, the personal attention the staff showed during the admissions process, and opportunities on the football field combined to make ECSU the perfect choice for his education.

Kenneth Robinson Jr., a tight end on the Vikings football team, said he is looking forward to the upcoming football season and to majoring in kineesilogy. He said the kinesiology major will allow him to stay involved in athletics by being an athletic trainer but also work in physical therapy at a rehab center or hospital.

“I will be more focused than ever on keeping my grades up,” he said.

Kenneth Robinson Sr. said a major factor in his son’s decision to choose ECSU was the interest staff showed in having him attend the university.

“I really feel good about it,” he said. “The biggest thing I see in getting him here is it was like family. Every administrator just went out of their way to get him in here. I really felt like they really wanted him here. It was the interest they showed, from athletics to the administrators.”

Robinson Sr. said a number of other colleges expressed an interest in having his son play football at their school. Among the other colleges his son talked to were East Carolina University, Hampton University, N.C. Central, West Virginia Wesleyan and Middle Tennessee State, he said.

“But in terms of the interest that they showed, Elizabeth City just blew them out of the water,” he said.

Robinson Sr. singled out Latonya Lewis, ECSU’s assistant director of admissions, for special praise.

“She really went to bat,” he said. “We probably talked to her two or three times a week. Latonya Lewis made sure he had everything that he needed every step of the way. And that hospitality went through every other department.”

The housing office, the athletic department and everyone at the university has been encouraging and helpful, he said. Chancellor Thomas Conway and Darius Eure, director of admissions, were also among those who were very helpful, he said.

“It was like, ‘come on,’ like you were family,” Robinson said. “It was awesome. It really was.”

Robinson Jr. said he has a great feeling about this year’s gridiron prospects. “I feel like we have enough talent on this team to make a championship run,” he said.

Another freshman, Mark Barthelemy from Fuquay-Varina, who is majoring in history and is interested in archaeology, said one reason he chose to attend ECSU was the personal interest Chancellor Conway had taken in his studies.

“It was really nice,” Barthelemy said. “He was a really nice guy. He actually got me in touch with one of the professors here about future dig sites.”

Barthelemy said he would like eventually to earn a Ph.D and be an archaeologist.

On Friday, though, Barthelemy’s pursuits were more mundane, focused on finding his classes and making sure everything was in order as the semester begins.

Lawrence Becknel earned certified nursing assistant and certified medical assistant credentials through College of The Albemarle and worked a couple of years in a cardiology office and optometry office before deciding he wanted to study pharmaceutical science at ECSU.

Becknel said staff from ECSU reached out to him and helped him understand that the university could offer him a financial aid package that would make a university education affordable for him.

“They came to me,” he said when asked how he decided to attend ECSU. “At the time I couldn’t really afford to go to school. ECSU was offering me the best option. I couldn’t afford to go to school without financial aid.”

During the time he spent working after completing his CNA and CMA certifications at COA, Becknel said he realized that medications and helping people understand their medications were the things that interested him the most. So he’s studying pharmaceutical science at ECSU.

Justin McCord is coming to ECSU as a sophomore after attending COA as a freshman. The Currituck County High School graduate said he was offered a scholarship to play golf at the university. He has been playing golf since he was 4 or 5, he said.

McCord is majoring in psychology and said he hopes to work as a therapist specializing in working with children of divorced parents. He said he is looking forward to playing on ECSU’s golf team while earning his degree.

Khya Kornegay, of New Bern, attended Mid-Atlantic Christian University last year as a freshman. She said she liked MACU but found the school a bit too small for her. She loved Elizabeth City, however, and still wanted to go to school here, she said.

“I really love everybody that I’ve met here so far,” Kornegay said. “So I said. ‘why not go to Elizabeth City State?’”

Kornegay said she met a number of ECSU students and they persuaded her to come to the university. “They did the recruiting,” she said of her friends.

She is majoring in psychology and counseling.

The social life will be busier at ECSU, she said. 

“Here it’s going to be booming all the time — so much stuff to do,” Kornegay said.

Jocelyn Robertson, a senior computer science major, assisted with freshman orientation. 

“Today has been really smooth,” Robertson said. “We’re trying to make everything as smooth as possible before they move in today.”