Alumni discuss 'spirit of Vikings'


By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Four of the inaugural inductees into the 40 Under 40 Society at Elizabeth City State University shared with current ECSU students Thursday how the “true spirit of the Viking” includes helping others and not being afraid to tackle big challenges.

During an Emerging Leaders Forum in the Ridley Student Life Center, moderator Tarsma Lassiter asked the honorees their interpretation of the “true spirit of the Viking” — and the panelists left no doubt that spirit lives in them and their work.

The 40 Under 40 Society recognizes younger ECSU graduates who have made significant contributions in their careers and communities and are willing to give back to the university and the current generation of students.

Alicia C. Stokely, a member of ECSU’s Class of 2014 and coordinator of student life and leadership at College of The Albemarle in Elizabeth City, said the true spirit of the Viking is giving back to your community.

For Emanuel L. Basnight Jr., a member of ECSU’s Class of 2002, the true spirit of the Viking is a fearlessness reminiscent of the Vikings of long ago, who went forth into new places and were intimidated by no one.

“Do not fear the lions of the world,” Basnight told an audience made up largely of current students along with a few alumni. “There is no need of being intimidated.”

Basnight, an Elizabeth City native who attended graduate school at East Carolina University after earning his degree from ECSU, now works for an advertising agency in Chicago. He said he has had conversations with co-workers who mentioned their well-known colleges and told him they had not heard of ECSU — and then he realized he was working at the same place they were and making more money than they were.

So just because you come from a small town and attend a small university doesn’t mean you can’t do big things, he told the students.

Enoch D. Bond, a member of ECSU’s Class of 2004, is a native of Edenton and associate director of development and alumni relations at the School of Law at N.C. Central University. He said the true spirit of a Viking is about four things: Giving your time, giving your talent, giving your treasure, and helping another Viking anywhere in the world.

Bond said that when he first arrived in Durham, ECSU alumni took him out to dinner because he was new in town and said all they wanted in return was to do the same whenever a Viking arrived in Durham.

Bond said ECSU prepared him for his career by teaching him to be a servant-leader and providing a great education.

“At ECSU I learned excellence should be a way of life,” Bond said.

Darrien J. Jerman, a Seaboard native who graduated from ECSU in 2008 and now works as the fraternity and sorority life director and deputy Title IX manager at N.C. Central University, said Student Government Association and other activities at ECSU prepared him for his career by providing him “transferable skills.”

Basnight said he learned time management at ECSU and learned how to conduct research and how to present it.

Stokely said she had great mentoring at ECSU and was able to participate in internships that prepared her for her career.