Yates reflects on long service as ECSU trustee


By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

For the first time in more than a quarter-century, Fred Yates won’t be an Elizabeth City State University trustee.

Yates recently left the ECSU Board of Trustees after 24 years — nearly all of which he served consecutively — saying it’s time for him to focus more on his other longtime job: mayor of Winfall.

Trustee appointments at ECSU are for four years and are renewable for a second four-year term. After eight years a trustee is required to leave the board but may be appointed to another term after one year.

Yates has taken that required year off and then gone back on the ECSU board three times. But he said he’s not looking to return as an ECSU trustee this time.

“I think somebody else needs an opportunity to serve,” he said.

Yates, who is mayor of Winfall in Perquimans County, said he needs to focus his energies on being the town’s mayor on the next mayoral election in November.

“Winfall is basically where my heart is now,” he said.

Yates said he has enjoyed his tenure on the ECSU board.

“I served with some good boards,” he said.

Yates’ service as an ECSU trustee spanned the tenures of six different chancellors: Mickey Burnim, Willie J. Gilchrist, Charles Becton, Stacey Franklin Jones, Thomas Conway and Karrie Dixon.

Yates said the biggest changes he has seen at the university have been its increased enrollment and ECSU becoming more a part of the larger community.

Although enrollment declined in the middle of this decade, the numbers are on an upswing now.

Yates gives much of the credit for improved enrollment to Althea Riddick, the university’s associate vice chancellor for enrollment management.

“It’s back on,” Yates said of ECSU enrollment. “Dr. Riddick is doing a great job.”

He also says Chancellor Dixon is moving the university in the right direction.

Yates also believes current Board of Trustees Chairman Harold Barnes is taking the board new places.

“He has got that leadership ability,” he said.

In addition to Yates, local attorney Tony Hornthal also has completed his eight years of service as a trustee and is leaving the board. Both were presented certificates of appreciation for their service at the trustee board’s June 11 meeting.

Two new trustees will begin their terms on July 1 and four trustees are being reappointed. The new trustees are Chris Evans, director of State Legislative and Regulatory Affairs for Blue Cross Blue Shield North Carolina, and Paul Tine, a former member of the state House from Dare County. The trustees reappointed to the board are Kim Brown, Andy Culpepper, Harold Barnes and Jan King Robinson.

Evans began her career as a high school social studies teacher before entering the practice of law. She graduated from the University of North Carolina School of Law in 1996. She earned a master of arts degree in education from Columbia University in 1990, and a bachelor of arts in economics from Denison University in Granville, Ohio.

Tine, the owner of Midgett Insurance Agency in Manteo and Kitty Hawk, has served on numerous boards including the North Carolina Museum of Natural History advisory board, the Northeast Commission, the Northeast Rural Broadband board, the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce, and the Roanoke Island Historical Association. He is a graduate of James Madison University.

Tine attended the trustees’ June 11 meeting as an observer. He said in an interview that he’s excited about joining the board.

“It sounds like I’m coming on at a great time,” Tine said. “We have a new chancellor who has brought a burst of energy, and a great staff.”

Tine said he is pleased with ECSU’s strong partnership with the region’s business community and the university’s growing program in aviation science.