ECU Plans Millennial Campus

The Daily Reflector

By Jane Dail

Chancellor Steve Ballard

GREENVILLE, NC (November 25, 2014)- East Carolina University will begin partnerships with area companies to start a millennial campus and possibly add several more around Greenville.

Chancellor Steve Ballard said at Friday’s Board of Trustees meeting the pharmaceutical companies Patheon, Hospira and Mayne Pharma have agreed to partner to create a Pharmaceutical Development and Manufacturing Center of Excellence.

The collaboration will be among five ECU colleges and will use the assistance of the N.C. Biotech Center to move forward with the partnerships.

“This is the beginning, really the first step of many steps that we are taking to create the millennial campus and to build better public-private sector partnerships that will both grow our research and also make an economic development impact on the region,” Ballard said.

Interim Provost Ron Mitchelson said the Department of Chemistry already has started to develop a Good Manufacturing Practice course in preparation.

“The center is currently planned for location within the Brody School of Medicine, which will be designated as a millennial space during the spring 2015,” he said.

Ballard said there are more than 8,000 pharmaceutical manufacturing jobs within 50 miles of Greenville.

“These partnerships will be great for our research opportunities but great for hundreds of students who are being prepared right now to be competitors for those 8,000 jobs,” he said.

The university’s board of trustees discussed the potential for more than one millennial campus in the Greenville area. Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance Rick Niswander said millennial campuses are a designation by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors and is the same concept as N.C. State University’s Centennial Campus that encourages public and private partnerships.

He said the university is looking at two to three locations for the campuses.

Niswander said potential locations include the Stratford Arms area, Greenville’s warehouse district, behind Bostic Sugg Furniture and several other sites in the area.

Trustee Vern Davenport said he visited N.C. State’s Centennial Campus and would like to see how ECU can replicate what is going on at the Raleigh campus.

“It’s the most amazing place,” he said “… It’s not the facilities but what’s done of the facilities, that’s the thing that’s breathtaking there. It’s not the building or the location or how we get the land, it’s what’s happening with that asset.”

Niswander said N.C. State had a distinct advantage because much of the land was donated. ECU likely would have to buy land at fair market value.

Davenport said he wants to see hot spots for several activities, including bioengineering.

Board of Trustees Chairman Robert Brinkley said the university’s community is eager to see the millennial campuses come to fruition.

“I think that people are getting excited about it when we start talking about not a location but what we want to do there,” Brinkley said.