Units & Initiatives

Champions of Freedom

ECU’s Champions of Freedom Fund (COF) was formed to serve, honor and care for those in America’s Armed Forces, our veterans and their families. To this proud purpose, ECU COF raises private resources to provide flexible funding when and where it is most needed. Operating as a restricted fund within ECU’s Endowment, Champions of Freedom offers a dedicated charitable mechanism for existing ECU donors seeking to additionally enhance ECU’s support of servicemembers, veterans and their families. Simultaneously, the focus of COF has encouraged new donors to give to ECU for the first time.

Under the direction of Dr. Ted Morris, associate vice chancellor for Innovation and Economic Development, and an active group of dedicated advisors, Champions of Freedom has been active:

  • n Celebrating the service and sacrifice of America’s active duty, Guard and Reserve personnel and families;
  • n Increasing awareness of the reintegration challenges facing servicemembers, veterans and their families; and,
  • n Supporting rest and recovery of wounded warriors and their families.

For example, ECU’s COF partnered with the USASOC Soldier, Family and Command Support Association, the New York Says Thank You Foundation, the National World War II Museum and other collaborators as part of the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School’s Regimental Week and the 165th Green Beret graduation. These collaborations shared the WWII Museum’s renowned Victory Belles singing trio, including ECU alumna Becca Nugent, and the National 911 Flag, which flew above the wreckage at Ground Zero, with more than 2,000 people in three days through performances and displays at the:

  • n Fayetteville Independent Light Infantry;
  • n John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Museum;
  • n Green Beret family celebration;
  • n Fayetteville Veteran’s Hospital; and
  • n the Airborne & Special Operations Museum.

Through the flexibility provided via private resources, ECU’s Champions of Freedom complements and strengthens work by the Office of Innovation and Economic Development and Operation Reentry NC to make North Carolina the
most military-friendly state in the nation, increase the economic impact of our state’s military cluster, and recruit and retain veterans and their families into North Carolina’s civilian workforce.



J. Ted Morris, Ph.D.
Associate Vice Chancellor of Innovation and Economic Development