Full-circle moment for Laliotes

Among Ann Laliotes’ many character traits — like her humor, passion for East Carolina University success and philanthropic mindset — is something else ECU library director Jan Lewis likes to magnify.

“Ann is a person who really knows her own mind and how to get things done,” Lewis said.

Another example of Laliotes’ ability to “get things done” was highlighted with a formal ceremony featuring some of her friends and family inside the Ann B. Laliotes Reading Room. A Laliotes gift supports programming and exhibits by Academic Library Services, and sealed the naming of the showcase area near the front entrance of the main campus library beside the front circulation desk in her honor.

Guests listen to Ann Laliotes’ presentation during a formal dedication of the Ann B. Laliotes Reading Room inside the main campus library.

Laliotes and her late husband, John, both are ECU graduates and have a long history of supporting the university in football, libraries, fine arts and other areas. Ann, in particular, has always been drawn to library support from her love for books and quotations.

“I’m really thanking East Carolina for what it meant to my husband, John, and I,” Laliotes said during a presentation focused on her and John’s journey that was intertwined with ECU history and their professional development. “We thank them for our education, for critical thinking skills, for leadership and technological skills, and for our outstanding students, faculty and staff. … We want ECU to continue to serve our mission throughout eastern North Carolina and beyond, and we of course don’t want to forget the great libraries and library staff at Joyner, Laupus (Health Sciences Library), music and departmental libraries, too.”

The reading room features casual seating for students to study and collaborate. It also is surrounded by various book displays, including new Ronnie Barnes Collection books, popular reading and a rotating monthly themed display.

Ann Laliotes holds multiple degrees from ECU, beginning as a 1969 double major in Spanish and history. John graduated in political science and pursued a successful career in pharmaceutical sales.

Ann also earned a Master of Library Science degree at ECU, sparking a unique career that included as director of Franklin County Libraries, multiple managerial roles in the state of Florida and employment with the Pirate Club and University Advancement at ECU.

She merged her love for libraries and football in the 1980s, gaining employment as a records manager for the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League.

“One Sunday, I was reading the classifieds and I saw an ad that called for a library file manager to reorganize and maintain the (Dolphins’) filing system,” Laliotes said. “I almost didn’t apply, but my husband basically said, ‘You can’t go wrong,’ so I did. … It was fun and never did I know what a day might bring with the Dolphins. … They treated you like family.”

Laliotes credited Dr. Gene Lanier, a former chairman of ECU library science, and former librarian and ECU faculty member Emily Boyce as lead mentors from when she was a student.

“Emily gave me my passion, particularly for public library service, and the development of beginning leadership skills,” Laliotes said.

As she finalized her presentation, Laliotes reflected on her time spent at ECU libraries decades ago, and now being proud as an ardent supporter of campus libraries and having her name installed in the Ann B. Laliotes Reading Room.

“A circle is complete,” she said.