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For 14 years, Lou Watkins served East Central University with passion and making an impact on the lives of students.


Watkins will be honored for her efforts with the Distinguished Former Faculty Award at the 2019 Evening of Honors and Recognition on Friday, May 10, at 6:30 p.m. in ECU Foundation Hall of the Chickasaw Business and Conference Center.


Besides being ECU Government Department chair for five years and serving on every conceivable committee, including the faculty senate, Watkins was driven to raise funds and arrange the details to take between 15 and 25 students and faculty to Washington D.C., and sometimes to New York City, every other year. Students called the trips “life-changing.”


ECU’s Lou Watkins Lectureship began as a result of funds that were left over and deposited in the ECU Foundation Inc. after each trip.


While Watkins served as department chair, the number of departmental majors grew from 13 to 51 in that five-year span. Among her other accomplishments at ECU were to help raise funds for a 24/7 campus-wide computer lab and she wrote a proposal for the legal studies option, which was the only new program in the state approved that year.


Through her influence and the help of her husband United States Congressman Wes Watkins, federal funding was corralled to help build the Environmental Health Science Building on the ECU campus, the first new facility built on campus in 30 years at that time. Recently, Lou and Wes endowed an ECU graduate scholarship in water research as well.


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