Thomas E.H. Conway, Jr., a native of Louisburg, NC, entered into eternal rest on Friday, May 15, 2020, surrounded by his loving family after a valiant two-year battle with cancer. He was born on October 11, 1949, to the late Thomas E. H. Conway, Sr. and the late Cornelia Cleopatra Ellis Conway of Louisburg, NC.
He had an enduring love for education and God and devoted his life work to both. During his earlier years, his father was emphatic about Church attendance, so he attended South Main Street Baptist Sunday School and Church services, as well as St. Paul Presbyterian Church Sunday School every Sunday with his Dad except for the second Sunday when he went with his mother to Nelson Chapel Missionary Baptist Church. He later joined Nelson Chapel at the age of 9 and remained a member until he became a resident of Raleigh, NC. He then joined St. Paul AME in Raleigh, NC where he served as a Trustee, and Usher, and was a member of the men's fellowship and a YPD Leader for many years. While in Fayetteville he and Mychele joined Haymount Presbyterian Church.
Dr. Conway was a 1967 honors graduate of Riverside Union High School in Louisburg, NC. He received his B.S. degree in Agricultural Education in 1971 and an M.S. degree in Guidance and Counseling in 1976 from North Carolina A & T State University. He later completed his Ph.D. in Counselor Education from North Carolina State University in 1994. He was a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity.
Dr. Conway's lifelong goal was to become the president of an HBCU institution. That dream was realized when he was appointed interim chancellor of Elizabeth City State University by former UNC System president, Dr. Thomas W. Ross. He was later installed as the university’s 11th chief executive officer and sixth chancellor in 2017 by Margaret Spellings and served in that capacity until his retirement in 2018.
Dr. Conway retired after 'Righting the Mighty Viking Ship' for the voyage ahead. As he made his rounds encouraging students to value themselves by attending a great university specifically, Elizabeth City State University, with the mentality of "I can go anywhere from here!" He made great strides toward expanding the value of ECSU by requesting and receiving approval for five new academic programs, establishing bilateral agreements with North Carolina community colleges, and shepherding in the first enrollment increase at the University in seven years. His efforts also brought in the largest freshman class the University had experienced in five years.
Dr. Conway had a great passion for building a stronger relationship between the surrounding community and ECSU. He was also a strong believer in Elizabeth City State University’s role as a leader in the economic sustainability of the Eastern North Carolina region. He initiated several university-led community meetings resulting in the launching of InnovatEC, a university project designed to spur economic growth and entrepreneurship in the region.
Under Dr. Conway’s leadership, ECSU launched a new university brand, introducing a new logo and tagline. Dr. Conway had said that the new tagline, “Come to discover, leave to conquer,” spoke to the institution’s legacy of introducing well prepared and accomplished young men and women into the world. He motivated students, faculty, and alumni with his repetition of "VIKING PRIDE, VIKING PRIDE, VIKING PRIDE!"
Dr. Conway retired after serving the UNC System for 43 years, 32 of which were spent at N.C. State in various capacities, including Vice Provost for Enrollment Management and Services, Dean for the Division of Undergraduate Academic Affairs, Vice Provost of the Division of Undergraduate Affairs, Director of First-Year College, Director of Recruiting and Minority Services for the College of Engineering, Director of Academic Support Services for Student-Athletes, Trio Program Director, Counselor in NC State University's Counseling Center and as a guest lecturer throughout campus and most notably as a visiting lecturer in the NC State College of Education's Department of Counselor Education.
Upon his departure from North Carolina State University, he accepted the position of Vice-Chancellor and Chief of Staff at Fayetteville State University with then-Chancellor James A. Anderson in 2008 and remained with the Broncos until 2016. He was also proud of his early days as a photo-journalist at The Greensboro News and Record in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Dr. Thomas Conway leaves to cherish his memories: wife, B. Mychele Conway; son, Simon C. A. Conway; daughter, Zena E. M. Conway; sister, June Conway- Alston (Ervin): brother, Reverends Atcheson T. Conway, III ( Margaret); grandson, Stafford O. Conway Gatling, III; beloved mother-in-law Rosa Jenkins-el, sister-in-law Dr. M. Argretta Jenkins-el, brother-in-law Dr.Wilbert C. Jenkins, Jr. (Natalie) and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
Celebration of Life service will be held at a later date due to Covid 19 restrictions.
In lieu of flowers the family ask you to make a donation to the Dr. Thomas E.H. Conway, Jr. Foundation, P.O Box 3011, Elizabeth City, NC, 27906.
Beach Rivers Funeral Home is expressing sympathy through sincere service to the Conway family.
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Dr. Thomas E.H. Conway, Jr. Foundation
P.O Box 3011, Elizabeth City NC 27906