AIDS activist & ECU donor, Dr. Jesse Peel, dead at 83

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – An activist and philanthropist who has contributed heavily to East Carolina University over the years has passed away.

Dr. Jesse Peel died yesterday, according to the ECU Dr. Jesse R. Peel LGBTQ Center. The Everetts native was 83 years old.

Peel moved his psychiatric practice to Atlanta just before the start of the AIDS epidemic, and it served gay men, many of whom had to cope with the newly discovered disease.

At ECU, Peel and his mother started several scholarships, and in 2014 he donated what the university says was his landmark gift, establishing what is now the Dr. Jesse R. Peel LGBTQ Center. The Peel Center is the largest of its kind in the UNC system, according to ECU.

A funeral for Peel will be held in Atlanta, while a celebration of life is being planned for the ECU campus.