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Greenville native to be next chancellor of East Carolina University

Greenville native to be next chancellor of East Carolina University

East Carolina University's next leader will be a Greenville native who previously worked at the institution.

The UNC Board of Governors on Thursday elected Philip Rogers to be ECU's 12th chancellor.

Rogers is currently a senior vice president at the American Council on Education in Washington, D.C. Before that he was chief of staff to ECU's chancellor.

“Dr. Rogers is a driven leader who brings energy and vitality to ECU," UNC System President Peter Hans said Thursday. "He has broad national higher education experience and deep local roots in Greenville. Philip is invested in ECU for the long haul and will bring steady, stable leadership."

Rogers, 37, will start at ECU on March 15. The UNC System didn't immediately reply to an email Friday asking about his salary.

Ron Mitchelson, ECU's interim chancellor who has worked at the university since 1999, said in a statement that Rogers "knows the region and ... our mission" and is part of a national and global network of higher education leaders through his work with ACE.

"With his mix of local assets, industry knowledge and personal attributes," Mitchelson said, "I know that history will see this appointment as a key moment for Pirate Nation."

A graduate of J.H. Rose High School in Greenville, Rogers earned his bachelor's degree in communications from Wake Forest University, then got a master's from UNC-Chapel Hill and a doctoral degree in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania. He was at ECU from 2007 to 2013, first as a policy analyst and then as chief of staff for five years to then-chancellor Steve Ballard.

Rogers left the university for ACE, which provides research, policy and advocacy for more than 1,700 U.S. colleges and universities.

But his heart remained in eastern North Carolina.

"I'm excited and humbled by the opportunity before me," Rogers said in a video produced by the university. "I understand the importance of this university to the state and to the region. And that's because eastern North Carolina is my home. Greenville is my home. And I'm proud to call East Carolina University my home."

He has a Greensboro connection, too: Rebekah Page Rogers, his wife, is a Greensboro native. The couple was married at Greensboro's First Baptist Church in 2009.

Rebekah Rogers also works in higher education. After earning two degrees from ECU, she got a doctorate in leadership studies from Gonzaga University in Washington state. A former instructor at ECU and Pitt Community College in Greenville, she's now an adjunct faculty member at George Mason University in Virginia.

Philip Rogers will be ECU's first permanent chancellor in nearly two years. The university's 11th chancellor, Cecil Staton, resigned in May 2019 after only three years at ECU. Staton in June sued the UNC System and former Board of Governors chairman Harry Smith. Staton alleged that he quit because of pressure from Smith.

Staton's replacement, Dan Gerlach, lasted as interim chancellor for just four months. He resigned in October 2019 after reports of a late-night drinking episode at several Greenville bars became public.

Mitchelson, ECU's provost since 2015, was named interim chancellor in October 2019. He will remain in that post until Rogers starts work, then will retire in June.

John Newsom: Five stories from the higher education beat

Five stories from 2020 covering the area's numerous higher education institutions.

Contact John Newsom at (336) 373-7312 and follow @JohnNewsomNR on Twitter.​

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