Dr. Philip Rogers, former ECU chief of staff, returns to take helm as 12th chancellor

North Carolina native Dr. Philip Rogers has been elected the 12th chancellor of East Carolina University by the UNC Board of Governors.

The appointment is a homecoming for Rogers, 37, who is senior vice president of learning and engagement for the American Council on Education.

Rogers first came to ECU as a policy analyst in 2007 and served from 2008-2013 as chief of staff, where he was responsible for external relations for the university, including government relations, marketing and communications, public service, and policy development.

His ties to ECU and Pirate Nation do not end there. Rogers was raised in Greenville and is the great-grandson of an early student of the East Carolina Teachers Training School. His wife, Dr. Rebekah P. Rogers, is a two-time ECU alumna.

Visit this video on YouTube for the closed-captioned version.

“ECU represents the heart and soul of my identity as a person and leader,” Rogers said. “It’s not just a place where I worked or where my wife went to school. It’s who we are. It’s the centerpiece of our lives. We wouldn’t be here today without this institution.”

“As a proud member of Pirate Nation, I am both humbled and ecstatic to be offered the opportunity to give back to this university and the Greenville community,” he said. “Higher education has never been more important in our country, our state and our region, especially with ECU graduating the next generation of leaders. We have a prime opportunity to strengthen ECU as a beacon in higher education.”

Philip Rogers knows the university, he knows eastern North Carolina, and he has a bone-deep understanding of how important ECU is to the people of this state.
- Peter Hans, UNC System president

While his North Carolina roots run deep, Rogers also has developed a robust national and global network during his time with the American Council on Education, a nonprofit organization that acts as a coordinating body for its membership of approximately 1,700 colleges and universities across the nation. As senior vice president, Rogers helped institutions navigate complex challenges facing the global higher education landscape. He was responsible for ACE’s academic, research and innovation strategy, overseeing five separate divisions including advancement and fundraising, education attainment and academic innovation, global engagement and internationalization, leadership and professional learning, and research.

In his nearly seven years at ACE, he led the design, development and implementation of ACE’s strategic plan, “Higher Education for the Nation’s Future,” including the launch of a national listening tour to engage with campus leaders and stakeholders to shape the multi-year strategy to meet the needs of ACE’s member institutions. Rogers said the team made a deliberate effort to place equity, innovation and student success at the center of the plan and partnered with a wide array of national education philanthropies to support its implementation.

Rogers films his introduction to Pirate Nation in the ECU Trustees Suite in the Main Campus Student Center on campus.

Rogers understands both the cutting-edge activities and the challenges of university leadership, and he has a broad network of connections throughout ACE’s diverse membership institutions. He previously served as vice president and chief of staff for the organization.

Rogers will begin his duties as chancellor on March 15, 2021, following Interim Chancellor Ron Mitchelson, who has led the university since October 2019.

Dr. Rogers brings a rare blend of knowledge and capacities to the position. ... With his mix of local assets, industry knowledge and personal attributes, I know that history will see this appointment as a key moment for Pirate Nation.
- Dr. Ron Mitchelson, ECU Interim Chancellor

UNC System President Peter Hans said, “Philip Rogers knows the university, he knows eastern North Carolina, and he has a bone-deep understanding of how important ECU is to the people of this state. Philip has done great work in higher education nationally, and I’m thrilled that he’s decided to return home and devote his energy and talent to East Carolina.”

Chancellor-Elect Philip Rogers. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)


Name: Dr. Philip G. Rogers

Work experience: Senior vice president of learning and engagement at the American Council on Education since 2013; former ECU chief of staff from 2008-2013

Hometown: Greenville (J.H. Rose High School graduate)

Colleges attended and degrees: Doctorate in higher education management with distinction, University of Pennsylvania; master’s degree in public administration, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; bachelor’s degree in communications, Wake Forest University


“East Carolina University could find no better equipped, more prepared leader to take the helm during these challenging times than Philip Rogers.

“At ACE, Philip’s drive, dedication and expertise have been crucial as we work toward fulfilling key missions such as helping institutions build their capacity through high-quality innovation and working to improve equity and access to higher education nationwide.

“We will sorely miss Philip, but we are delighted that he’s going home to ECU and look forward to continuing to work with him in his new leadership role.”

Ted Mitchell
President, American Council on Education

“I’m pleased that Philip Rogers will be the next chancellor of ECU. I have worked with him through the American Council on Education, where his leadership in higher education and public policy have made a positive difference across our country.”

Randy Woodson
Chancellor, N.C. State University

“I have known Dr. Rogers for a long time through my service on the American Council on Education (ACE) Board. Dr. Rogers is a distinguished leader in higher education and highly respected as a team builder, collaborator and visionary thinker. He is sincere, genuine, honest and deeply committed to student success. Having helped to craft ACE’s Strategic Framework for the future of Higher Education and having previously served as chief of staff at ECU, he values and is ready to lead all aspects of the university experience — from academics to research and from student life to athletics. I am excited for my dear friend and thrilled that ECU picked a truly wonderful leader to take the university into the next decade. Go Pirates!”

Jim Clements
President, Clemson University

“Philip Rogers has become an authentic voice for enlightened leadership in American higher education. Throughout his career, he has exhibited a great passion for ensuring student success and creating an institutional culture that encourages innovation. He is deeply committed to shared governance and academic excellence, and I know he will be unapologetically enthusiastic in his leadership of East Carolina University.”

Freeman A. Hrabowski III
President, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

“Philip brings a wealth of experience in higher education, from North Carolina and on the national scale. I think of Philip as a champion of innovation, as well as a caring person. And he has great energy and optimism. I have valued collaborating with Philip over the years, and East Carolina University is lucky to have him.”

Michelle Marks
Chancellor, University of Colorado Denver

“As a longstanding member of the ACE Board of Directors’ Executive Committee, I have had the pleasure of working with Philip since he first arrived at ACE in 2013. I can say from experience that East Carolina University has gained an exemplary leader who brings with him a wealth of knowledge about and experience in higher education. A decisive leader, Philip is also committed to working collaboratively with colleagues across the organization, an invaluable skill for navigating higher education’s shared governance model. I have every confidence that Philip will thrive as ECU’s next chancellor and congratulate the entire ECU community on selecting such an outstanding new leader.”

Ronald A. Crutcher
President, University of Richmond
Chair-elect, ACE Board of Directors

ECU Board of Trustees Chair Vern Davenport led the search committee. “Today is a significant day in the history of East Carolina University as we welcome Dr. Philip Rogers home­­–back to North Carolina, Greenville and most especially, back to ECU,” he said.

“I wholeheartedly believe that based on Philip’s understanding of eastern North Carolina and the impact of ECU on this region, his experiences at the American Council on Education and his broad network in the higher education landscape, we have indeed found the perfect person to lead ECU. I can’t wait for Philip to make his mark here at home.”

It is vital to lead with a listening ear and servant’s heart when considering the top priorities to address together as a university.
- Dr. Philip Rogers, chancellor-elect

Interim Chancellor Mitchelson echoed Davenport’s excitement for Rogers returning to ECU.

“Dr. Philip Rogers brings a rare blend of knowledge and capacities to the position,” said Mitchelson. “First, having been raised here and having worked at ECU, he knows the region and he knows our mission. Second, his leadership position at the American Council on Education equips him with a network of institutional leaders spanning the country and the globe.

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

Rogers said he is up to the challenge.

“Given my previous experience at ECU and the wide array of authentic relationships I’ve maintained with university stakeholders through the years, I am confident in my ability to be an asset to the university and region from day one,” he said. “It will be important to partner with faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members, and other constituencies to build trust and unity among every component of the shared governance infrastructure.

“It is also vital to lead with a listening ear and servant’s heart when considering the top priorities to address together as a university,” Rogers said.

View this video on YouTube for the closed-captioned version.

A graduate of J.H. Rose High School in Greenville, Rogers earned his doctoral degree in higher education management with distinction from the University of Pennsylvania, his master’s degree in public administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and his bachelor’s degree in communication from Wake Forest University.

He and his wife have two sons, Grayson, 5, and Dean, 2.

Rogers, his wife Dr. Rebekah P. Rogers and their two sons, Grayson and Dean, enjoy time in Minges Coliseum shooting hoops.

“Rogers embodies the spirit of the Pirate Nation. He has carved out an influence that extends far and wide across the national higher education landscape, but he is also homegrown and fiercely loyal to eastern North Carolina,” said UNC Board of Governors chair Randy Ramsey. “When he assumes his role at ECU’s helm, his expertise will lead the university and the region it serves to a new era of achievement and innovation.”

In November 2019, the UNC Board of Governors announced the formation of a 20-member search committee tasked with locating a candidate for the position, chaired by Davenport.

The committee made recommendations to the full ECU Board of Trustees, which voted on candidates to recommend to Hans. After reviewing the candidates, Hans recommended Rogers to the UNC System Board of Governors for formal election during today’s meeting.

The ECU Chancellor Search Committee also included Michael Aho of McLean, Virginia; Angela Allen of Raleigh; Michelle Bone of Greenville; Caroline Bevillard of Greenville; Cassandra Burt of Emerald Isle; Crystal Chambers of Greenville; John Cooper of Raleigh; Neal Crawford of Greensboro; Leigh Jeffreys Fanning of Greenville; Brian Floyd of Greenville; Grant Hayes of Greenville; Colin Johnson of Greenville; Chris Locklear of Greenville; Jason Poole of Fayetteville; Jeff Popke of Greenville; Jim Segrave of Kinston; Vince Smith of Vienna, Virginia; Ann Wall of Greenville; and Tucker Robbins of Wilson.

Founded in 1907, East Carolina University offers 87 bachelor’s, 68 master’s and 18 doctoral degrees to nearly 29,000 students on its Greenville, North Carolina, campus and through an acclaimed online learning program. The university’s school of medicine is recognized nationally for producing primary care physicians and for cardiovascular research and advanced robotic surgery, as well as obesity and diabetes breakthroughs. ECU also boasts standout programs in business, education, nursing and the arts, and takes pride in impacting the health and prosperity of North Carolina’s rural communities.

Located near Atlantic coast harbors where pirates once roamed, ECU adopted the Pirates mascot in 1934 for its athletics program and competes in NCAA Division 1. The university has a globally recognized academic underwater archaeology program and enjoys a supportive relationship with the U.S. military services.

Rogers and his family embrace the Pirate spirit while touring TowneBank Tower.