New year brings new ECU trustees, officers
With a new semester set to begin, three new members were sworn in Thursday to the East Carolina University Board of Trustees. In its one-day organizational meeting, board members also elected officers for the coming year: Chairman Jason Poole, Vice Chairman Vince Smith and Secretary Cassie Burt.
The new members are ECU Student Government Association President Javier Limon, retired businessman and philanthropist Carl M. Rogers, and radiologist Vanessa Workman. Limon will serve during the 2023-24 school year. Rogers and Workman were appointed to four-year terms in April by the UNC Board of Governors, who also reappointed Thomas Furr and Van Isley to the board.
Raised in Greenville, Limon is a Brinkley-Lane Scholar in the ECU Honors College majoring in political science with a public health minor. He plans to work on health and education policy after graduation. He serves as student vice president for Phi Kappa Phi honor society. Off campus, he has worked for YouTube influencer and philanthropist MrBeast, interned for multiple political campaigns, and served as a legislative intern in the U.S. Senate.
Rogers of Wrightsville Beach is a Person County native who earned a bachelor’s degree in education from ECU. For many years, he owned and operated DuBose National Energy Services in Clinton, one of the largest, most diversified steel products providers in the United States. Rogers is a longtime Pirate Club member and supporter of ECU Health and the James and Connie Maynard Children’s Hospital. He serves on the Person County Education Foundation where he sponsors an ECU Access Scholarship.
Workman is a partner, owner and practicing radiologist with Eastern Radiologists in Greenville and an affiliate professor of radiology at the Brody School of Medicine. She is active in the Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival and serves on the ECU Foundation board of directors. She previously served as a board member and chair of the Friends of the School of Music. She earned her medical degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and completed residency at the University of North Carolina Hospitals.
Chancellor Philip Rogers welcomed the new and returning board members as administrators, faculty and staff prepare for the beginning of fall classes on Aug. 21.
“As we often say, the start of a new academic year is a time of hope and renewal, and I am excited to greet our new students, to welcome back our returning students and to experience once again that energy and enthusiasm of a vibrant campus community,” he said.
ECU’s strategic plan, “Future focused. Innovation driven.,” which was endorsed by trustees this spring, will guide the university’s work through 2028, Rogers said.
“This year we’ll articulate and execute around a student success agenda that prioritizes providing the structures and resources to support all our learners,” to include experiential learning, innovative credentialing opportunities, and flexibility with access to online programs, he said.
Compared to pre-pandemic levels, there are a million fewer undergraduates enrolled in post-secondary education across the U.S. That statistic, combined with surveys that show a drop in confidence in higher education, creates challenges for universities that can’t be ignored, Rogers said.
“My point is simple: ‘Future focused. Innovation driven.’ (It) must be more than words. It must be a call to action — for all of us,” he said. “Our shared purpose is a calling, and I am optimistic about what we can achieve together.”
In his report from the student body, Limon said that despite the temporary lull of summer, the SGA has been hard at work on campus. This includes providing an unprecedented $12,000 contribution for items for ECU students affected by the Treybrooke Apartments complex fire in May.
During the meeting, trustees approved policies for the conferral of honorary academic titles and employee performance bonuses. The board also approved the severance of Physicians Quadrangle C and the Medical Pavilion buildings, which saw the last employees moved out in February. The buildings are no longer inhabitable and, with approval of the UNC Board of Governors, are expected to be razed.
The next ECU Board of Trustees meeting is scheduled for Sept. 28-29.