Staff: Lisa Hagans

While every East Carolina University graduate student may work with different faculty members in their course of study, chances are that each of them has worked with Lisa Hagans.

ECU alumna Lisa Hagans serves her alma mater as the graduate school administrative support specialist.

Hagans, a 2002 ECU graduate with a Bachelor of Science in family and community services with a concentration in sociology and social work, serves as an administrative support specialist for ECU’s Graduate School. In her role, she keeps prospective students informed about the graduation application process and helps create connections between applicants and other campus constituents. Additionally, she keeps track of application payments and documents the receipt of hard-copy applicant materials. As a self-described “people person,” she welcomes her role as the gatekeeper of the graduate school admission process.

“I am the first person that they would encounter,” Hagans said. “I work for them and work to support them in whatever capacity they would need. They call me asking 100 questions and I answer as many of them as I can. The ones that I can’t, I try and direct them to someone who can. I help make sure that they have all the required materials submitted on time and if not, I reach out to remind them of upcoming deadlines.”

While most of the students Hagans works with are enrolled in online programs and will never meet her face to face, their drive, determination and interest in ECU make an impact on her.

“I work for them,” said Hagans of her relationship with ECU’s grad students. “Being able to support them in all capacities is important. They’re go-getters. They usually ask, ‘Do I have this in? Do I have that in?’ They want to make sure all their stuff arrives on time. If they don’t get in, they ask, ‘What can I do to improve my application so I’ll get in next time?’ They’re excited about graduate school and doing whatever they can to get accepted.”

Hagans is quick to point out that it takes a group effort for her to be successful in her role. The relationship and comfort level that she has developed with her coworkers has made it possible for her to be able to serve students effectively.

“I work with a great team,” said Hagans. “We’re like a big family. They have always embraced me; we all enjoy working together and have each other’s backs. There’s never a dull moment and everyone can be exactly who they are. It’s good to work in an environment where you feel safe. Each person makes sure that the others are good and if not, pick up where they can help out.”

While Hagans has been in her current role for over two years, her path back to East Carolina wasn’t a quick one. After graduation, she worked as a teacher in the Pitt County school system but wanted to work for her alma mater. Hagans applied for multiple positions at ECU, but it took a while for the right opportunity to present itself.

“It took a lot of persistence,” explained Hagans. “I always wanted to work here. I wanted to go back and give back where I started, but it took forever. I would have a few rounds of interviews but never got the position. With my current role, I applied and after a few rounds of interviews, I was hired. I wanted to give back to a place that gave a lot to me, and I love being here.”

A Greenville native, Hagans is firmly rooted in the community and has fond memories of growing up here.

“When I grew up everyone knew everyone,” she said. “If I got in trouble down the street, by the time I got home I got in trouble again. The saying, ‘It takes a village to raise a child,’ was completely true here. I was raised by my village and I’m thankful for everyone in my village who directed me, who corrected me, the ones who disciplined me, and those who were a part of my life growing up. I thought everyone was my cousin, even though they weren’t because everyone was so close and knew each other.”

As a parent, Hagans has also experienced one of the more unique aspects of living in Greenville: the city’s strong Little League program.

“My son started playing when he was 9 years old,” said Hagans. “When he first started playing, he had a rough start. By the end of the season, it’s like the lightbulb went off and he made the all-star team the next season. It was a complete turnaround. In 2008, he was on the all-star team and went to the World Series. I had a son and grandson that played, and they were on the same team. My sorority sisters had children playing, and when I taught in Pitt County Schools, I had students who played who would ask me to come watch them. I just have a love for it and can’t get it out of my system. I love watching the kids and cheering them on even if I don’t know their names.”

Through her family, Hagans also developed a strong affinity for Pirate athletics, specifically the ECU football team. Football games have drawn her family together spanning several generations.

“Myself, my sister, and my son graduated from ECU,” explained Hagans. “My dad didn’t go here but he was probably the biggest cheerleader out of anyone. He loved David Garrard (ECU quarterback from 1997-2001) and I was a student when he was here. I can remember him yelling, ‘Run, nine!’ at games. He was in the military and didn’t go to college, but he lived here and adopted his hometown team.”

While she enjoys cheering on the Pirates, Hagans said her favorite activity is spending time with her family, which includes her husband of nearly 14 years, Jace, four children, three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. She is also active in her church, Philippi Church of Christ.

“My family is my world,” stated Hagans. “I look forward to every holiday and birthday because I know we’re all going to be together. My children are my motivation. They push me to be better; they encourage me to be better. I just try to be the best version of myself so I can be the best mother and wife that I need to be for them.”


Name: Lisa Hagans

Title: Administrative support specialist

Hometown: Greenville

Colleges attended and degrees: East Carolina University, Bachelor of Science in family and community services with a concentration in sociology and social work; Capella University, Master of Human Services


Years working at ECU: Two

What I do at ECU: I am the administrative support specialist for graduate admissions. I serve as the face of the graduate admission office — if anyone has a question, I am the first point of contact. I inform students about their application process. I also facilitate connections between applicants and other campus constituents.

What I love about ECU: As a Greenville native, ECU was always part of our family. My father and uncles have always been huge fans of the football team. They called the Pirates “our very own hometown team.”

What advice do you give to students? Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Always know that we are here to assist you in any way possible because we want to see everyone who starts the graduate program to complete it as well.


What do you like to do when not working? I love going to church and hanging out with my family. I love watching football and tennis. Our family team is the Dallas Cowboys!

Last thing I watched on TV: “The Voice.”

First job: Wendy’s on Memorial Drive

Guilty pleasure: Playing different games on my phone!

Favorite meal: Steak, baked potatoes and corn on the cob

One thing most people don’t know about me: I can fall asleep at the drop of a pin. I can text one minute and be asleep the next.