ECU receives first Carnegie Leadership for Public Purpose classification

East Carolina University is one of 25 U.S. colleges and universities — and the only North Carolina institution — to receive the first Carnegie Leadership for Public Purpose classification. The designation was announced Friday and awarded by the American Council on Education (ACE), the Doerr Institute for New Leaders at Rice University and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

The classification recognizes institutions that have committed to campuswide efforts to advance leadership in pursuit of the public good.

“We are proud to be in the inaugural class receiving the 2024 Carnegie Elective Classification for Leadership for Public Purpose, a designation that confirms and endorses our institutional commitment to the pursuit of collective public goods,” Chancellor Philip Rogers said. “This designation reflects the leadership at the core of our university’s purpose and the call to action of our strategic plan to be future-focused, innovative leaders.”

Receiving the designation is the result of a rigorous process of self-study through which ECU administrators demonstrated evidence of an extraordinary institutional commitment, investment in and accomplishment at addressing pressing issues of the societies they serve through assessment of student learning, curricular and co-curricular offerings, and faculty and staff rewards.

“Congratulations to these pioneering recipients of the inaugural Carnegie Leadership for Public Purpose classification,” said Carnegie Foundation President Timothy F.C. Knowles. “These institutions have demonstrated a relentless commitment to fostering leaders dedicated to the pursuit of vital public goods. Students from these institutions will undoubtedly shape a brighter future for us all, upholding fundamental American values and advancing opportunity for the nation.”

The 2024 designees represent 19 states. Of the 25 institutions classified in the inaugural cycle, 15 are public institutions, 10 are private, and two are service academies.

ECU also has earned the 2024 Carnegie Community Engagement Classification from the American Council on Education (ACE) and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. This acknowledgment highlights the work the university and its partners do together in communities across the globe. Only 40 U.S. colleges and universities received the 2024 designation.

A deep universitywide commitment to leadership was Dr. Steve Ballard’s first “big impression” of ECU during his visit in 2004 prior to becoming the university’s 10th chancellor.

“It was part of our culture and self-definition,” said Ballard, director of the Truist Leadership Center and co-chair of the Carnegie application team. “We have done so much more in leadership development since 2005, to the extent that it is found across the curriculum, in all colleges, and in our culture and mission.”

Dr. Dennis McCunney, director of intercultural affairs and Carnegie team co-chair, believes that the designation affirms ECU’s leadership contributions to the region envisioned by the university’s first president, Robert Wright.

“Our commitment to leadership education across the campus has been deep, pervasive and integrated,” McCunney said. “It’s been built into our strategic plan, our programmatic goals, our academic programs and our efforts to educate students outside the classroom and in the community.”


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