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Press Release


GREENVILLE, NC – University of North Carolina System Interim President Bill Roper has named Dan Gerlach to serve as interim chancellor of East Carolina University. The appointment will go into effect on May 6, 2019.

“Dan Gerlach has been a tremendous advocate for higher education and eastern North Carolina for more than a decade,” said Roper. “I know Dan will work in lock-step with the strong leadership team at East Carolina, which includes the ECU Board of Trustees, the UNC Board of Governors, faculty, staff and students, alumni and the entire East Carolina community. With his exemplary record of service and leadership, he is the ideal candidate to lead ECU going forward.”

Since October 2008, Gerlach has served as president of the Golden LEAF Foundation. Gerlach previously served as a legislative budget analyst, nonprofit policy director and senior advisor to the governor. He has served on over a dozen commissions on budget, tax, agriculture and economic development at the state and national level. He is currently on the boards of the MyFutureNC Commission and the NC Early Childhood Foundation. He was named to the UNC System Presidential transition committee for Dr. Roper earlier this year.

“It is an honor and privilege to be asked to serve in this role at East Carolina University,” Gerlach said. “ECU provides more opportunity for rural North Carolinians than any other institution, and I look forward to working with the entire ECU community to meet the needs of our students, their families, and the communities that look to this great university for inspiration and leadership.  It’s a great day to join Pirate Nation.”

Gerlach has led Golden LEAF on its primary mission to build economic opportunity across North Carolina. The Golden LEAF Foundation was established in 1999 to administer one half of the tobacco settlement agreement monies back into North Carolina’s rural and economically distressed communities. Under Gerlach’s leadership, the foundation has partnered with state and local governments and other foundations. Golden LEAF is an independent and perpetual foundation which builds economic development opportunity through grants, collaboration, innovation and stewardship.

Gerlach holds an MPA in state and local public finance from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University and bachelor’s degrees in economics and English from the University of Notre Dame. He previously served as an adjunct instructor of public administration at UNC-Chapel Hill and NC State University.

Gerlach will replace current ECU Chancellor Cecil Staton. On March 18, Dr. Cecil P. Staton announced that he would step down as chancellor effective May 5 and will remain on as an advisor to Interim President Roper and Gerlach through June 30 to assist during the transition period. Staton served as the 11th chancellor of ECU.

About East Carolina University

East Carolina University, or ECU as it’s best known, offers 84 bachelor’s, 71 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, cardiovascular research, advanced robotic surgery as well as obesity and diabetes breakthroughs. ECU also boasts the largest business school enrollment and largest number of new nurses and education professionals produced by a four-year North Carolina university, in addition to the largest studio art program in the state.

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.