View from Spilman

Back home again in Pirate Nation

It is so fitting that I started this new adventure at East Carolina in March – when the weather’s warming, the trees are leafing out – you know, a time of new growth, new challenges and great new opportunities.

It’s been an ideal time to be out on campus and in the community, meeting people and hearing what they believe ECU can be and what they can do to achieve that.

We’ve withstood much in the past year, but ECU has persevered. One result of the pandemic is that ECU has learned how to be a smarter, more agile and adaptive institution. We’ve managed resources and learned much about fiscal sustainability. The Life Sciences Building and Intersect East have stayed on track and promise great returns. And let’s take a moment to thank Interim Chancellor Ron Mitchelson for his leadership that made those accomplishments possible.

As we move into the post-COVID era, we have to stay ahead of the curve. Other universities are not going to wait for us. We need to leverage the skills, talents and great minds at the university to get us there.

I’m ready to get to work, because there’s nowhere else in the vast universe of American higher education where I would rather make an impact than East Carolina University.

Hope you feel the same way!

Philip Rogers, Ed.D.

ECU’s new first family

Chancellor speaks at HomecomingOn Chancellor Philip Rogers’ first day on the job, he bumped into a group of prospective students touring campus, so he stopped to welcome them and encourage them to enroll.
Rogers grew up in Greenville. He served as a policy analyst and then chief of staff at ECU from 2007-2013. His parents live in Greenville, and he is the great-grandson of an East Carolina Teachers Training School student. His wife, Rebekah, who has a doctorate in leadership studies, is a two-time alumna from a family filled with Pirates. (Read more about her in A Great Team.)

He’s a graduate of Wake Forest University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Pennsylvania. For the past eight years, Rogers has been senior vice president of learning and engagement for the American Council on Education in Washington, D.C.

Meeting, speaking and listening

“I have no interest in sitting in Spilman all day and having people come to me,” he said. “I much prefer to be out and about visiting the colleges and schools, being in the classroom, being in a Zoom room, being in the student center or on the mall.”

Rogers wants to build on ECU’s mission of student success, regional transformation and public service. Strengthening ECU’s finances is also vital, as is advancing ECU’s strategy for providing rural health care in the region.

Finally, ECU must ensure its athletics programs are moving in the right direction academically, financially and competitively, Rogers said.

Since he started March 15, he’s emphasized he doesn’t walk in with all the answers, that he’s here to collaborate on solutions. He’s been holding virtual town hall gatherings with alumni and others as part of a listening and learning tour called Pirate Perspectives. “This will be an incremental process of building the right knowledge base as we develop a collective vision together,” he said.

All purple and gold

Rogers, his wife and their sons, Grayson, 5, and Dean, 3, moved back to Greenville in February. The boys sing the ECU fight song and wear purple most days, like their dad.

“I was that child in the end zone of Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium wrestling for extra point footballs before the Boneyard existed,” Rogers said. “It was just a part of who we were growing up in Greenville. It’s just what you do. You’re fully invested.”

– Crystal Baity

Philip and Rebekah Rogers didn’t need any time to settle in before they got to work building a better ECU. Follow them at @ECUChancellor on Twitter and  Instagram and @RebekahPRogers on Twitter

Chancellor Rogers and son
Rebekah and the puppy
Chancellor Philip Rogers