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The ECU Board of Trustees during its open session.

University of North Carolina System Interim President Bill Roper arrived on East Carolina University’s campus yesterday around 6 p.m., with the intent to speak with the Board of Trustees (BOT) to welcome its new members and to speak about the university’s future leadership.

ECU’s BOT convened yesterday morning at 8:30 a.m. in the Main Campus Student Center (MCSC) Room 253 and were considered in session for the duration of the day. During the meeting, new members were welcomed to the board and orientation sessions were held to discuss items such as budget, athletics, enrollment, amongst other topics. No committees of the board met.

Yesterday morning’s meeting was the first for Interim Chancellor Dan Gerlach, as his position was effective on June 3.

The board reconvened this morning at 8:30 a.m. for a continuation of the two-day series, with a full BOT meeting scheduled for 9 a.m. and a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Life Sciences and Biotechnology building at 1 p.m, according to an ECU News Services press release.

Yesterday evening, when Roper arrived at ECU’s main campus, the board reconvened in MCSC Room 253 in open session. Roper has been in the position for the past six months, and in his time spent as interim president, he has visited ECU four times.

“ECU is an extremely important part of the UNC System,” Roper said. “A proud university, with a great present and an even greater future. And, I wanted to come to say that to you, the new trustees, to get to know you a little bit and to talk about going forward, the future.”

Roper went on to speak about the impacts ECU makes on eastern North Carolina, and how important it is to people in the region. Roper said, during the meeting, the future of ECU is “extremely important” and he will be able to aid the university in seeking a bright future.

During the meeting, Roper thanked the ECU BOT members for their services and dedication to the university. He said he is grateful for the amount of time and effort the trustees have put toward their positions.

“We can do great things when we work together,” Roper said. “Sometimes we don’t all work together, and I feel to you, and my pledge for myself is we’re going to be committing everything we can to work together,” Roper said.

Roper said one of the next tasks the board will work toward is the search for the university’s next chancellor. He said the UNC System Board of Governors will work with the trustees during the process.

A document was passed out to each of the BOT members explaining the policy developed by the Board of Governors on how the process of hiring a new Chancellor is expected to work. Four pages of the 20-page-packet titled “Hiring a Chancellor” was reviewed during the session.

“There will be a chancellor search committee,” Roper said. “It should include trustees, faculty, staff and any other representatives. It should be no more than twenty people, but even that is a big group.”

Roper said, with the process, he believes in efficiency. He said there is an “intense” need for confidentiality during the search process. Each member of the BOT and the search committee is expected to sign a professional nondisclosure agreement pertaining to the search for ECU’s next chancellor.

Roper did not give a definitive start time as to when the search for the next ECU chancellor will begin. During the meeting, Chairman of the Board of Governors, Harry Smith, encouraged the ECU BOT to find the right fit for the university.

“Every school is different,” Smith said. “I would encourage, I think, as the president would tell you, that you guys (BOT) get together as a team, as an embodied team and ‘whiteboard it,’ and come up with something that truly works for East Carolina because all of our schools are different.”

Smith said all the universities in the UNC System have different personalities and missions. He said he believes ECU has a much different persona than other universities in the system.

“I would tell you, I think ECU has a much different persona than any of the other schools. You know, I get to visit them all talk to them all, (and) I think if you guys and the DNA of the Pirates get together you’ll come up with something that works for ECU,” Smith said.

The board meeting moved into closed session following the review of the “Hiring a Chancellor” packet.

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