FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

March 18, 2019

East Carolina University Chancellor Cecil Staton announces resignation

Chapel Hill, NC - East Carolina University Chancellor Cecil P. Staton has announced today that he will step down from his position effective May 3, 2019. Chancellor Staton will remain on as an advisor to UNC System Interim President Bill Roper and to ECU’s interim chancellor through June 30, 2019, to assist during the transition period. 

“Catherine and I are very grateful for our time at ECU,” said Chancellor Staton. “We have enjoyed every moment working with our inspiring students and world-class faculty and staff. As we prepare for this transition in leadership, we remain committed to the idea we arrived with—ECU’s future is full of promise. There are no limits to what ECU can attain in service to the East, North Carolina, our nation, and our world and we look forward to following the progress of this great university in the years to come.”

Staton came to ECU in 2016 following a 27-year career in Georgia where he served as a faculty member and administrator at three different colleges and universities, as a state senator responsible for Georgia’s appropriations to higher education, as a university system senior administrator, and as an interim university president. He was former UNC President Margaret Spelling’s first chancellor hire. After a national search, he was elected chancellor on April 26, 2016.

Staton is a graduate of Furman University, holds the M.Div. with Languages and Master of Theology degrees from Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, the Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Oxford in England, and the honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from Mercer University in Georgia.

While at ECU, Staton led a comprehensive rebranding campaign to raise ECU’s national stature, launched the Rural Prosperity Initiative in partnership with SAS to improve health care, education, and economic disparities across rural North Carolina, and began a $500 million capital campaign – the largest in university history – that has raised more than $213 million during the first two and a half years. 

Through a new Strategic Plan extension, Capture Your Horizon, Staton led planning and investments that have improved student outcomes, increased financial aid, and grown ECU’s, internationalization efforts, research activity and overall impact on Eastern North Carolina’s economy.

Staton provided leadership for numerous capital projects including $70 million in residence hall renovations, a $60 million south side stadium renovation, opening a new $37 million student center on the health sciences campus in 2017, opening a new $122 million student union on the main campus in January 2019, and preparing for the construction of a new $8 million innovation hub for the Miller School of Entrepreneurship and a $95 million life sciences building, due to be completed in 2021.

During his tenure, retooling the athletics program was a key priority. 

“Pirates have great passion,” Staton said. “I am grateful that we have been able to press the reset button for Pirate athletics and prepare a foundation for future success. I am enormously grateful that Dave Hart accepted my invitation to serve as Special Advisor to the Chancellor for Athletics. Together we have completed successful searches for a new Athletic Director, Head Men’s Basketball Coach, and Head Football Coach, and we’ve committed significant university resources to support our proud athletic traditions. I am confident that ECU athletics are in a good place and that our best days are ahead.”

Commenting on Staton’s tenure and leadership, ECU Board of Trustees Chairman Kieran Shanahan said, “Cecil Staton has served ECU with distinction, dedication and an uncompromising commitment to excellence. His and Catherine’s departure is a tremendous loss for our great university.”

“ECU’s importance to this state and to Eastern North Carolina is immense and I’m grateful that Chancellor Staton answered the call to serve the Pirate community over the past three years,” said UNC System Interim President Bill Roper. “I’m confident he is leaving the university in good hands and with a bright future ahead as it continues to build on its success.”

“I am grateful to have been at ECU and to have worked with wonderful students, an enormously dedicated faculty and staff, a terrific leadership team, and lots of Pirate alumni, friends and governance members who understand the importance of ECU to North Carolina,” said Staton. “As I like to say, if North Carolina didn’t have ECU, it would have to go out and build it tomorrow. Catherine and I will always be proud Pirates!”

East Carolina University

Monday, March 18, 2019

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