Dan Gerlach has been named interim chancellor of East Carolina University.
Gerlach was chosen by Interim UNC System President Dr. Bill Roper. On May 6, Gerlach will replace ECU Chancellor Cecil Staton, who announced his resignation in March after months of discussions with leaders of the UNC System.
“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 the Pirate Nation.”
Gerlach has been president of the Golden LEAF Foundation since 2008. The foundation was established in 1999 to distribute half of North Carolina’s share of the Master Settlement Agreement with tobacco companies. Golden LEAF funding provides grants to projects in “tobacco-dependent and economically affected communities.”
The fund has generated controversy over time, as some lawmakers and fiscal conservatives have argued the tobacco settlement money either should go to the General Fund or be rebated to taxpayers.
Before Gerlach was appointed to head Golden LEAF he was a policy analyst for the left-leaning Budget and Tax Center and worked as a senior adviser to Democratic Gov. Mike Easley, who pleaded guilty in 2010 to a felony for campaign finance violations.
Gerlach has served on more than a dozen commissions and boards, and is currently a member of the MyFutureNC Commission, and of the board of NC Early Childhood Education.
Gerlach is also a member of Roper’s transition team, assisting with Roper’s move into office after the departure of former UNC President Margaret Spellings.
“Dan Gerlach has been a tremendous advocate for higher education and eastern North Carolina for more than a decade,” Roper said. “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.”