Chancellor's Biography
  • Dr. Karrie Dixon

meet the chancellor


Dr. Karrie G. Dixon was named 12th Chief Executive Officer and 7th Chancellor of Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) on Dec. 14, 2018. Prior to this appointment, she served as interim chancellor since April 9, 2018.

Dr. Dixon is a transformational leader in the University of North Carolina (UNC) System, a public, multi-campus university encompassing 16 constituent higher education institutions. For more than 20 years, she has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to improving the lives of others through higher education.

That commitment continues as Chancellor of ECSU. Her focus on increasing enrollment, leveraging resources, enhancing all aspects of the ECSU campus, and strengthening stakeholder engagement has produced results.

ECSU has experienced positive growth since Dr. Dixon’s arrival. Enrollment climbed nearly 40% in just 18 months. Her administration has expanded the academic degree program offerings which include launching an Unmanned Aircraft Systems degree program, an online master’s degree in education, and an online bachelor’s degree in homeland security. Under her leadership, the university has increased its fleet from two to 12 aircraft for ECSU’s signature aviation program.

In addition to building renovations and campus beautification, Dr. Dixon has committed to enhancing all aspects of the campus including the overall culture and student experience. Under her leadership, a new university strategic plan was developed in 2019 and will be used to guide the institution’s successful efforts through 2025. With Viking Pride, Dr. Dixon is transforming ECSU to an institution focused on accountability, commitment and excellence.

Prior to her appointment at ECSU, Dr. Dixon served as a senior administrator at the UNC System Office since 2008. She was promoted to serve as Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs as well as Chief Student Affairs Officer, where she was tasked with overseeing and shaping system-wide policy to ensure overall success for the 220,000+ students enrolled across the state.

For nearly 10 years, she provided the UNC System Office with her expertise in academic policy, while leading various student success initiatives and managing processes to increase student access, enrollment, retention and graduation rates. She fostered innovative collaborations among the UNC System, the NC Community College System, the state's independent colleges and universities, and the NC Department of Public Instruction. She was instrumental in leading multiple projects and policy changes that have greatly impacted students in the UNC System and statewide.

Prior to joining the UNC System, Dixon served a total of 10 years combined at two other UNC System campuses. Most recently, she was an assistant vice provost at North Carolina State University (NCSU). In this role, she enjoyed leading discussions with graduate students interested in careers in higher education leadership and serving on dissertation committees.

In 2020, Chancellor Dixon was named to the newly formed national Women in Aviation Advisory (WIAAB) board by U.S. Dept. of Transportation Secretary, Elaine L. Chao. In 2019, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper awarded Dr. Dixon The Old North State Award, one of the highest honors granted by the State of North Carolina, which is awarded to “individuals who have shown dedication and service beyond expectation and excellence to the Great State of North Carolina.” She also was named by the HBCU Campaign Fund, as one of “The Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders of 2020.” Before arriving at ECSU, Dr. Dixon was named a 2016-17 American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow. Her host campus for the academic year was Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC.

Dixon received the 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Education and the Black Alumni Legacy Award in 2014 at NCSU. Dr. Dixon is a member of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ (AASCU) Millennium Leadership Initiative, class of 2013. She also received the Triangle Business Journal’s “40 Under Forty” leadership award in 2014. And, she was recognized as a recipient of the 2015 Alumni Distinguished Service Award from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Dr. Dixon holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications and Public Relations from NC State University, a master’s degree in Speech Communications and Rhetoric from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and a doctorate of education from NC State. She and her husband have two daughters.