Governor Beverly Perdue and other top state officials appeared at the event at the State Capitol.
Gilchrist, a 24-year patrol veteran, replaced former commander Col. Randy Glover, who stepped down in late August after only a year on the job.
The 2,300-employee patrol has been beset by continued reports of troopers resigning or being fired for problems ranging from drunken driving arrests to sending inappropriate text messages.
The 51-year-old Gilchrist is a Plymouth native who joined the patrol in 1986. He became deputy commander earlier this year.