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Interview: Chancellor Ken Peacock of ASU Speaks on His Career and About His Decision to Step Down

By Madison V. Fisler

April 23, 2013. Dr. Ken Peacock has spent the better part of a decade known as the high-energy, caring and inspiring chancellor of Appalachian State, and since 2004 he has been beloved as the figurehead of the University. That is why it came as a shock to most of the university body when Peacock announced on Thursday of last week that he would be stepping down as Chancellor.

Peacock began his lengthy career at Appalachian State University in 1983, when he joined the faculty in the accounting department. By 1992, Peacock had worked his way up to become the Dean of the Walker College of Business where he served until 2003. In 2004, he took the position of Chancellor, becoming the sixth Chancellor in ASU history.

“For me personally it was the most rewarding thing that I’ve ever done,” Peacock said.

“I never thought I would have the opportunity and it shows that higher education opens doors that I had never even dreamed about. It was an incredible opportunity.”

Under his leadership, the university experienced massive growth. Under his supervision, the university underwent epeacockxtensive enhancements to the school athletics, new contracts to expand exchange programs and international programs and the establishment of the College of Health Sciences, just to name a few.

“Professionally and personally it’s been rewarding. I’ve been able to see the college of education building, the formation of College of Health Sciences, a personal dream of mine, the creation of the Honors College and additional housing, and the building of Mountaineer Hall,” Peacock said.

“I’ve seen lots of things happen on campus but the growth of the university is not the best part. It’s the number of lives that have been transformed. This is what makes it all worthwhile”.

Reflecting on his decision to step down as Chancellor of ASU, Peacock asserts that there was no outside pressure, and that the decision was entirely his.

“All good things must come to an end, my tenure here has been tremendous opportunity,” Peacock said.

The reasoning behind his departure is best explained as personal.

“In my personal life, my two sons that grew up here are now parents and now I am a grandfather,” Peacock said.

“It seems like it’s the right time. I am in no rush, when they tell me they have found someone and are ready, I’m ready.”

However, even though he is stepping down from his position as the figurehead of the university, the former chancellor is determined to continue to serve the institution that he has been a part of for so many years.

“I am not going to be just a lame duck here,” Peacock said. “There is still work to be done. I will be working diligently for the next few months and I don’t want to hit a ceiling, I want to surpass it.”

On his decision to step down, Peacock hopes that he will leave a colorful legacy behind with the faculty, staff students and the rest of the Appalachian family. With his extensive work with expanding the international programs within the university, he hopes that it will continue to uphold his belief in internationalization.

“I believe in internationalization and providing young people with the opportunity to go abroad to learn and study,” Peacock said.

“I would like to leave as my legacy that I was instrumental as a player in taking Appalachian into the world and instrumental in bringing the world to Appalachian.”

As Chancellor Peacock prepares to leave the profession that he held for nearly a decade and the university that he has been a part of since first joining the faculty in 1983, he reflects on his time here and what it has meant to him.

“I love and appreciate everyone here. I have enjoyed my interaction with the faculty and with the students. It has been an incredible ride, but all things have to come to an end.”