WBTV 1-on-1: ASU Chancellor reflects on his legacy - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

WBTV 1-on-1: ASU Chancellor reflects on his legacy

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BOONE, NC (WBTV) -

It was a surprise announcement from the head man at Appalachian State University that surprised and saddened many just a few weeks ago.

Popular Chancellor Kenneth Peacock announced he was resigning his post after 9 years as Chancellor, and 30 years on the ASU staff.

In some ways, he's the rock star chancellor.  When Dr. Peacock walks on campus, he is stopped at every turn by students who usually just want to shake his hand, or talk for a minute.

"To see him everywhere, he's definitely a face that you recognize," said ASU senior Celeste Caton from Boone."

But Peacock's time at the top of the mountain will come to a close in the next few months.

"I think it's right for the institution I think it's right for us," Peacock told WBTV in a one on one interview Friday from the Appalachian House in Boone.  "You just sort of get a little itch saying it's time for something different, time to take what I have learned at Appalachian, the relationships that I have built and move on and try it somewhere else."

Many on the ASU campus in Boone agree that the impact of Kenneth Peacock is bound to endure for years to come. When asked what may be his biggest accomplishment, Peacock touts the rising reputation of ASU.

"I think Appalachian has earned the right and the recognition and reputation throughout the world as being a quality academic institution and that's the one thing I'm the most proud of."

There have been what he calls "brick and mortar" changes; the new education building, the student union expansion, and the renovation of the football stadium.

That brings to mind one of Peacock's enduring legacies.  On Saturdays in the fall during the home football games, you didn't just find him up in the Chancellor's box, most often you could find him in that rowdy student section, hoisting the Mountaineers three national championship trophies.

"I like to have fun," Peacock added.  "I love to cut up with the students I love for them to think of me as a friend, not just a chancellor who sits in an office and sign forms."

That administrative part of the job provided some of the most challenging days for Peacock. During the recession, he, like the heads of every other UNC system school, had to deal with drastic budget cuts that meant staff and program cutbacks.

"All of a sudden it became a thing of pulling money back and that's really not a fun process at all, it's totally different," Peacock said.  "We're still dealing with that now."

And it may be that he is most comfortable just talking to students.  On Friday the ones he encountered were excited to start summer, but sad to know that this familiar face won't be here much longer.

"I like it when they treat me that way because they see me as a human being that cares for them," Peacock added.

"He has had an impact on the students," said Caton.   "Students know him and I think that's unique and it's really awesome and it's going to be missed."

Chancellor Peacock says for the first two months after he leaves ASU he will "disappear" and read a few books, then look for another career opportunity.  He doesn't know exactly when he will retire; he has agreed to stay on until a replacement is found.

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