ASU installs new chancellor, hopes to unify campus in wake of recent deaths

ASU installs new chancellor, hopes to unify campus in wake of recent deaths

BOONE, NC (WBTV) - The seventh chancellor for Appalachian State University, Dr. Sheri N. Everts, was installed during a formal ceremony on Friday morning.

The University of North Carolina System President Thomas W. Ross presided over the installation of Everts saying, "There is not a doubt in my mind that Sheri Everts is the right person to lead Appalachian State University today and in the years ahead."

Ross added, "She stands firmly for academic excellence and student success. She is absolutely passionate about improving lives and communities through higher education. And after just nine months in the role, she has already demonstrated the vision, commitment, energy and dedication that will be required to be an outstanding leader for this institution."

Dr. Everts joined Appalachian State University as its seventh leader in July 2014.

Prior to Boone, she worked as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Illinois State University since 2008.

Everts is a Nebraska native who attended elementary school in a one-room schoolhouse and graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1980. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in English instruction and secondary education.

After teaching middle school and high school English in Kansas and Nebraska, she returned to UNL, where she earned a master's degree in literacy education and English (1991), and a doctorate in administration, curriculum and instruction (1994).

According to her biography on the Appalachian State web site, Everts began her higher education career in 1994 as an assistant professor in the Department of Teacher Education at the University of Nebraska Omaha.

Rising through the academic and administrative ranks at UNO, she was named assistant vice chancellor for academic and student affairs in 2000, promoted to associate vice president in 2003, and named interim senior vice chancellor for academic and student affairs in 2006.

Everts served in that interim capacity until June 30, 2008, when she left Nebraska to become provost and vice president for academic affairs at Illinois State University.

"A university campus is an amazing place of confluence where great leaders and ideas emerge for the betterment of society," Everts said during her installation remarks.

"Our remarkable students, faculty and staff combined with an engaged community make this a very special place to live and to work. The passion for teaching, learning, innovation, creativity and service is palpable on this campus, and each day I am renewed by our community's dedication to making a difference in the world," she said. "Thank you for welcoming me as a partner in this. I am honored and humbly accept the task entrusted to me by our students, faculty, staff, the University of North Carolina system and the great state of North Carolina."

Gov. Patrick L. McCrory, who also attended the event, took the opportunity to promote his plan to seek a statewide $2.8 billion bond referendum that, if approved by the state's voters, would be used for transportation, infrastructure and education.

"Over $500 million of those bonds will be directed to our great universities throughout North Carolina and $70 million of those bonds to be approved by the voters would be directed toward a new health facility right here at Appalachian State University," he said.

"Now let's make it happen," he said of the referendum that would be held in November.

The N.C. General Assembly has already authorized up to $8 million in state funds for the university to plan the new facility.

Appalachian has been seeking state funds to construct a building to house the Donald C. Beaver College of Health Sciences, which would be located on State Farm Road in Boone adjacent to Watauga Medical Center.

Everts is taking over at ASU at a time when there are some immediate challenges that have been troubling for the university.

Nine ASU students have died during this academic school year.

One of the deaths was from a narcotic overdose, three were the result of auto accidents, three were ruled suicide, and the cause of death is pending in one other case.

Appalachian State said a ninth student who died off campus during this year's spring semester has not been identified at the request of the student's family.

Police said foul play is not suspected in any of the cases.

Several initiatives have been launched by the administration and by students on campus to remember those lost, to encourage unity on the campus, and to provide counseling for students who may be in need.

Three weeks ago, more than one hundred students, staff, and administration gathered to march around campus and remember each of the nine who passed away.

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