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Originally published: 2013-04-25 10:54:27
Last modified: 2013-04-25 10:54:26

Our View: The experience of a lifetime

Mountain stone provides a solid foundation for building, but even with such raw material few people could have envisioned what Appalachian State University Chancellor Ken Peacock would construct during his 30-year career in Boone.

Peacock's resignation April 18 caught many of us by surprise -- but that is often the way with great leaders. When an individual man or woman becomes synonymous with the institution he or she leads, it is difficult to envision that entity without them. 

So it will be with ASU. A new leader will emerge, but it will be a long time before our first thought is some other captain at the helm of our university.

There are many qualities that go into growing such recognition. But it is perhaps Peacock's origin with ASU that was most important. The best leaders have direct experience of each division they oversee, and there is no more fitting career path for a chancellor than to begin by interacting at the level of the student -- as only a teacher can.

The chancellor did not walk into a top-level position with the university. He began with the faculty, paying his dues, and moving through progressive leadership, as dean, before accepting the role of the university's sixth chancellor. 

Peacock taught us much during his three decades at ASU, and especially through his last nine years as chancellor. The commitment to not only the university, but our community, by Peacock and his wife, Rosanne -- for no chancellor works in isolation -- cannot be overstated.

But let it also be said that the teacher never stopped learning. Even at this, the end of his tenure, Peacock's office has been presented difficult challenges, decisions and opportunities. As he departs, the experience with which he assumed and learned from those events will be a loss to the UNC system.

Chancellor Peacock took a fine school and built it into a great institution -- a powerhouse of academics and athletics that attracts the some of the best minds and athletes worldwide.

Boone would not be the town it is today without Appalachian State University. The man who deserves much credit for this fact will be difficult to replace.