“Appalachian State University is very important to the strategic and economic vitality of our area—and ASU is in the business of preparing people for future opportunities,” said Blue Ridge Electric Chief Executive Officer Doug Johnson, explaining key factors in transforming our region to shape the future for future generations. “ASU has experienced tremendous growth under Chancellor Peacock and we’re very fortunate in this region to have someone with his leadership skills to work strategically and think broadly in helping create a better future for our people,” added Johnson.
Chancellor Peacock discussed the strategic vision of ASU as well as the importance of working together to create great partnerships during the meeting which was held at the Broyhill Inn and Conference Center in Boone.
“Appalachian State University has gone far and will go farther working together,” he said. “We’re recognized throughout the world and were recently ranked third among universities in the South,” adding that he’s seeking the input of leaders to help ASU think toward the future.
“I’m asking you help us in our ‘cathedral thinking’ as we ask everyone to join us to consider the possibilities for ASU and where we can be in the future,” Peacock added. For example, “How far did the Dougherty brothers see when they first started ASU as a place to educate teachers? I often wonder what they would think if they could see ASU now,” Peacock said.
Peacock said one example of where ASU is headed is the College of Health and Allied Sciences that began in July. The college already has 1,800 students majoring in this program, he said. The program is looking into a possible partnership with Wake Forest University and other “creative solutions for challenging times,” he added.
Peacock said sustainability and research as well as renewable energy will be important areas for ASU to pursue for majors as well. “We had a 127 percent increase in students saying they wanted a degree that includes something about sustainability,” Peacock said.
Peacock also spoke about the importance of ASU being selected as one of 20 universities in the world to compete in the Solar Decathlon, a sustainable energy competition run by the U.S. Department of Energy that takes place between teams of university students over a period of two years. Each team of students from 20 universities around the world will design an entirely solar-powered house that will be built and tested in 10 competitions on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. next fall. “Being selected for this is a huge honor for Appalachian and for the entire state of North Carolina,” Peacock said.
Peacock also said included in the strategic plans for ASU is tackling challenges of campus housing for students as well as financial challenges.
“We need your help in helping ASU think big for the future,” said Peacock. “I want a strategic plan that I will never see finished—a plan that helps us envision what the university will look like in 200 years.”
Peacock concluded by thanking Johnson, Blue Ridge Electric, and all the community leaders for the friendship and support of ASU. “I appreciate the part each of you play in our communities in helping the people in our area enjoy a better quality of life.”
Blue Ridge Electric organized the Community Leaders Council (CLC) in 1988 as a way to join together local officials, government and business leaders from Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe and Alleghany Counties in an effort to strengthen northwest North Carolina. The CLC members assist Blue Ridge Electric in strategic long-range planning for the communities served by the cooperative. Blue Ridge Electric is a local, cooperative utility serving some 73,000 member-owners in Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, Alleghany, Wilkes, Avery and Alexander counties.