Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Appalachian State chancellor cites health reasons for leaving post

Sheri Everts, the chancellor of Appalachian State University for the last 10 years, announced she will step down Friday due to “significant health challenges.” 

“Over the last few months, I have been experiencing significant health challenges, and I must now focus on my personal health and well-being,” Everts told students, faculty and staff in making the announcement Monday.

“The last decade has been a time of growth and momentum for Appalachian State,” said University of North Carolina System President Peter Hans in a statement. “Chancellor Everts welcomed a record number of students, celebrated numerous academic and athletic accomplishments, and led a physical transformation of the beautiful Boone campus. A new investment in Hickory builds on App State’s commitment to public service, and generations of North Carolinians will find great opportunity close to home because of Chancellor Everts’ vision. I’m very grateful for her devoted service.”

Hans said he would announce an interim chancellor for the university by April 19.

Everts became App State’s eighth leader in 2014. During her term, enrollment grew to more than 21,000, representing almost 16% growth. She also helped secure more than $550 million for capital projects for the university, representing one of the largest infrastructure investments in the entire UNC System. Those investments include residence halls, academic facilities and athletics facilities.

In fall 2023, the university had its most diverse student body to date, with 19% of the total population being racially and/or ethnically underrepresented students. From 2014-2024, App State increased its underrepresented students by 77% and first-year underrepresented students by 117%. Approximately one-third of the university’s undergraduate students are from rural areas and one-third are first-generation college students.

App State also experienced record fundraising under Everts’ leadership. In the last fiscal year, the university raised more than $40 million, following a year that saw the largest cash fundraising in university history, at $31 million. Since 2014, App State’s endowment has grown to $150 million, more than doubling in value. For the current fiscal year, the university is on track to have most successful fundraising year in institutional history.

In 2022, Everts broke ground on the first phase of the university’s Innovation District, which aims to broaden economic development opportunities for rural areas in northwestern North Carolina. The district’s first phase will include a Conservatory for Biodiversity Education and Research, 156 faculty and staff housing units — consisting of one-, two- and three-bedroom configurations in five multistory buildings to help meet App State employees’ housing needs — and a zero-carbon district energy system with renewable energy technologies that will begin to transition the Boone campus away from steam power.

Everts also oversaw the opening of the App State Hickory campus to students in August 2023. Until Nov. 19, 2021, when App State purchased the former Corning Optical Communications building located along Highway 321, Hickory was the largest metropolitan area in North Carolina that did not have a public university campus. More than 100 undergraduate majors, as well as on-site student support services and resources, are available at the Hickory campus.

A Nebraska native, Everts graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1980 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 Lincoln to earn a master’s degree in literacy education and English in 1991 and a doctorate in administration, curriculum and instruction in 1994.

Everts began her higher education career in 1994 as an assistant professor in the Department of Teacher Education at the University of Nebraska Omaha. She held leadership roles University of Nebraska-Omaha and Illinois State University before coming to App State.


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