East Carolina University chancellor stepping down

East Carolina University's Chancellor Steve Ballard

East Carolina University's chancellor announced Wednesday he is stepping down.

The university said Steve Ballard will serve in his current role until July 1, 2016.

"East Carolina is a special place that puts its students first, excels at serving North Carolina and is committed to leadership and service for our region," Ballard said. "Nancy and I have been privileged to be a part of this community for more than 11 years. It has been a perfect fit for us."

Ballard has been chancellor since 2004.

UNC President Tom Ross said Ballard's tenure has been a time of growth, excellence and leadership for East Carolina.

"Under his leadership, ECU has raised the bar with respect to academic excellence and integrity, service and community engagement, and intercollegiate athletics," said Ross. "During his tenure, ECU has grown beyond its natural eastern North Carolina footprint and has developed a truly statewide impact. By any measure, Steve Ballard will leave ECU stronger and better than he found it."

Ballard is the 10th chancellor at East Carolina and is currently the longest serving chancellor in the University of North Carolina system.

Previously, Ballard was a member of the faculty for 25 years at the University of Oklahoma, the University of Maine and Bowling Green State University. He has served in administrative roles since 1986, acting as a chief research officer, chief academic officer or chancellor for 18 years. He created the Margaret Chase Smith Center for Public Policy at the University of Maine and served as its director for nine years.

The new chancellor, upon nomination by the UNC system President, must be elected by the UNC Board of Governors.

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