Guide to the Office of the Chancellor. John E. Thomas Records, 1953-1996

Summary Information

Title: Office of the Chancellor. John E. Thomas Records, 1953-1996
Collection: UA.5003
Extent: 80.1 linear feet (14 boxes, 73 records cartons, 2 VHS tapes)

John Edwin Thomas served as Chancellor of ASU from his appointment in 1979 to his retirement in 1993. The records contain information on the general administration of Appalachian State University, state governance, accreditation, academic programs, student life, and cultural events. His administration is known for capital improvements to the campus, increased faculty, and development of technological and communication infrastructure.

Creator: Thomas, John Edwin, 1931-

Biographical/Historical Note

Dr. John Edwin Thomas, the fourth chancellor of Appalachian State University, was born April 23, 1931 in Fort Worth, Texas. He earned a B.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Kansas in 1953. He earned his law degree in 1961 from the University of Missouri at Kansas City and received an M.S. in research and development management in 1965 and a D.B.A. in business administration in 1970 from Florida State University. Thomas served two years in the Marine Corps and one year in the U.S. Navy.

Thomas was a manager at NASA for seven years where, as chief of the requirements and resources office, he was responsible for 500 civil service and 5000 contractor personnel. Thomas resigned from NASA to head the business department at East Texas State University in 1970. From 1972 to 1974 he served as dean of ETSU's College of Science and Technology.

Thomas came to ASU in 1974 as vice chancellor for academic affairs and oversaw the development of the Center for Instructional Development, the establishment of satellite campuses in New York and Washington, D.C., undergraduate accreditation for the Walker College of Business and an administrative internship program involving faculty in decision making and information gathering.

Thomas was recommended for the chancellor's position by the board of trustees and was appointed by the UNC board of Governors in 1979. During his tenure Thomas extended capital improvements by over $20,000,000 and increased the number of faculty to improve the student-teacher ratio. Thomas retired in 1993.

Scope and Contents

In 1979 the UNC Board of Governors appointed John Edwin Thomas to the position of Chancellor of ASU, which he held until his retirement in 1993. The records, which cover the years of 1953 to 1996, contain items regarding the general administration of the University including files on departments and faculty; athletics and student organizations; University committees, councils, and task forces; the Chancellor's interaction with state and national associations and governing boards; and the administrative cabinet. They consist of administrative records and correspondence; Speeches; photographs, slides, and video recordings of campus events, and artifacts.

Additional materials include two video recordings of Chancellor Thomas' installation on September 14, 1979 and slides and color negatives of ASU campus activies, people, and commencement ceremonies.

An addition of personal papers include newspaper clippings, correspondence, photographs, NASA materials and ephemera, and publications relating to his employment at Appalachian State University, University of North Carolina, East Texas State and NASA.


This collection has not yet been fully processed.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for use in the Dougherty Reading Room. Individual accessions may have access restrictions due to the presence of confidential information. Restrictions are noted in the Accessions List, where applicable.

Acquisitions Information

These records were transferred to the University Archives in multiple accessions.

Processing Information

This record group has been minimally arranged and described in summary but has not yet been merged into a single collection. The record group currently consists of numerous individual accessions listed below.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], UA.5003: Office of the Chancellor. John E. Thomas Records, University Archives, Appalachian State University, Boone, N.C., USA.

Container List