Growing strong leaders and team champions in work, life and technology

Steve Ballard, PhD

Under Secretary of Defense, Chief Financial Officer Robert Hale, left, and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs Dennis McCarthy, right, presented the 2010 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award to Dr. Steve Ballard, Chancellor, East Carolina University, center. The Freedom Award, presented Sept. 23 in Washington D.C., is the highest recognition given by the U.S. government to employers for their outstanding support of employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve. Earlier in the day Dr. Ballard met with Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

Chancellor Steve Ballard, since his arrival in Greenville in  May 2004, has focused on measures designed to enhance East Carolina University’s role as the University For North Carolina. On an array of topics, from student success to research productivity to athletics, he has emphasized excellence and leadership.

While leading the fastest-growing university in North Carolina, Ballard has committed to providing every student with excellent training in the classroom, practical experiences in the community and region, and the opportunity to develop leadership skills. He has hired nationally known leaders in athletics, research, finance, and diversity. He has overseen a record-breaking building boom on campus and the addition of over 500 new faculty positions.  New campus facilities under his administration include the East Carolina Heart Institute, the Family Medicine Center, the new School of Dentistry, and over $50 million in new athletic facilities.

His other strategic directions include providing classroom leaders for the 21st century for public schools in North Carolina and the rest of the nation; artistic and cultural leadership; economic development; and medical innovation.

Before joining East Carolina as the university’s tenth chief executive, Ballard served as provost at the University of Missouri at Kansas City. Previous academic appointments had taken him from Oklahoma to the East Coast.

Ballard spent his childhood in Galesburg, Illinois, then attended the University of Arizona, where he graduated with distinction in 1970 with a bachelor’s degree in history. As shortstop and captain of the University of Arizona baseball team, he earned three varsity letters and played in the College World Series during his senior year.

After earning his doctorate in political science from Ohio State University in 1976, he spent the next two years as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oklahoma.  He spent thirteen years on the faculty at Oklahoma and, in 1987, he was named director of the prestigious research center, the Science and Public Policy Program.   During the 1980’s, he served on the City Council and in 1986 was elected Mayor Pro-Tempore of Norman, Oklahoma.

In 1989, he moved to the University of Maine as founding director of the Margaret Chase Smith Center for Public Policy, a post he held until 1998. While at the University of Maine, he also served as director of the University of Maine System/State Government Partnership Program from 1990 to 1992 and as chair of the Department of Public Administration from 1991 to 1994.

He was recruited to Ohio in 1998 as vice provost for research and dean of the Graduate School at Bowling Green State University. Three years later, he was named provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Missouri at Kansas City.

His teaching and research have centered on leadership in the public sector, research and development and the innovation process, public policy, and the utilization of scientific and technical knowledge. He has authored five books and more than one hundred professional articles and manuscripts on such topics as the innovation process, energy and natural resources, and managing growth and change.

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  1. Pingback: Leadership superstars speaking to Project Management class « East Carolina University Engineering

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