Western Carolina University chancellor David Belcher will go on medical leave at the end of the year. Belcher is battling brain cancer, and in a statement released by the school Monday morning, he said he does not expect to resume his duties at the end of his leave.
Belcher was first diagnosed in April of 2016, and underwent surgery a month later at Duke University Hospital. He began an 11-month regiment of radiation and chemotherapy treatments soon after. In August of this year, he announced the cancer had recurred. In the statement released by the school, Belcher said “Despite the best efforts of my medical team, the effects of my glioblastoma brain tumor have continued to worsen in recent months, and the aphasic impact of the disease on my speech and communicative skills has become more pronounced. My medical team has concluded that the latest treatment regimen is not working as hoped. Although I fully intend to explore additional options in my fight against this disease, I do not expect to resume my duties upon completion of leave.”
Belcher has been the chancellor since July 1st, 2011. The appointment of an interim chancellor will be made by University of North Carolina System President Margaret Spellings, who called Belcher a "fearless leader and steadfast in his commitment to WCU and the community it serves." Belcher will continue to hold the title of chancellor during his leave, and will live in the chancellor's residence on campus with his wife Susan and remain active with the university community on "limited basis" according to the school.