Former Provost David Belcher passes away

Dr. David Belcher. Photo courtesy of Western Carolina University.

Dr. David Belcher, who served as provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock from 2003 to 2011, passed away Sunday, June 17, at the age of 60 after a two-year battle with brain cancer. 

Under Dr. Belcher’s leadership, UA Little Rock launched seven new doctoral degree programs, created an Office of Innovation and Commercialization to capitalize on faculty research and promote economic development, and implemented initiatives to improve student retention and graduation rates. He was a concert pianist and a leader in the metropolitan arts community.

“Many of you will remember David for his passion, vision, and leadership, as well as his personal warmth and generosity of spirit,” said Dr. Christy Drale, associate vice chancellor for faculty relations and administration. “He will be deeply missed by all who knew him.”

In addition to his work on campus, Dr. Belcher was well known in the central Arkansas community for his service on the boards of directors of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute and as past chair of the Little Rock Arts and Culture Commission.

Since 2011, Belcher served as chancellor of Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N. C. Previously, he worked at Missouri State University from 1988 until 2003, first as coordinator of keyboard studies in the Music Department, then as assistant dean and dean of the College of Arts and Letters.

A native of Barnwell, S. C., Dr. Belcher was predeceased by his parents, Jean Orr Belcher and Posey Belcher Jr. He was a 1975 graduate and valedictorian of Barnwell High School and earned his bachelor’s degree from Furman University in 1979, master’s degree from the University of Michigan in 1981, and doctorate from the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester in 1989, all in piano performance. He studied in Vienna, Austria, for two years, funded in part by a Rotary Foundation Graduate Fellowship.

Dr. Belcher is survived by his wife of 14 years, Susan Brummell Belcher. In lieu of flowers, the Belchers request that memorials be directed to the foundation endowment at UA Little Rock or Western Carolina University, Furman University, and Missouri State University.

Western Carolina University has created a website in honor of Dr. Belcher. A memorial service for Dr. Belcher will be held beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday, June 23, in Western Carolina University’s Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center. The service will be live-streamed.

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