Myron Coulter


School of Education Distinguished Alumni Award (1994)
School of Education
M.S. 1956, Ed.D. 1959


Myron Lee "Barney" Coulter, Ed.D. was a university administrator who served as the chancellor of Western Carolina University (1984-1994), president of Idaho State University (1976-1984), and vice president of Western Michigan University. served as President of Idaho State University from 1976 to 1984. Coulter previously served as a vice president of Western Michigan University.

During his tenure at WCU, Coulter helped the university establish the Faculty Center for Teaching Excellence, now known as the Coulter Faculty Commons for Excellence in Teaching and Learning in honor of his retirement as Chancellor Emeritus and Distinguished University Professor. He emphasized global outreach, leading delegations to the Netherlands to launch a partnership in business education with Hogeschool West Brabant, to China for agreements on educational and cultural exchange with Yunnan University, and to Thailand, Swaziland, and Jamaica for creating relationships for vocational, technical, and teacher training.

Prior to coming to WCU, Coulter was the president of Idaho State University, and served in a variety of leadership roles at Western Michigan University from 1966 to 1976, including vice president for administration from 1974 to 1976; interim president in 1974; vice president for Institutional Services from 1968 to 1974; and associate dean and professor of education for the university's College of Education from 1966 to 1968. Previously, Coulter was an associate professor at Penn State University from 1964 to 1966, director of Penn State's Latin American Education Project from 1962 to 1963, and an instructor at Indiana University from 1958 to 1959. Coulter has additional experience in teaching elementary school students in Bloomington and Reading, MI in the 1950s.

Coulter was also active in the local community, having served on the Board of Directors of Western North Carolina Tomorrow, the N.C. Center for the Advancement of Teaching, N.C. Board of Science and Technology, Western North Carolina Development Association, Center for PVO/University Collaboration in Development, C. J. Harris Community Hospital, Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, WCQS Public Radio, Jackson County Chamber of Commerce and the N.C. Arboretum. Coulter was a founding member of Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cherokee Historical Association and the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina. He was appointed by Governor James Hunt and renewed by Governor Mike Easley as the founding chair of the NC Certification Commission, where he served for twelve years. In addition, he served as co-chair for the NC Education Lottery Oversight Committee, where he served for five years by appointment by NC Speaker of the House Joe Hackney, and served as a member for several years on the board of Givens Estates in Asheville and the Lake Junaluska Visioning Committee.

In the academic community, Coulter was the chairman of the Board of Directors for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) in 1988-89 and was a founding member of the Board of Directors of the Cherokee Preservation Foundation. His other appointments the Commission for a Competitive North Carolina, Inter-American University Council for Economics and Social Development, and Governor's Task Force on Aquaculture.

He earned a M.S. in Elementary Education in 1956 and an Ed.D. in 1959, both from Indiana University. Coulter graduated from Indiana State University in 1951 with a bachelor's degree in education, and also has a honorary degree from the College of Idaho in 1982.