Special Collections & University Archives

Presidents of Peabody College:
John M. Claunch (1967-1973)

(Peabody News Bureau Press Release)

John M. ClaunchDr. John M. Claunch, professor and administrator at Southern Methodist University (SMU), Dallas, Texas, today was elected president of George Peabody College for Teachers, Nashville, Tennessee. Dr. Claunch will assume his duties on August 1.J. J. Daniel, Jacksonville, Florida, chairman of the Peabody Board of Trustees, announced Dr. Claunch was chosen by unanimous vote soon after the board convened at a called meeting at noon.

The 61-year-old Texan was the only one whose name was submitted to the board by the presidential selection committee, headed by Dr. Arthur Smith, Peabody trustee and senior vice president of the First National Bank of Dallas.

The election of Dr. Claunch ends a search which was begun soon after Dr. Felix C. Robb announced his resignation as president in early December, 1965, to become executive director of the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges in Atlanta, Georgia.

Dr. Henry H. Hill, president from 1945 until his retirement in 1961, has been acting president since July 1, 1966.

Dr. Claunch, who attended Peabody College for one summer of graduate study, has been on the SMU faculty since 1938. For the past several years he has held the dual assignment of chairman of the Department of Government and dean of Dallas College, SMU's adult education center which has an enrollment of approximately 4,500 and through which he has gained national recognition. It is known as Dallas College of SMU.

The new president has ten years of experience in public school administration, two as a principal and eight as a superintendent in Texas. He holds the bachelor's degree from Stephen F. Austin State Teacher's College, Nacogdoches, Texas, which he entered after a year at Louisiana State University in his native state. He also attended the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, during summers while working toward the Doctor of Philosophy degree in government at the University of Texas in Austin.

Dr. Claunch also served a term in the Texas legislature and has held brief teaching appointments at Texas A & M, the University of Texas, and Western New Mexico University. He is also a veteran with 40 months of service with the Army Air Force during World War II.