Remarks from the Dec. 7, 2018 Meeting of the Board of Trustees

Friday, December 7, 2018

Board of Trustees Meeting
Friday, Dec. 7, 2018
Plemmons Student Union, on the campus of Appalachian State University

Remarks by Sheri Everts, Chancellor

Good morning and welcome back to Boone.

I’d like to thank each of you for being here today and take a moment to welcome back George Baldwin who, as we all know, was a trustee for three years and is also a former member of the university’s Board of Visitors. Today he joins us in his newest role serving Appalachian — that of the director of corporate and foundation relations.

George, thank you for your service to Appalachian — I appreciate your continued work for the university.

Boone weather has presented us with a few challenges this semester, but we are Mountaineers, and our “can-do” spirit is in evidence here … although perhaps some of our students could stand to learn a bit more about dressing for winter weather!

In all seriousness, student safety is our top priority, and our weather response team and Academic Affairs have been preparing for ways we can finish our exam period with as minimal impact as possible to our students’ exam schedules.

Over the past two years, we have been increasing our use of technology so students can learn safely from their homes and residence halls on days when travel in the mountains is treacherous, and if the end of this year is any indication, it appears we may be relying on this technology even more next semester!

Today, I will update you on current and upcoming projects that develop both our people and our built environment as we advance Appalachian’s core missions of teaching, scholarship and service.

First, I’d like to share a few recent accolades that are outcomes of the hard work by our dedicated faculty and staff.

The value of our university’s educational environment and community engagement is in large sum the reason Appalachian was recently recognized by a number of national publications and ranking programs. These newest distinctions include:

  • Forbes magazine named Appalachian in its third annual “America’s Best Value Colleges 2018” list.
  • Appalachian is among schools chosen by The Princeton Review for its “Best in the Southeast” section of its “2019 Best Colleges: Region by Region” website feature.
  • Appalachian took top spots in U.S. News and World Report’s “2019 Best Colleges Rankings.” We were recognized for academics, value and innovation, and we placed second in the Most Innovative Schools category among Southern regional universities, in the section that includes curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology and facilities.

We have also been recognized as a Military Friendly® School in Victory Media’s rankings since 2010.

Nearly 300 Appalachian State University students self-identify as veterans. A few examples of our stellar students who are also veterans include:

  • Former U.S. Marine Becca Ryan, who came to Appalachian because of the university’s support of veterans. She now supports other veterans while working in the Student Veteran Resource Center, named after our esteemed alumnus Maj. Gen. Edward Reeder. Becca is a junior and is pursuing a global studies major with a minor in Spanish. She wants to pursue a career that combines her interests in language, culture, international studies, human rights and environmental preservation.
  • U.S. Navy veteran couple and seniors Dylan Harris and Alexandra Stivers served together and are now pursuing degrees in the Beaver College of Health Sciences. Dylan is majoring in nutrition and foods, with a minor in chemistry, to become a registered dietician. Alexandra is majoring in nursing after serving as a hospital corpsman.

We are so proud of our veterans and their families, and those who are in training to protect and serve our country.

Our students also prove to be everyday heroes. Recently, along with the American Red Cross, we honored Amanda Buffa, a senior special education major from New Bern — who is about to graduate next week!

Amanda received the highest honor bestowed by the Red Cross, the Certificate of Merit, which she received for saving her classmate’s life in February by performing CPR for nearly five minutes when he collapsed during class, until he was revived and medical personnel arrived.

Amanda is the daughter of a nurse and a firefighter, and said she just did what she was trained to do.

Helping those in need comes easily to our Appalachian Community. Last week, Staff Senate arranged — for the 40th year — their annual AppKIDS event, during which staff take local children in need on a daylong shopping trip to purchase clothing, school supplies and other needed items. Applications are open now for the 2019 year and we will announce the awardees in the spring.

In October, students, staff and faculty came together for the 8th annual Spooky Duke charity race, during which nearly 400 racers and 75 volunteers — including the entire App State softball team — raised awareness and over $21,000 for the work of Appalachian’s Parent to Parent Family Support Network of the High Country, which supports local families who have children with special needs.

I know we are all proud of the success of our student-athletes — on the field, in the community and in the classroom.

Appalachian is regularly recognized for the high graduation rates and impressive grades maintained by our student-athletes.

As we know, some of these student-athletes are heading to New Orleans to win another bowl game for Appalachian. They are completing exams early and working late nights and early mornings to manage their practice schedules and remain students first, as well as successful athletes. We are very proud of all of them.

I know I am not alone in expressing my appreciation to Scott Satterfield for the impressive leadership he has exemplified for Appalachian. We wish him well in Louisville and are confident our student-athletes will bring home another bowl game win for Appalachian next week under the leadership of Mark Ivey.

As Doug prepares the search for our next head football coach, he has said he will build upon the proud history and tradition of Appalachian football.

He indicated this is a highly attractive job, and I agree! I am confident we will have an excellent pool of candidates for the position.

You have heard me say Appalachian is the premier, public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, and in North Carolina, that is saying a lot. We can attest to the truthfulness of that particular phrase, and I hope you will repeat it often.

To continue providing the highest quality educational setting, we must ensure a sound foundation — both by empowering our human potential and developing our physical infrastructure.

One way we do this is through the Chancellor’s Innovation Scholars Program, which provides grants of up to $10,000 to faculty and staff who are developing innovative solutions to real-world problems, promoting regional economic development and improving the quality of life for the citizens of our region. We have awarded 10 of these grants to date.

Applications are open now for the 2019 year and we will announce the awardees in the spring.

We are also focusing on student success beyond the classroom. Next Saturday, about 1,600 graduates will cross the stage and begin their journeys as Appalachian alumni.

A new class at Appalachian is preparing students for these next steps. The one-hour College to Career course is designed to facilitate students’ professional and career development paths.

Developed as a collaboration between Appalachian’s Student Learning Center and Career Development Center, this class goes beyond the basics of creating a resume. Students will learn networking, interviewing, financial literacy, workplace navigation and career development skills.

I would now like to share with you a way to find the latest updates on the key projects we have underway. We are taking Appalachian to the next level in our ability to further our mission, set for us by the Doughertys nearly 120 years ago, and this website, which I previewed for you at our last meeting, has been serving as an important informational resource for our campus, our community, our alumni, our friends and even media.

I hope you will spend some time on this site, and visit it often, as we update it frequently, and it is the definitive source with the latest information about the changes taking place on our campus. There is a link to it from the university homepage.

Click on the physical infrastructure section of this site, and scroll down to see the latest information.

You can see updates on:

  • the Conservatory for Biodiversity Education and Research;
  • Appalachian 105;
  • the west side residence hall project;
  • the Kidd Brewer Stadium — North End Zone Project;
  • the Child Development Center; and
  • Sanford Hall.

Information about three completed projects is also available:

  • the NPHC Plots and Garden;
  • the Leon Levine Hall of Health Sciences; and
  • Founders Plaza.

I am going to take you quickly through the website in order to update you on the residence halls project, the North End Zone project and the Child Development Center.

I know many of your committees spent more time discussing these projects.

At the site of the residence halls, the first phase of the project is expected to begin in February, with 912 beds ready for occupancy in the fall of 2020. Site preparation began this fall.

The development of the entire project is planned in three phases, with completion dates of fall 2020, fall 2021 and fall 2022.

The site work for the parking deck is nearing completion and foundation installation is underway. It will open next fall, and will yield a net gain of approximately 200 additional parking spaces for our campus.

The Kidd Brewer Stadium — North End Zone Project will transform our stadium.

In addition to providing an enhanced experience for student-athletes and fans, this facility will be available for use by the entire campus community. It will accommodate various athletics and academic uses, including athletic training and nutrition science.

The plan is to open the facility by the fall 2020 football season. Demolition of Owens Field House will begin in January and extend into March.

There are conceptual drawings on the website, but keep in mind they are just renderings. As a matter of fact, I think we will have updated drawings from the architect soon.

And in case you are wondering, yes, Doug is getting questions about tailgating for next year. He will be keeping Yosef Club members up to date on parking changes and accommodations.

I am particularly excited to share we are expanding the Child Development Center run by Student Affairs to accommodate 100 additional children of faculty, staff and students. This will more than double the center’s current capacity. We expect to complete the study for this project in May 2019.

Each week, through my newsletter, I share updates and stories with our campus — and with you. There are many stories about the success of our students, faculty, staff and alumni to share! is the portal to all the news, events and accomplishments taking place daily throughout the Appalachian Community. Please help us share this site with your friends, your families and your networks. There is so much we have to be proud of.

Finally, a bit of fun news. This week, our Physical Plant staff placed a house in the duck pond for the campus ducks. Over the years, Appalachian students have expressed concern for the well-being of our campus ducks, particularly in winter.

After consulting with our campus ornithologist, we learned that while our campus ducks are uniquely suited for Boone weather in all its forms, they might enjoy having a floating house. So, our Physical Plant staff rose to the occasion, and, as usual, exceeded expectations, creating a lovely house adorned with university branding!

My Facebook and Twitter posts about this have garnered more than 180,000 impressions, “likes” and engagements. We hope the ducks like their new home as much as our students like it!

I will close by wishing you a wonderful holiday season and a very happy new year to you and your loved ones.

Thank you, as always, for the work you do to keep our campus the premier, public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina.