Update from Appalachian State University
As we celebrate our graduates during App State’s Fall 2023 Commencement ceremonies, today’s graduates are more than 1,500 strong; they represent 25 states and 10 countries and range in age from 19 to 65. More than 500 are first-generation college graduates and 30 are military-affiliated.
To our graduates, each of you has reached a significant milestone in your academic career, and we congratulate you. You are joining more than 146,000 App State alumni who are contributing to their communities across our state, our nation and the world. We hope each of you will stay connected with your alma mater — your contributions will always be part of this great university.
As we celebrate our graduates, it’s also important to reflect upon and thank those who have helped ensure their success. Thank you to the faculty, who provided professional mentorship, shared knowledge and opened doors to new possibilities for our graduates. Thank you to our staff, who provided assistance and guidance to our graduates — even before they became App State students. Thank you to the families and loved ones of our graduates, who have inspired, encouraged, comforted and supported our students to reach this day. You have all been their champions. As we celebrate them, we also celebrate you.
Every commencement and every graduate has a unique story, and each adds to the collective App State Experience.
- Davis Noblitt, a Charlotte native, earned his Bachelor of Science in biology with a concentration in cellular and molecular biology. He credits App State faculty who have expertise in neuroscience for helping him discover his passion for research. He was able to gain valuable laboratory experience working on optic nerve regeneration through his research with the Department of Biology, and also worked at Watauga Medical Center throughout his undergraduate experience. Inspired to help others from his own experience of losing his mother to neurological cancer, he will begin his graduate studies focused in neuroscience in the fall and has long-term career goals in biomedicine.
- Rachel Rabideau, a transfer student from Dexter, Michigan, is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and a concentration in sales. Already admitted to another college, Rachel visited App State while on a trip to the area to see family and fell in love with the Boone campus. With only two weeks before the semester would begin, she met with the Admissions team, who reviewed her transcript, admitted her and registered her for courses. She found an apartment, moved to Boone and became a star sales student. She will travel abroad after graduation before beginning her sales career in Raleigh this spring.
- Christian Rodriguez, a first-generation college student and first-generation American citizen from Siler City, is a Beaver Scholar who has earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise science. With a passion for health sciences, Christian has triumphed over health challenges while navigating the new world of college — something no one in his family had done before. Throughout, he was motivated to show his younger brother that obtaining a college degree is possible. As he presents his graduation cap to his mother today, he will be representing a new future for his family.
These are just a few of thousands of inspiring App State stories. Each of our graduates has persevered through challenges, built meaningful connections with faculty and staff that will serve them throughout their personal and professional lives, connected with the surrounding community and made memories and friendships that will last a lifetime.
Graduates, as you leave App State, you take everything you have earned with you, and you also leave a part of yourselves here. Remember, you will always have a home here. We thank each of you for giving your all to App State. Congratulations!
I encourage the Mountaineer community to wear their black and gold tomorrow to show support for our football team, which takes on the RedHawks of Ohio’s Miami University in the Cure Bowl at 3:30 p.m. In this final Mountaineers football game of 2023, bringing home our seventh bowl championship will make a nice holiday gift for App State fans!
As the fall semester and 2023 come to a close, I’d like to say a special thank you to our faculty and staff, and especially our students. I’m incredibly proud of how our university community continues to navigate challenging times — with grace and respect, valuing one another as well as our constitutional right to freedom of expression, and recognizing that when we don’t agree on issues, we can still support one another as members of a community who value one another. This is a very special place; each of us is fortunate to be part of our university community, and I thank you for the contributions you bring to it each and every day.
During this holiday season, as we head into winter break, I hope each of you can enjoy some respite and time with loved ones, and enter the new year rejuvenated.