Message from Interim Chancellor Heather Norris

Saturday, May 11, 2024

It has been my absolute privilege to preside over our Spring 2024 Commencement ceremonies these past two days. We have celebrated more than 4,100 graduates who reached this significant milestone in their academic careers. These newest graduates join more than 147,000 App State alumni who are contributing to their communities across our state, our nation and the world. We invite each of you to stay connected with your alma mater.

The spring Class of 2024 includes graduates representing 90 North Carolina counties and 29 countries, who range in age from 19 to 67. The class also includes more than 500 first-generation graduates, more than 50 military-affiliated graduates and more than 80 student-athlete graduates.

As we celebrate our newest graduates’ accomplishments, we also recognize all those who helped our graduates reach this moment. To the parents, families and friends who have supported these graduates every step of the way, to the university staff who worked behind the scenes to provide essential services and support to our students, and to the faculty who inspired, mentored and guided these graduates throughout their academic journeys — thank you all for your endless passion, determination and tireless commitment. Each of you has made a transformational difference in the lives of our outstanding graduates. On behalf of App State, I thank you.

Every graduate who walks across the commencement stage has distinct experiences, motivations and goals:

  • Jennah Bosch, of Wilmington, graduated from App State’s online Bachelor of Science in veterinary technology program, which began in August 2022 and is offered through the College of Arts and Sciences. She is one of five members in the program’s first graduating class. With more than 30 years of experience as a veterinary technician, Jennah saw the program as an opportunity to make a career transition and pursue a new role as an educator, guiding the next wave of technicians entering the profession.
  • Amaya Crawford, of Charlotte, graduated from App State’s Walker College of Business with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in both international business and digital marketing, as well as a minor in Spanish. She was a member of the Women of Walker organization, as well as a Walker Fellow, a Student Orientation Undergraduate Leader and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, through which she was the marketing director for Beans 2 Brew. Soon after graduation, Amaya will begin working as a brand manager for Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati. 
  • Second Lieutenant Aidan Fox, of Mooresville, graduated from App State’s Beaver College of Health Sciences with a Bachelor of Science in nursing and a minor in military science and leadership. Fox earned the 2024 Nursing Leadership Award from the Department of Nursing and has been named a Distinguished Military Graduate — he is ranked among the Top 100 Army ROTC graduates in the country. During his time in App State’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), Aidan was a member of the Mountain Man Marathon Team and Appalachian State Commandos, and he earned the U.S. Army’s Airborne and Air Assault badges. He wants to improve health care access for military members and veterans and hopes to begin officer training this summer. 
  • Desteney Greene, of Winston-Salem, graduated from App State’s Reich College of Education with a Master of School Administration, a degree available through App State Online. In 2022, Desteney completed a yearlong principal internship at Northwest Middle School in Winston-Salem as a North Carolina Principal Fellow. Prior to pursuing her MSA, Desteney worked for four years at App State’s Academy at Middle Fork, a K–5 laboratory school in Winston-Salem, where she served as an exceptional children teacher and interim director of exceptional children. Her goal is to be an exceptional children program director, and she is interviewing for jobs as she prepares for the next steps in her career.

Each of our graduates has overcome challenges and persevered through obstacles. For some, this was their first formal, in-person graduation since their high school graduations were disrupted by COVID-19. They have developed personal and professional relationships with faculty and staff, connected with the surrounding community, made friendships that will last a lifetime and created memories to cherish forever.

Graduates, no matter how far your journey takes you, remember App State will always welcome you home. We thank each of you for giving your all to App State.

I also want to recognize Dr. Brooke Christian, App State’s recipient of the 2024 UNC System Board of Governors Excellence in Teaching Award, who was recognized by Board of Governors member and App State alumnus C. Philip Byers today. Dr. Christian is a professor and research mentor in the Department of Chemistry and Fermentation Sciences and will enter her 10th year as a faculty member at the university this fall. She was honored for her many contributions to the profession and is lauded for her genuine love of teaching. Congratulations, Brooke!

I wish everyone a wonderful summer, and a special wish to our Mountaineer mothers for a Happy Mother’s Day!

Heather Norris
Interim Chancellor