Message from Interim Chancellor Heather Norris

Friday, June 7, 2024

Summer orientation is underway, and students and their families can be seen around the Boone campus, getting ready for their upcoming App State adventures. Hickory campus orientation is coming soon! Orientation is a fun, exciting and often bittersweet time for our incoming students and their families. Our Student Orientation Undergraduate Leaders understand this, and these student leaders excel in their support to incoming Mountaineers and their family members. As they assist in transitioning new students and family members into the Mountaineer community, they work to foster a sense of belonging and purpose in our new students through intentional, dynamic and student- and family-centered experiences. This is a very special group of student leaders, and we appreciate their dedication to the success of our incoming students.

This week, we welcomed government officials, industry leaders, educators and students from across the state and the University of North Carolina System to the 12th annual Appalachian Energy Summit, established by App State in 2012. During this year’s summit, representatives from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality announced that the University of North Carolina System and its partners have collectively avoided $1.96 billion in energy costs since the 2002–03 academic year and are on track to exceed their goal of $2 billion in avoided energy costs by 2025. 

Appalachian State University is proud to host this conference each year, during which some of the nation’s finest thought leaders come together to discuss current research and best practices related to sustainability and energy efficiency. Participants return to their home communities and campuses inspired and motivated to effect energy-efficient initiatives and change. I appreciate the commitment of our sister institutions to this valuable summit and what it means for our state and our future, and I am pleased that App State can provide a venue for this important work.

Yesterday, we celebrated the sixth graduating class of fifth graders from the Appalachian State University Academy at Middle Fork — the lab school in Walkertown operated by App State as part of the UNC System Laboratory Schools Initiative. The academy educates approximately 270 students in grades kindergarten through fifth grade in a literacy-focused curriculum.

On behalf of the entire university community, I say congratulations to our youngest Mountaineers! I am very proud of the hard work and diligence these mini-Mountaineers put into their studies to reach this achievement, and I applaud Reich College of Education Dean Melba Spooner, Assistant Dean and Director of App State Lab Schools Dr. Hannah Reeder, Interim Academy at Middle Fork Principal Dr. Amie Snow and the faculty and staff of the academy for their dedication to these students’ success.

A quick update in follow-up to the university’s May 20 inaugural Community Partnerships Breakfast:

  • Last week, Vice Chancellor J.J. Brown discussed App State's evening parking permit requirement — which carries a $120 annual charge to park on the Boone campus after 5 p.m. on weekdays — with representatives from the Town of Boone, Watauga County, the Downtown Boone Development Association and the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce. As a result, we will bring a proposal to rescind App State's evening parking permit requirement to the June Board of Trustees meeting.

    Pending approval by the Board, we will have no evening parking permit requirements for the coming academic year, and no permit will be required to park on the Boone campus after 5 p.m. on weeknights or on Saturdays and Sundays, with the exception of football game days and other major events.

    I appreciate the continued commitment of this Board to support us as we work to repair and strengthen the university's relationship with our High Country community partners.

I hope everyone can enjoy some lovely summer weather this weekend!

Heather Norris
Interim Chancellor