App State Commencement Ceremonies Graduated 1475 Students (2017-12-20 16:55:28)

Appalachian State held commencement ceremonies this past weekend.

A total of 1,475 students graduated from Appalachian State University Saturday, Dec. 16, during commencement in Holmes Convocation Center.

Appalachian hosted two ceremonies, one at 10 a.m. for Hayes School of Music, College of Arts and Sciences, and Walker College of Business, and one at 2 p.m. for the Reich College of Education, Beaver College of Health Sciences and College of Fine and Applied Arts.

Degrees were conferred on 1,123 undergraduates and 352 graduate students.

“Today we celebrate as our students leave Appalachian prepared to make real and powerful differences in their communities and beyond,” Chancellor Sheri Everts said. “A university campus is an amazing place of confluence where great leaders and ideas emerge for the betterment of society, and Appalachian is a shining example of this work.”

Appalachian engages students in its commencement ceremonies, selecting one bachelor’s candidate and one master’s degree candidate to give remarks and another graduating student to welcome everyone in attendance.

Selected for the 10 a.m. commencement were Patrick G. Campbell, who earned a Bachelor of Science in physics, secondary education and graduated magna cum laude, and Talana J. Bell ’86, who returned to Appalachian to earn a Master of Science in accounting. Giving welcoming remarks was Emily G. Arbour, who earned a Bachelor of Music in music performance.

Campbell is from Charlotte and plans to teach physics at a private boarding school in Suzhou, China, after graduation. Bell, originally from Statesville, had a career in health care accounting and retired as CFO with Flowers Hospital in Dothan, Alabama, before coming to Appalachian. She was recently named executive assistant to the dean in Appalachian’s Walker College of Business. Arbour plans to pursue a master’s degree and develop a career as both a performer and teacher.

Those selected for the 2 p.m. ceremony were Dayne O. Shelor, who earned a Bachelor of Science in communication, public relations with a minor in music, and Monica B. Gudger, who earned a Master of School Administration. Welcoming the audience was Jill Kocsis, who earned a Bachelor of Science in nutrition and foods.

Shelor is from Cary and was involved in Boone’s local music scene while a student. He plans to pursue music professionally in Durham while building a tiny house. Gudger is from Denver, North Carolina, and works as an exceptional children program specialist with plans to become a director of exceptional children in a school setting. Kocsis is from Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and transferred to Appalachian in 2015. As a student, she collaborated with scientists at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis. She plans to continue following her passion for food research in graduate school.


In other University news, Wayne Sumner, App State class of ’75, president of Jackson Sumner & Associates, was awarded the prestigious Order of the Long Leaf Pine by North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper. The award was presented December 4th the Sumner & Associates annual Christmas party.

Sumner served as the former chairman of the Boone Rural Fire Protection Board. In 2012, Sumner received the Outstanding Service Award from Appalachian for his service and support of the university and the Brantley Risk and Insurance Center. His personal contributions and fundraising efforts helped send students and faculty to study at Lloyd's of London and supported the Independent Insurance Agents of North Carolina Distinguished Professorship in the Walker College of Business.

Sumner was awarded again in 2013 with the opening of the Wayne L. Sumner Broadcast Studio — the new home of WASU Radio. Sumner was a charter member of WASU and the fourth person on the air when the station began broadcasting in 1972.

Sumner founded Jackson Sumner & Associates in Boone in 1981. The company opened a medevac landing site in 2016 to better serve rescue efforts in the eastern part of Watauga County.