Appalachian Alumni Association Award Winners 2016

Susan M. Branch ’99, James M. Deal ’71, E. Hayes Smith ’82 and D. Kenan Smith ’84

Two attorneys and two businessmen whose lives are interwoven with Appalachian State University’s history and accomplishments were honored by the Appalachian Alumni Association Oct. 21 during Homecoming 2016 activities. They are:

  • Susan M. Branch ’99, Young Alumni Award
  • James M. Deal ’71, Distinguished Alumni Award
  • E. Hayes Smith ’82 and D. Kenan Smith ’84, Outstanding Service Award

Chancellor Sheri N. Everts acknowledged the contributions made by the recipients, saying, “The considerable contributions made to the university by these honorees have impacted our students, the Appalachian Community and the State of North Carolina in countless ways. We are very proud to bestow these honors on such loyal and deserving alumni.”

Young Alumni Award

Susan M. Branch ’99 of Charlotte earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in marketing from Appalachian in 1999 and a Juris Doctorate from Howard University School of Law in 2002. Branch is vice president at Ciena Capital, LLC in Charlotte, where she manages a distressed commercial loan portfolio and lender litigation matters. Branch is a member of the Junior League of Charlotte Board of Directors, Alpha Lambda Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. and the Charlotte Chapter of The Links Incorporated.

As a student, she was a member of Appalachian’s Student Judicial Board, Black Student Association Advisory Board, Pi Sigma Epsilon, Ladies Elite and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority – “I took advantage of everything Appalachian had to offer,” Branch said.

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Distinguished Alumni Award

James M. Deal Jr. ’71 of Boone is an attorney with Deal, Moseley and Smith, LLP who has served the local community as well as Appalachian.

As one of Appalachian’s native sons, there’s not much about the university or the Boone community Deal doesn’t know, and if it comes to furthering education and opportunity, he’s likely been a major player.

Over the last two decades, he has served on the Appalachian State University Foundation Board of Directors, Board of Trustees and Board of Governors. Additionally, he served multiple terms on the Watauga Board of Education and as a county commissioner. He was instrumental in the planning and construction of the LEED® certified Watauga High School.

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Outstanding Service Award

D. Kenan Smith ’84 and E. Hayes Smith ’82 of Salisbury are brothers and business partners in Second Creek Development Co. They have provided backing for scholarships, career placement and athletics.

Hayes Smith has served on the Alumni Leadership Committee, the Parents Association Board of Directors, The Yosef Club Advisory Board and Walker College of Business Advisory Council. Kenan Smith is equally active, serving on the Alumni Leadership Committee, Appalachian State University Foundation Board of Directors and the university’s Board of Trustees.

Both have been instrumental in championing the Appalachian Energy Summit, an initiative that has realized more than $500 million in avoided energy costs for The University of North Carolina system.

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