Appalachian State University's Alumni Association honored three graduates during the spring alumni banquet April 24, 2010. They were Alice Williams Brown of Burlington, James K. Reaves of Kernersville and Richard G. Sparks of Boone.
Also honored at the event was Jerry Moore of Boone, who received the university's Appalachian Medallion. The award, bestowed by the university's Board of Trustees, recognizes an individual's long and sustained commitment and significant service to Appalachian.
Brown received the association's Distinguished Alumna Award, which recognizes a graduate's extraordinary distinction and success in their career field and exceptional and sustained leadership in their community.
Reaves received the Alumni Association's Young Alumnus Award, which recognizes an individual's exceptional service to the university and/or accomplishments in their career.
Sparks received the university's Outstanding Service Award in recognition of his exceptional service to the university.
Brown received her undergraduate degree from Appalachian in 1963 and a master's degree in 1966. She received an Ed.D. from the University of Kentucky in 1979.
Brown has distinguished herself in the field of higher education. She is president emeriti of the Appalachian College Association and served as president from 1993-2008. In that capacity, Brown directed the activities of the association's 37 member colleges. She directed the faculty Scholars Program (now Appalachian College Association) and Kentucky Elderhostel at the University of Kentucky from 1984-1993. Brown prepared and administered grants that provided fellowships, conference support, visiting lecturers and teaching awards to faculty of the private colleges in central Appalachia.
She also has served as director of conferences and institutes at the University of Kentucky, state director of Elderhostel and coordinator of conferences and special activities at Eastern Kentucky University. She also has taught at the university and high school level.
"Dr. Brown's work with the Appalachian College Association has had a significant impact on higher education in the Appalachian region," wrote Dr. David Haney, vice provost for undergraduate education at Appalachian. "She raised nearly $50 million in support of faculty development and educational programs that served a large consortium of colleges in this region. As a member of the Higher Education Resources Services board, she has worked to improve both the quality and quantity of women leaders in colleges and universities, a real need at institutions across the region."
As Appalachian worked to establish University College, Brown offered generous support to campus leaders on creative ways to support collaborations among the academic units and programs housed in the new college.
Brown, a first-generation college graduate, grew up in Statesville and Troutman. In addition to her Ed.D., Brown has received honorary doctorates from six colleges in the Appalachian region.
A native of Bonham, Texas, Moore is now in his 22nd year as head coach of Appalachian's football program. While at Appalachian, Moore has compiled a 189-76 record, making him the coach with the most wins in Southern Conference history. He is one of only five active NCAA Division I FCS head coaches with 200 career victories, and is 23rd among all NCAA Division I coaches (FCS or FBS) in all-time victories.
His 49-year coaching career is replete with milestones, perhaps most notably the past five seasons at Appalachian.
Moore led Appalachian to three-consecutive NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS—formerly Division I-AA) national titles from 2005-07, making Appalachian the first program to ever win three-straight championships at the FCS/I-AA level and the first Division I program, FCS or FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision—formerly Division I-A) to accomplish the feat in 61 years.
He also has led Appalachian to five straight SoCon titles with perfect 8-0 conference records in 2008 and 2009, the second time in the league's 77 years that a team has won as many as five championships in a row. The football program carries a 20-game conference-winning streak into the 2010 campaign, which is tied for the second-longest run of league victories in SoCon history.
Moore led his players to perhaps the biggest upset in college football history, a 34-32 triumph over Michigan in the 2007 season opener.
Moore is a three-time American Football Coaches Association National Coach of the Year and the only Division I (FCS or FBS) mentor in the 74-year history of the award to win the honor three years in a row. He also won the 2006 Eddie Robinson Award (National Coach of the Year) from The Sports Network, is a six-time AFCA Regional Coach of the Year and a seven-time SoCon Coach of the Year.
In 2009, he was named the Liberty Mutual FCS Coach of the Year, an award that included $50,000 for Moore's favorite charities and $20,000 for the Appalachian Alumni Association.
Reaves is a senior vice president and manager of BB&T's Life and Financial Planning Department in Winston-Salem.
A 1993 graduate of Appalachian's Walker College of Business, Reaves majored in finance and risk management. He has a master of science degree in financial services from American College. While at Appalachian, Reaves was a member of the Mountaineer football team and captain of the team for two years.
An invaluable volunteer for the university, Reaves helps secure private donations for student-athlete scholarships by recruiting new members to the Yosef Club, of which he is currently president, and encouraging existing members to increase their giving levels. He has participated on panel discussions in the Walker College of Business, sharing with students information about his career in banking and offering tips for job interviews.
He has established two scholarships at Appalachian: the J.K. Reaves Scholarship that is awarded annually to a non-scholarship football player and the J.K. Reaves Financial Planning Annual Scholarship, the first scholarship established in financial planning.
"James is a role model in all respects," wrote Dr. Delbert Goff, a professor in Appalachian's Department of Finance, Banking and Insurance. "He was a role model for other student-athletes, choosing a challenging program and excelling in his classes. He quickly established himself as a leader at BB&T. And he is a role model in the community, serving as a mentor and setting a positive example for youth. He demonstrates what can be accomplished through hard work and dedication."
Reaves professional accomplishments include receiving Chartered Life Underwriter designation in 1997, Chartered Financial Consultant designation in 1998 and Certified Financial Planner designation in 1999. He received Accredited Estate Planner designation in 2006 and Certified Advisor for Senior Living designation in 2009.
He has received BB&T's Sterling Award, the highest honor presented to an employee, nine of the past 15 years. Reaves also has been recognized by the Million Dollar Round Table as a life member.
Sparks is president and CEO of Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, which is comprised of Blowing Rock Hospital, Charles A. Cannon, Jr. Memorial Hospital in Linville and Watauga Medical Center in Boone. He earned a bachelor's degree in healthcare management from Appalachian in 1976 and an MBA in 1978.
"Not only has Richard distinguished himself professionally within the health care industry, he also is a role model of service to the Appalachian Family," wrote Walker College of Business Dean Randy Edwards.
Sparks is known for his service to the university. He has served on search committees, been a guest speaker in business classes and has mentored and provided internships to students interested in a health care career.
He is chair of the Walker College of Business Advisory Council and has been a council member since 2001 helping the college strengthen its academic programs. Sparks also has served on the Health, Leisure and Exercise Science Advancement Board since 2004. He is a member of the Health Care Management Program's board of advisors.
Sparks also has provided invaluable support in the establishment of Appalachian's new College of Health Sciences.
"Richard's multifaceted involvement with Appalachian is helping the university chart a new course for the future," Edwards said. "His support in establishing the new college will have an everlasting impact on our campus and region."
Sparks received the Alumni Association's Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2001. He has served on the N.C. Hospital Association's policy committee and the N.C. Hospital Association's Board of Trustees, and he was recently appointed to the N.C. School of Science and Math Board of Trustees.
Locally, he has been active with the Boone Rotary Club, the Watauga Chapter of the American Red Cross and on community boards including the High Country United Way and the Grandfather Home for Children.
Sparks is a native of Shelby. He began his health care career in 1978 as an assistant administrator at Watauga Hospital.
Alice Williams Brown: Appalachian served me well, and it served me well because of the faculty that were there. Certainly I remember Graydon Eggers and Mrs. Eggers and Cratis Williams. They were good for me in that their expectations were high. I think students rise to the level of the faculty members' expectations. They sought me out and said "we think you could teach college."
The Appalachian College Association was actually started by John Stephenson. I took the job as head of it when the program was about two or three years old. It grew and grew and grew. It came to the point where we were not only getting faculty grants to go do research, but we were getting money for students to work with those faculty. We got to the point where we developed a central library with all the online collections. What we did was we tried to take 37 small schools and give them the resources of one big university.
What I consider the secret to successful fund-raising is the same thing I consider the secret to successful teaching. That is, developing personal relationships—with your students or with the people you're raising the money for and the people you're going to seek the money from. They have to have confidence in you, and know that you're going to do what you say you're going to do, just as the students have to have confidence in you and know you're going to do what you say you're going to do.
I think that Appalachian is an ideal place for first-generation college kids. Appalachian gives them that personal connection with faculty that they need. So, I think Appalachian has a lot to offer. Heaven knows, it certainly proved itself over and over again in terms of what it's been able to accomplish. What I would say to students that are coming out of college about being in higher education is that it will be one of the most rewarding things you can do with your life if you're committed to helping other people in a way that makes the financial gains irrelevant.
Narrator: The Appalachian Medallion is the highest honor conferred by Appalachian State University. Established in 1992, the Appalachian Medallion is selectively awarded to an individual who has earned both the respect and admiration of the University community. Recipients must demonstrate high moral character, a long and sustained commitment, and significant service to Appalachian. Past recipients of the Appalachian Medallion are Sadie Hunt Broyhill, Lois Reich, Mariam Cannon Hayes, Seby Jones and William C. Friday.
Tonight, we recognize Jerry Moore as the next recipient of the Appalachian Medallion.
Now in the 49th year of his career, Coach Moore is the winningest coach in Southern Conference history and is regarded as one of the nation's finest. He speaks the language of winning and integrity to his players and community alike. He inspires championship behavior both on and off the field. Profound devotion to his players, the community and the Appalachian family have cemented Coach Moore's place in the history of Appalachian State University and his contributions will be remembered for generations to come.
Engraved on the back of Coach Moore's Appalachian Medallion are the words "Appalachian State University on April 24, 2010, awards this medallion to Jerry Moore, who through generous service to this institution exemplifies the dedication and commitment so identified with the rich heritage of the University."
Coach Jerry Moore—every day he gives his all to Appalachian State University.
James K. Reaves: I learned that people take your lead, in terms of your demeanor. My time as captain of the football team really helped me in my leadership skills by having to go out there and perform every day, knowing that you may have a situation where someone is not doing as well, but when they see that you're focused and determined, it's going to give them hope that "I can do it, too." The same priciples apply to the business world. It may be a young person coming into the bank. They're looking at me and watching my every move. They want to do a lot of things I've done in business. It gives me some motivation to keep going, knowing that I can help somebody else along the way.
I think that what makes me successful in the business world is teamwork, focus and hard work. I've never taken shortcuts—and making sure that you're not finished until the job is done. It feels great to be a mentor right now, because I get a chance to give back what others have given to me when I was coming up. We are mentoring kids at Hillside High School in Durham, NC. What we do is we sponsor two awards that go to the most outstanding male and female student-athletes. We also have the Reaves Family Scholarships.
This award means a lot coming from my alma mater. I've been blessed enough to give back to the university that gave so much to me and I can never repay all that Appalachian has done for me.
Richard G. Sparks: I think I first volunteered and became involved with the University in teaching, back in the 1980s, and particularly health care classes in the College of Business. It was a real thrill to share what I was experiencing with students who would soon be out in their own careers in just a few years. I'm most proud of Appalachian for the quality of instruction, the quality of the experience. It's just remarkable when I see students going out and employers talking about them. How qualified they are. How hard-working they are. It just makes me real proud that they are carrying the banner so high.
My vision for the new College of Health Science is much like Dr. Peacock's. That is, don't put any limits on it. Let it be what it should be. I really do think that there's going to be innovative ways of educating and training physicians in the decades to come. We are setting, what I believe, a foundation in place with our new college that we can be a part of that. To be a recipient of this award is a huge honor and I accept it on behalf of everybody who has contributed and supported the University.
I think it's real important for all of us to support the University and contribute after we graduate. I had such an experience. I had never dreamed that I would have the opportunity to do the things that I have. When I arrived in 1972, my plans were to graduate in four years with a bachelors degree and go home and find a good job. I had no concept whatsoever that I would end up staying in Boone and becoming a part of the hospital and, subsequently, the health care system. And the reason all that happened was people gave me opportunities. Many of those people are here tonight. They challenged me, they opened doors, they said "Dream and dream big." That's what I've done. So if anything that I've done has made life better for some people then that's the greatest reward that anyone can ever get.