Five alumni honored by Appalachian's Alumni Association

What do a young married couple, former math teacher, university president and an Army commanding officer all have in common?

They share the same defining foundation of an Appalachian State University education, which has influenced who they've become and what they've accomplished.

Because of their exceptional service to Appalachian and their notable career accomplishments, the university chose to recognize each of these alumni by awarding them with the highest honors presented by the university's Alumni Association at the annual Alumni Awards Gala held June 7-8, 2013.

The awardees were: Brandon and Erica Adcock of Charlotte, who received the Young Alumni Award; Hughlene B. Frank of Greensboro, who received the Outstanding Service Award; Maj. Gen. Edward M. Reeder Jr. of Fort Bragg, who received the Distinguished Alumni Award; and Dr. Harry L. Williams of Dover, Del., who received the Distinguished Alumni Award.

Young Alumni Award: Brandon '06 and Erica Adcock '07 '08

Brandon '06 and Erica Adcock '07 '08 of Charlotte met as students at an Appalachian Student Ambassadors' recruiting event on campus.

"I remember meeting her, and was attracted to her immediately," Brandon said. "I had to pursue her for a while," he added. "Here we are today, almost seven years later and I'm very fortunate to have met her at Appalachian."

The Adcocks were passionate and engaged students while at Appalachian. Both were Student Ambassadors and William R. Holland Fellows for Business Study in Asia.

They have provided time and considerable financial support to the Center for Entrepreneurship, the Walker College of Business, Appalachian Student Ambassadors, Appalachian Athletics, The Appalachian Fund and student scholarships.

Both said they are "products of," and impacted by, scholarships. Now they want to "pay it forward" to help give other students at Appalachian the same opportunities they had.

"I wouldn't have been able to go there at all if it weren't for scholarships," Erica said.

"My education at Appalachian definitely prepared me for what I'm doing now," Brandon said. He studied political science and marketing while at Appalachian and is the co-founder of Direct Digital LLC, a multi-million dollar global company. He served as a member of the university's Alumni Council, and he is currently on Appalachian's Foundation Board of Directors. He chairs the Walker College of Business Center for Entrepreneurship Advisory Board.

Erica studied accounting and went on to earn a master's degree at Appalachian. She recently left her position at PriceWaterhouseCoopers to pursue her passion for coaching field hockey, and she remains involved with the women's field hockey team at Appalachian as a summer camp volunteer and mentor. She also works at a non-profit, A Child's Place.

Outstanding Service Award: Hughlene B. Frank '68

Just days after high school graduation, Hughlene B. Frank '68 of Greensboro came to Appalachian to be the best that she could be. "That's what I was raised to be," she said. She was young and eager to learn.

"As we came around that corner, coming into town, I told Mother and Daddy, 'I'm so excited. What will this bring? I can't wait,'" Frank said, about beginning her college experience. "I wanted to be somebody, and I feel like that's what Appalachian gave me the opportunity to be."

After a career as a junior high math teacher and nearly four decades of service to Appalachian, Frank's spirit hasn't aged and her eagerness hasn't faded.

Frank served for 21 years as a founding member of the College of Arts and Sciences Advancement Council. She served on Appalachian's Board of Trustees for eight years, and she is currently a member of the Appalachian State University Foundation Inc. and the College of Health Sciences Advisory Board.

In 2004, Frank and her husband, Bill Frank, established the lead endowment for the university's visiting writers series, which was named the Hughlene Bostian Frank Visiting Writers Series in her honor.

"I watched it make a difference in students' lives," Frank said, about the series. "I want Appalachian students to be able to go anywhere in life they dream of going."

Frank and her husband also established the College of Health Sciences' first endowed scholarship in nursing.

"The dreams I have are just the same dreams I had: make it bigger, better and best ... I want to shine. I don't have to be a leader, but I want to be a part of the team. I want to know I made a difference."

Distinguished Alumnus Award: Dr. Harry L. Williams '86 '88 '95

Dr. Harry L. Williams '86 '88 '95 of Dover, Del., a first generation college student, attended Appalachian on a track scholarship. Instead of leaving after graduation, he stayed to take his first job in the university's Admissions office.

"It was just a great opportunity to ... learn from the best faculty in the world, and that prepared me to go to that next place," Williams said.

He eventually went on to work as a national consultant in enrollment management for higher education. One of his assignments was to revamp the enrollment management operation at Delaware State University.

"In that process, a position in the provost office opened up," Williams said. He said his goal was always to be a college president.

Williams achieved his goal and more. He is the 10th president of Delaware State University (DSU) and a fierce advocate for higher education and anyone hoping to pursue a college education.

Under his guidance, DSU's national ranking rose from 17th to 13th in the 2013 Historically Black Colleges and Universities rankings by U.S. News & World Report. The university's research portfolio increased considerably, attracting more than $25 million in grants and project funding, and a scholarship program was implemented to provide financial assistance to first generation college students.

"The reason why I love this work is because I see the lives that we are impacting and that we are changing," Williams said. "We're in the business of changing lives."

"To get a Distinguished Alumni Award—man, it's a big deal because we have over 100,000 alumni," he said. "I'm humbled by it."

Distinguished Alumnus Award: Maj. Gen. Edward M. Reeder Jr. '81

North Carolina native Maj. Gen. Edward M. Reeder Jr. '81 wanted to be just like his father—a hard worker with a moral compass "like none other," he said. His father was a command sergeant major in the Army.

"I've never ever wanted to do anything but be a soldier," Reeder said. "I had four goals when I got out of high school, and one was I wanted a quality education. Two: I wanted to play Division I football. Three: I wanted to go to a quality ROTC program. And four: I didn't want it to cost my parents any money."

Appalachian offered Reeder the opportunity to achieve those goals. He studied psychology, was offered a four-year football scholarship and was commissioned as an Army officer through Appalachian's ROTC program.

Reeder said he learned to be a critical thinker and an adaptive leader while at Appalachian. In his 31 years of service with the Army, he has commanded numerous Special Forces groups and battalions. Early in his career, Reeder distinguished himself by earning the U.S. Army Special Forces Tab and Green Beret, an accomplishment only one in 100 soldiers achieves. He is now the commanding general of the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School (SWCS), the Army's Special Operations Center of Excellence at Fort Bragg.

Reeder said when he was notified via phone that he was selected for the award he thought his Army friends were pranking him—but it was no prank.

"I was prouder of being the Distinguished Alumni of Appalachian State than I was being selected to be a general in the Army," Reeder said.

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