Alumni Association honors three graduates

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.

Dr. Alice Williams Brown '63 '66

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.

Jerry Moore

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.

James K. Reaves '93

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.

Richard G. Sparks '76 '78

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.