Appalachian State University's first-ever virtual Commencement ceremony features a talk by author, journalist and radio and TV personality Stephen J. Dubner '84, performances from Luke Combs, and comments from candidates for graduation Olivia Gentry and Ann Marie McNeely. The single ceremony combines candidates from all six of the university's academic colleges, another App State first (at least in recent memory) for a May ceremony. Traditionally, each college would provide student and faculty participants, selected from the college's disciplines.
Six Walker College of Business students had been named junior marshals, before the ceremony plans were flipped. The Walker College had selected a student speaker and faculty participants, too, for a business-specific ceremony that would not be held.
Related: Sirisha Karra to serve as students speaker for May 2020 Commencement.
"We are especially proud of our business commencement participants," said Martin Meznar, associate dean for global and civic engagement for the Walker College. "I am happy we can feature them on our business commencement site."
Junior marshals, selected for having demonstrated academic excellence during their time at Appalachian, traditionally direct guests onsite during commencement, distribute programs and assist candidates for graduation.
Marketing major Maeve Bryant is from Asheville, North Carolina. Of Appalachian, she says "These mountains are home for me and I'm not leaving until they make me!" She said that the small town feel and friendly people really seal the deal. "The best part about being in the Walker College of Business is a supportive faculty and helpful advisors. They are truly invested in their students' success!"
Management major Sophia Lang is from Matthews, North Carolina. Lang said that the moment she stepped on campus, she knew App State was the school for her. "Appalachian provides students with so many attainable opportunities in academics and through clubs and organizations," she said. "That made me feel like I could do anything I wanted to do and my university would support me in achieving my goals." Lang said that her favorite thing in the Walker College of Business is the close community and relationships between students and professors. Lang has been named to the dean's list every semester at Appalachian. She has also held executive and chair positions for Delta Zeta and serves as a part-time student employee at Appalchian's Writing Center.
Supply chain management major Charlee Miller was raised in New Bern, North Carolina. "During my college search I was particularly drawn to Appalachian by the small town atmosphere and scenic Blue Ridge Mountains," she said. "Within my first few terms on campus I found a home in the Walker College of Business." She said her favorite part about the Walker College has been being a member of the Honors Cohort. "This program has surrounded me with instructors and peers who challenge me and push me to be a better version of myself everyday and for that, I will forever be grateful."
Risk management and insurance and finance and banking double major Susan Rivera Is from Raleigh, North Carolina. "I chose to come to Appalachian because they provided opportunities and support for first-generation students along with an irreplaceable family environment," said Rivera. She said her favorite things about the Walker College are the ample networking and professional development opportunities and the care the staff takes with the business students. "I can confidently say that the professors will reach out to you with opportunities — even if they've never met you, I know my best interest is always at hand." Rivera counts "overcoming adversity as a first-generation woman of color in a male-dominated field of study" as one of her achievements. Rivera's other accomplishments include having been consistently named to the dean's and chancellor's lists, earning a summit certification, and serving as a member of Women of Walker and Gamma Iota Sigma, among others.
Management major Hannah Ross is from Charlotte, North Carolina. She chose Appalachian because of the experience she had as a high school student, visiting Appalachian for Scholars Day. "My interaction with professors and students showed me the professional, yet a familial, environment that has held true during my Walker College of Business experience. The people here encourage you to be your best and go above and beyond to help you succeed. The mentorship and friendship I have found in the college are incomparable; we're each other's biggest cheerleaders!" Ross, a member of Enactus Appalachian, has been instrumental in growing the fledgling organization's membership and working to help it become a driving force for sustainable entrepreneurship. She is also a Walker Fellow and a member of the college's Honors Program. "I am proud of what I have done and excited for what is to come!"
Marketing and supply chain management double major Kendra Stafford is from Taylorsville, North Carolina. She said "the sense of unity between everyone in the college" sets the Walker College apart. "Everyone is so eager to help each other," she said. Stafford is a Walker Fellow, serving as the human resources coordinator for recruiting and internships. Her favorite quote is from Hall of Fame Coach Vince Lombardi... "The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand."
For more information about the Spring 2020 Commencement ceremony, visit business.appstate.edu/commencement.