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App State alum donates $1.3 million in support of App State Athletics and Walker College of Business

Last Updated on June 24, 2022 10:51 am

BOONE, N.C. — Dennis Covington ’92 and his wife, Katherine, have made a $1.3 million gift to Appalachian State University in support of facilities for App State Athletics and academic resources for the Walker College of Business.

The Covingtons’ gift will help fund campus projects, including the Appalachian 105 complex and a future learning lab for the Walker College of Business.

“Dennis and Katherine have a long history of supporting App State’s goals to empower human potential and improve physical infrastructure, and we appreciate their passion and support for our students’ athletics and academic success,” Chancellor Sheri Everts said. “Their generosity continues to be lasting and meaningful to the bright success of current and future Mountaineers.”

“The App State Experience is a special one,” Dennis said. “We deeply appreciate the time and personal investment university staff showed us in determining the best fit for this gift, and we are anxious to further assist in the development of App State Athletics and the Walker College of Business.”

Uplifting App State Athletics

For App State Athletics, this gift will primarily help fund the Appalachian 105 complex, which will house facilities for the softball, tennis, and track and field teams.

A phased construction of the complex began last summer with the demolition of the grandstand. The installation of drainage, electrical and irrigation systems is underway, and the construction of retaining walls is ongoing. Completion of the track and field competition/practice area and associated site work is slated for this summer.

A portion of the Covingtons’ gift will also go toward enhancing facilities for the App State men’s and women’s golf programs.

“Dennis and Katherine are passionate about assisting App State in competing in all phases of student-athlete recruitment and development,” said App State Director of Athletics Doug Gillin. “We are grateful for their generosity and their commitment to our student-athletes’ pursuit of academic, social and competitive excellence.”

Elevating the Walker College of Business

In the Walker College of Business (WCOB), the Covingtons’ gift will help fund a learning lab, which will provide hands-on academic experiences, including cutting-edge investment education. The space is slated to be constructed during a forthcoming renovation of and addition to Peacock Hall.

The vision for the space includes features such as a real-time stock market ticker and Bloomberg terminals that offer financial analysis software, according to Dr. Sandra Vannoy, dean of the college.

“This future learning lab will help further our position as a state-of-the-art college of business,” Vannoy said. “It will allow for immersive education and provide resources for faculty and student research — amplifying the opportunities we have to prepare our students to be leaders in business. We are so appreciative of the Covingtons’ contribution to the future of the Walker College.”

Giving back to the black and gold

Dennis said he and Katherine want to help App State continue moving forward. “App State is building quality experiences that are bringing in great students,” he said.

He added that he is excited by the way App State Athletics has elevated its storytelling and how WCOB has enhanced its vision for recruiting business students.

Since graduating from WCOB with an accounting degree, Dennis has risen through the ranks in the financial services industry to his current role as CEO of Capital Directions, where he is a certified financial planner practitioner. Dennis joined the firm in 2000, following five years as a senior institutional consultant with TIAA and three years as a staff accountant with KPMG.

The Covingtons have remained connected to the university through regular visits to Boone to attend athletics events, reunite with Dennis’ Kappa Alpha Order fraternity brothers and visit with friends and professional connections.

Dennis has served on the advisory boards of the Appalachian State Alumni Association and the Yosef Club. He has also been a consistent donor to the university for nearly 30 years, contributing to areas such as the Walker College Dean’s ClubA Mountaineer Impact, the Yosef Club and the Department of Finance, Banking and Insurance.

Dennis and Katherine live near Atlanta. They have two children, Will and Mary Elizabeth, who is an App State student majoring in psychology with a concentration in business.

About Mountaineer Athletics

More than 400 student-athletes compete in 17 NCAA Division I varsity sports at Appalachian State University. App State’s nationally ranked football team has enjoyed unprecedented success at the highest level of Division I (Football Bowl Subdivision), with six bowl wins in its first six years at the FBS level and four Sun Belt Conference championships. The Mountaineers were a dominant force in the Southern Conference for more than 40 years before moving up to the Sun Belt Conference in 2014. App State student-athletes in all sports pursue daily comprehensive excellence in academics, competition and community involvement. All varsity teams compete in the Sun Belt Conference, except for field hockey (MAC) and wrestling (SoCon). Learn more at

About the Walker College of Business

The Walker College of Business at Appalachian State University delivers transformational educational experiences that prepare and inspire students to be ethical, innovative and engaged business leaders who positively impact our community, both locally and globally. The college places emphasis on international experiences, sustainable business practices, entrepreneurial programs and real-world applications with industry. Enrolling approximately 3,000 undergraduates in 10 majors and 175 graduate students in three master's programs, the Walker College is accredited by AACSB International – the premier global accrediting body for schools of business. Learn more at

About Appalachian State University

As the premier public undergraduate institution in the Southeast, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls nearly 21,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.

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