Last Updated on May 17, 2021 11:42 am
BOONE, N.C. — Appalachian State University’s black and gold pride was on full display during its Spring 2021 Commencement. For the first time since December 2019, App State held an in-person commencement, hosting 13 in-person ceremonies May 7–12.
As part of the commencement celebrations, Chancellor Sheri Everts conferred degrees in person and through a prerecorded virtual conferral to more than 3,600 Mountaineer graduates, including 3,209 undergraduate and 480 graduate students. Recordings of the ceremonies, as well as the virtual degree conferral, are available on App State’s commencement website. See below for photo galleries displaying memorable commencement moments.
Everts presided over the ceremonies and Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Heather Hulburt Norris presented the candidates for graduation. C. Philip Byers ’85, a member of the University of North Carolina System Board of Governors, and App State Board of Trustees Chair Scott Lampe ’94 shared remarks.
In her address to App State’s Class of 2021, Everts said, “I congratulate each of you on your achievements and celebrate the hope and possibilities you take forward into our future world — a world which holds more promise because of the contributions you have made thus far, and one which you will continue to make brighter.”
She continued, “You have earned one of the most significant achievements of your lifetime under historically challenging circumstances. And yet — through the uncertainties and across distance — you overcame incredible difficulties with grace and unwavering resilience. … We are so very proud of each and every one of you.”
Everts acknowledged the App Sate families, faculty and staff who have supported, mentored, advised and/or worked alongside graduates throughout their Appalachian Experience. https://www.youtube.com/embed/h8gzhFAaFCs?rel=0&autohide=1&showinfo=0&enablejsapi=1&origin=https%3A%2F%2Ftoday.appstate.edu‘We did it!’ — Spring 2021 Commencement
Experience the sights and sounds of Appalachian State University's in-person Spring 2021 Commencement ceremonies.Show transcript
Byers, who brought greetings from the UNC Board of Governors and the UNC System Office, advised App State’s graduates to “take heed of your callings and remember the invaluable education you have received from Appalachian State University.”
“Your education at Appalachian State University has provided you well with the knowledge and skills you will need to achieve the goals and dreams you set forth,” he continued. “We all join you in your well-deserved celebration!”
On behalf of the university’s Board of Trustees, Lampe expressed the board’s pride in App State’s Class of 2021 graduates and their accomplishments.
“As you begin a new phase in your lives, we are confident that you are prepared for the future, no matter what it holds for you. We extend to you our sincerest congratulations and our very best wishes for continued success,” he said.
Provost Norris, who opened the ceremonies by welcoming graduates and their guests, recognized the university’s student veteran and military-affiliated graduates for their commitment to both their university studies and their service to the country.
In her virtual commencement remarks, Norris recognized the families and friends who helped App State’s Class of 2021 reach this milestone, noting these graduates are now among the more than 135,000 App State alumni who are making a difference in North Carolina and beyond.
“As you go forth into the next chapters of your lives, we hope you will stay connected with your alma mater,” Norris said. “Know that you always have a home here at App State.”
During the physically distanced ceremonies, graduates walked across the commencement stage, had their names announced — along with the Latin and/or departmental honors they received, and were professionally photographed receiving their diploma covers. The ceremonies included graduates from each of the university’s academic colleges.
App State’s commencement ceremonies concluded with a special performance of the university’s alma mater, prerecorded by Grammy-nominated country music star and former App State student Luke Combs.
The celebration continued as graduates left the arena and walked through Holmes Center’s Alumni Hall. Amidst clapping and cheering — and with the App State fight song playing in the background — each graduate was given a sharpie to sign the Class of 2021 banner. Families and professional photographers gathered to capture the graduates’ enthusiasm and elation. App State’s Alumni Association was responsible for organizing what one bystander described as “one huge party,” and provided giveaways in the alumni tent outside Holmes Center.
Recognizing teaching excellence
During the May 7 commencement ceremony held at 5 p.m., Byers was joined by Chancellor Everts in honoring Dr. Caroline Smith — App State’s winner of the 2021 UNC Board of Governors Excellence in Teaching Award. Established in 1994 to encourage, identify, recognize, reward and support great teaching, the Excellence in Teaching Awards are given annually to a faculty member from each UNC campus.
Smith, who received a medallion and cash prize as part of her award, is an associate professor in App State’s Department of Health and Exercise Science and serves as director of the university’s Thermal and Microvascular Physiology Laboratory.
Addressing Smith, Byers said, “You exemplify the heart and soul of Appalachian State University, and today, we thank you and your counterparts across the UNC System for your dedication to all of North Carolina’s students.”