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Interim Chancellor Dr. Heather Norris Update from App State — Friday, June 28, 2024

Last Updated on July 1, 2024 11:23 am

Friday, June 28, 2024

An Appalachian Summer Festival’s 40th anniversary is just one milestone in our university’s 125-year history. Tomorrow night, when the curtains rise on the first show of the season — a much-anticipated and sold-out concert by Natalie Merchant — we will have another opportunity to reflect on the many people (some of whom will be in the audience) who have contributed to the world-class university App State is today. Like many, I’m looking forward to a great season of events!

Begun as a chamber music series in 1984, An Appalachian Summer Festival quickly grew to become one of the nation’s most highly celebrated arts events, respected for both the breadth and quality of its artistic programming.

Each year brings a diverse mix of music, dance, theatre, visual arts and film programming to the High Country to create opportunities for lifelong learning and meaningful engagement with the arts. I am proud that our university hosts this annual festival, which offers an opportunity to also showcase multiple venues on our Boone campus to new audiences, including the Turchin Center for the Visual ArtsRosen Concert Hall in the Broyhill Music Center, the Holmes Convocation CenterKidd Brewer Stadium, and, of course, the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts.

An Appalachian Summer Festival was the vision of its founders, Arnold and Muriel Rosen, to support and promote young artists in their professional endeavors. The festival began under the leadership of Chancellor John Thomas and has grown and thrived for 40 years because of its Founders Society, as well as the continued support of the greater community. A generous gift from Bonnie and Jamie Schaefer transformed the festival's signature venue, the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts, into a state-of-the art performance hall in 2013. The Schaefers continue to support the festival annually, ensuring we can bring world-class performances to the High Country. On behalf of the university, I extend a thank-you, and a huge round of applause, to all of the contributors and performers who make each year’s festival memorable.

Yesterday, I had the privilege of speaking with the participants of App State’s Frontline to Farm training programThis program is designed to assist and support military veterans who are starting out in the sustainable farming business, while also offering opportunities for reconnection to those who have served our country through their military service. It was a great evening, and one more example of the important work App State does in support of our military community and their families. Thank you to co-directors Dr. Anne Fanatico and Dr. Lynn Gibbard for their dedication to the success of this program.

At last week’s App State Athletics 2024 Legends Gala, we celebrated our past and present student-athletes, and invested in our future. The event was a lot of fun and a tremendous success, raising over $340,000 this year in support of our athletics programs and student-athletes. It was a pleasure to join so many students, alumni and supporters for this inspiring evening.

As we continue a year of celebrations honoring our university’s 125-year history, I encourage you to follow the university’s FacebookInstagramX (formerly Twitter) and LinkedIn accounts, where you’ll find many fun facts and historical photos. And, if you have not seen this poignant video produced by our University Communications team, watch it now — you may need a tissue, or an extra hand to hold all of your App State pride.

Also, please mark your calendars for Sept. 26, when our Founders Day celebration will focus on Appalachian State University’s 125 years of providing access to education for the families and communities of the High Country and beyond.

I wish everyone a wonderful holiday week.

Heather Norris
Interim Chancellor

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