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Plemmons Leadership Medallion Presented to Campus Leaders

BOONE–Four outstanding campus leaders at Appalachian State University have received the W.H. Plemmons Leadership Medallion. The award recognizes faculty, staff and students who have contributed to the betterment of students’ lives outside the classroom.

It is named for the university’s second president and will be presented during Convocation Sept. 4 on campus.Award recipients are Harvey R. Durham, acting chancellor and former provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs; Robert Feid, associate vice chancellor for student development; Pat Knight, a professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction; and recent graduates Dennis L. Jackson and Seth R. Wood.

Durham has served Appalachian and its students for more than 38 years in various leadership roles, including professor, department chair and vice chancellor for academic affairs. He was named the university’s interim chancellor in June, postponing his retirement plans.

In a letter of nomination, colleague Bill Ward wrote that Durham had helped preserve Appalachian’s tradition as a student-centered university.

“Time and again, his actions have reflected his clear conviction that the most important task of a university administrator is to see that students are well served,” Ward wrote. “When discussing institutional issues, his ultimate concern has been with identifying and choosing the option that will be in the best interests of those whose education has been entrusted to us.”

Feid came to Appalachian in 1975. He oversees the student development division’s financial aid and housing operations.

“Bob has always been student-centered and student-focused,” wrote co-worker Rick Geis. “Bob sincerely believes and has demonstrated that student development professionals have always been here to educate and serve our students. He has always been a great steward of students and their parents’ financial contributions to their education.”

Knight has been a member of the faculty at Appalachian since 1972. He has served as co-counselor and treasurer of Kappa Delta Pi international honor society. He has coordinated the elementary education component of the Appalachian Learning Alliance since 1997. The alliance is a partnership between Appalachian and 10 community colleges that offers university-level degree completion programs on the community college campuses.

Knight also coordinates the elementary education program within the Reich College of Education. His other activities include past assistant dean of the Reich College of Education, past director of extension instruction and distance learning and past coordinator of the graduate intern program.

He is a past recipient of the UNC Board of Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, the University Trustee Award for Outstanding Teaching and the Reich College of Education Innovations in Teaching Award.

Charlotte resident Jackson graduated this summer with a degree in management. Active in a variety of student organizations and activities, Jackson was a member of the W.H. Plemmons Fellow Program from 1999-2003. The Plemmons Program combines both in-class and out-of-class learning opportunities and experiences designed to provide participants with leadership development opportunities. Fellows must maintain a 3.0 cumulative grade point average while at Appalachian.

Jackson assisted with the university’s summer orientation program, worked as a residence hall assistant and was active in the Student Government Association. He was a member of the varsity cheerleading squad and elected Homecoming King in 2001. He also served as a peer mentor for the Black Student Association.

Jackson also served on the University Recreational Sports Advisory Committee and the Equity Office Advisory Board.

“His activities, his presence and his spirit certainly represent what is best about students at Appalachian,” says Dino DeBernardi, advisor for the Plemmons Fellow Program

Wood from Beaufort, S.C., graduated in May with a bachelor of arts degree in English.

While at Appalachian, he was active in the Office of Student Judicial Affairs as a student counselor and community service coordinator. He also assisted with parent orientation, which coincides with student orientation in the summer. He was active with the university’s volunteer clearinghouse ACT (Appalachian and the Community Together).

“Seth is a visionary,” wrote nominator Judith Haas, director of the university’s student judicial affairs office. “When he speaks, students and parents listen. He values knowledge and seeks it through books, people and experiences. He also is a man of honor and integrity.”