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Appalachian holds spring commencement May 9 and 10

BOONE—More than 1,800 students are expected to receive their degrees during May commencement at Appalachian State University.

Each of the university’s seven degree-granting colleges or schools will hold individual ceremonies, either May 9 or May 10.

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Gill Beck_t2.jpgBeckJames Jordan.jpgJordanHugh Macrae “Crae” Morton III_t2.jpgMorton

The Reich College of Education will hold ceremonies Saturday, May 9, at 9 a.m. in the George M. Holmes Convocation Center. A video featuring graduates reflecting on their experiences in the Reich College of Education will be shown.

The Cratis D. Williams Graduate School will hold ceremonies Saturday, May 9, at 12:30 p.m. in the Holmes Center. Graduates and guests will view a video about graduate student research.

Graduates of the Walker College of Business will participate in ceremonies Saturday, May 9, at 4:30 p.m. in the Holmes Center. They will hear from alumnus and banker Kim Price.

Ceremonies for the College of Arts and Sciences and University College will begin at 9 a.m., Sunday, May 10, in the Holmes Center. Appalachian alumnus Gill Beck will be the speaker. Beck is a brigadier general in the Army Reserve and chief of the civil division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of North Carolina in Greensboro.

The Hayes School of Music will hold commencement Sunday, May 10, at 1 p.m. in Broyhill Music Center. James Jordan will be the guest speaker. Jordan is an associate professor of conducting at Rider University.

Graduates of the College of Fine and Applied Arts will hear from Hugh MacRae “Crae” Morton III during ceremonies Sunday, May 10, at 4 p.m. in the Holmes Convocation Center. Morton is president of Grandfather Mountain.

About the speakers

Kim Price
Price is president and CEO of Citizens South Bank in Gastonia. He captured the media spotlight with his creative plan to use $20.5 million in Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) funds to spur the sales new homes that have been constructed by builders who financed the construction through Citizens South.

Price began his banking career right after graduating from Appalachian in 1977. He started his career with First Citizens Bank and also worked with 1st Home Federal, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta and First National Bank of Shelby before joining Citizens South in 1997.

During the course of his career, Price has witnessed the ups and downs of the economy, but he says this recession is the most difficult he has ever seen.

A newspaper article about incentives that potential homeowners said would persuade them to purchase a home was the catalyst for Price’s plans for the TARP funding.

Gill Beck
Beck  graduated with a degree in English from Appalachian in 1978. As chief of the civil division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District, he is responsible for the prosecution and defense of civil litigation involving the United States and federal agencies in the state’s 24-county Piedmont region.  He also has served as an assistant U.S. attorney and received the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award for his participation in the recovery of $182 million as part of Operation LABSCAM.

Beck joined the Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG) with the 1st Infantry Division after earning a law degree from Duke University. He also served with the Third Armored Division, 82d Airborne Division, and the Army Litigation Division in the Pentagon.

While in the Reserve, Beck was deployed as staff judge advocate of Task Force 134 (Detainee Operations), Multi-National Force-Iraq at Camp Victory in Baghdad, Iraq, during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

He is the first graduate of Appalachian’s ROTC program to attain the rank of brigadier general.

James Jordan
Jordan is the conductor of The Westminster Williamson Voices at Westminster Choir College of Rider University. For 12 years, he served as conductor of The Westminster Chapel Choir. He is also the conductor of Anam Cara, a 20-voice professional choral ensemble based in Philadelphia.

Jordan is recognized and praised in the musical world as one of the nation’s pre-eminent conductors, writers and innovators in choral music. He has been called a “visionary” by The Choral Journal. His career and publications have been devoted to innovative educational changes in the choral art which have been embraced around the world.

A master teacher, Jordan’s pioneering writing and research concerning the use of Laban Movement Analysis for the teaching of conducting and movement to children has dramatically changed teaching in both of these disciplines. Called the “Father of the Case Study,” he was the first researcher to promote the idea of the case study as a viable and valuable form of research for the training and education of teachers.

Hugh MacRae “Crae” Morton III
Morton was named president of Grandfather Mountain Inc. in June 2005. He represents the fifth generation of the MacRae/Morton family to steward the mountain since 1885.

Morton grew up in Wilmington and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania.  He spent much of his early career as a radio producer, including three seasons with the Dallas Cowboys radio network.

He has taught and been a guest speaker at Appalachian and has directed internships for students in the university’s recreation management and communication programs.

Morton recently worked with North Carolina officials to make Grandfather Mountain the newest state park and convert the nature attraction to nonprofit status.  On March 31, N.C. Gov. Beverly Perdue signed the legislation that created this new status for the mountain. The Morton family made the decision to turn the property into a public entity to protect the land from development, creating conservation easements and allowing the land to be preserved for future generations.