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Appalachian’s Alumni Association honors four for outstanding service and distinguished careers

BOONE—Three Appalachian State University alumni and a member of the university’s Board of Trustees have been honored by the Appalachian Alumni Association for their contributions to the university and accomplishments in their professions.

The awards were presented April 25 during a banquet at the Broyhill Inn and Conference Center on campus.

The Outstanding Service Award was presented to Bradley T. Adcock of Cary. Jeff Reid of Washington, D.C., received the Young Alumnus Award. Brig. Gen. Gill Beck of Greensboro received the association’s Distinguished Alumnus Award. John Blackburn of Linville was named an honorary alumnus.

Bradley Adcock
Jeff Reid_t2.jpgJeff ReidGill Beck.jpgGill BeckJohn Blackburn_t2.jpgJohn Blackburn

“It’s an honor to receive this recognition,” Adcock said. “No matter what I am able to do for this university, it will never be as much as it has done for me.”

Adcock earned a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Appalachian in 1976 and began work toward a master of arts degree in political science. He is vice president for government affairs with Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina. Adcock is responsible for representing and protecting the interests of the insurance company and its subscribers in state, federal and local government affairs. He also is the company’s corporate spokesperson on matters related to health care reform and liaison to the North Carolina Department of Insurance.

In his role as a member of the UNC Board of Governors, Adcock is an advocate for Appalachian and helps shape policies and develop budgets that benefit the thousands of students enrolled in the UNC System universities. He helped with passage of the 2000 N.C. Higher Education Bonds referendum that provided $3.1 billion for construction, repairs and renovations at the state’s 16-public universities and 59 community colleges.

He also helped secure state funding for the George M. Holmes Convocation Center and the new College of Education building.

Adcock is a member of the Athletics Facilities Campaign Committee and has been instrumental in the university’s goal to renovate and expand athletics facilities on campus. He served on the athletics director and chancellor search committees, and has helped raise funds and public awareness about the university.

Adcock was a member of Appalachian’s Board of Trustees from 1995-97. During his tenure on the Board of Trustees, Adcock provided leadership and guidance into plans to construct the Chemistry, Astronomy and Physics Building, John Thomas Hall and the McKinney Alumni Center.

He received the College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Alumnus Award in 1999.

Beck graduated from Appalachian in 1978. He is chief of the civil division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of North Carolina in Greensboro, and is a brigadier general with the U.S. Army Reserve.

Beck said his time at Appalachian taught him to be a life-long learner. “My English professors opened up a whole world and showed me an appreciation of what we have as a culture and left me with a gift—an appreciation for our English language and literature,” he said. “That is teaching at its finest because you have created a lifelong learner.”

As a U.S. Attorney, Beck 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 received the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award for his participation in the recovery of $182 million as part of Operation LABSCAM.

The N.C. Bar Association presented Beck with the Government and Public Sector’s Distinguished Attorney Award as the top government attorney in North Carolina and the Legal Assistance for Military Personnel Distinguished Service Award.

A third-generation Mountaineer, Beck was captain of the football team his senior year. He has been inducted into the Caldwell County, Appalachian and Academic All-American Athletic halls of fame.

A cadet in Appalachian’s ROTC program, Beck served four years in the U.S. Army. He returned to school to earn a law degree from Duke University, where was a senior editor for the Journal of Law & Contemporary Problems.

Beck returned to military service after graduating from Duke and joined the Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG) with the 1st Infantry Division. He also served with the Third Armored Division, 82nd Airborne Division, and the Army Litigation Division in the Pentagon.

Following 13 years with the JAG Corps, and after three years in private practice, Beck joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Greensboro. He continued his military service in the U.S Army Reserve.

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. Most recently, Beck served as the executive officer and chief of staff for the Army General Counsel.

Beck’s military awards include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Medal. In 2001, Beck received the Judge Advocate Association’s Award as the top Reserve Component Judge Advocate in the U.S. Army.

In 2008, Beck was promoted to brigadier general with the U.S. Army Reserve, the first graduate of Appalachian’s ROTC program to attain that rank.

A 1993 graduate of Appalachian’s Walker College of Business, Reid served as a member and officer in the Appalachian Student Ambassadors organization, represented the student body as a member of the Student Government Association and served on the vice chancellor for student development’s leadership cabinet.

“There are very few things that could make me happier than to be honored by this wonderful institution,” Reid said.  He spoke of the opportunities he had as a student and graduate to work with former chancellors John E. Thomas and Francis T. Borkowski. “They were such great role models for me. There are very few things about leadership that I didn’t learn while I was a student at Appalachian.”

After graduation, Reid worked for a year with the non-profit Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) in Washington, D.C. He returned to Appalachian after a year to work in the Office of Admissions and as a special assistant to the chancellor. He quickly became involved with the Alumni Council and the Alumni Corporate Committee, and he also chaired the Seby Jones Scholarship Committee. He currently is an adviser to the university’s Center for Entrepreneurship.

After earning an MBA degree from UNC Chapel Hill, Reid was named the founding executive director for the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, a university-based center at UNC Chapel Hill that focuses on entrepreneurship education and economic development. During his eight years at the center, Reid grew the program from its inception to a No. 1 national ranking by the Princeton Review and Forbes Magazine.

Reid continued his support of others’ entrepreneurial efforts as a client development executive for a global law firm, focusing on the recruitment and support entrepreneurial clients and as general manager of the southeast region for Digital Bridge Communications.

Reid has received several awards for his work in entrepreneurship, including the U.S. Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship’s “National Instructional Pedagogy Award for Excellence in Entrepreneurship Education and the Triangle Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” Leadership Award.

Currently, Reid is executive director for the Greater Washington, D.C., National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE). NFTE is an organization that improves the lives of thousands of young people from low-income communities through of entrepreneurship education. Reid is responsible for managing and growing NFTE’s regional operations.

Blackburn, president of Linville Resorts Inc., is chair of Appalachian’s Board of Trustees, a position he will relinquish in July to begin a four-year term on the University of North Carolina Board of Governors.

Blackburn was appointed to the Board of Trustees in 2005. He equated his time on the board to going back to school. “My first assignment was to get involved in diversity at this institution,” he said. As a result, he led efforts to establish scholarships for students from underrepresented populations on campus as well as students from low-income families.

During his second year on the Board of Trustees he became involved with the university’s Athletics Facilities Enhancement Campaign. “It made me appreciate that we do sports right here at Appalachian. There is more to being a student at Appalachian State than just being in the classroom,” Blackburn said. “It’s about going to football games, it’s respecting each other, it’s being involved in social situations which make them better human beings.”

Blackburn said that during his four years on the Board of Trustees he had learned how to think more globally, to respond more thoughtfully and to be open to new ideas.

Blackburn served on the University of North Carolina’s UNC Tomorrow Commission, which has helped the 16-campus system develop plans to meet the needs of the state’s citizens for the next two decades.

He is a member of the boards of Charles A. Cannon Jr. Memorial Hospital, Watauga Medical Center and Appalachian Regional Healthcare System. He also is a member of the board of trustees of Crossnore School Inc., a children’s home and school in Avery County.

Blackburn also is chairman of the Gordon and Mary Cain Scholarship Program in Avery County, a member of the Linville Foundation, and co-founder and chair of the YMCA of Avery County.