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Appalachian’s College of Health Sciences named for Hickory-area businessman

BOONE—The College of Health Sciences at Appalachian State University has been named for an Appalachian alumnus and pioneer in the health care industry – Donald C. Beaver of Conover.

While he may be best known as owner of several minor league baseball teams in the South, Beaver first made his mark as the developer and CEO of a group of skilled nursing facilities in the state.

View larger imageAppalachian State University’s College of Health Sciences has been named for Donald C. Beaver of Conover. Beaver is a graduate of Appalachian and a leader in the health care industry. He is pictured with his wife, Vickie. (Photo by Marie Freeman)

Beaver earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Appalachian in 1962 and a Master of Arts Degree in 1964. Following graduation, he worked at Watauga Hospital (now Watauga Medical Center) as an accountant, after which he was an administrator at Richard Baker Hospital (now Frye Regional Medical Center) in Hickory for seven years.

“Appalachian prepared me for a successful career in the health care industry,” Beaver said. “The health care industry is changing, and there is more demand for top flight health care leaders to handle the increase in patient population. I’m happy that I’m able to support the College of Health Sciences in their efforts to broaden the program to meet the demands of the future.”

Beaver and the Beaver Family Foundation have made a leadership commitment to support the College of Health Sciences.

Chancellor Sheri N. Everts said, “Since its founding in 2010, the College of Health Sciences has seen phenomenal growth. With the number of majors almost doubling, this stellar college needs a home to provide classroom and lab space, offer a centralized hub for faculty, and support the growth due to the demand of students who want careers in health care. This recognition honors Mr. Beaver’s career in the health care industry, his service to Appalachian, and generous financial support to the College of Health Sciences which will provide critical funding for Appalachian’s important role in providing better access to health care in our state.”

“This is definitely a transformative moment in the history of our College of Health Sciences,” stated Dr. Fred Whitt, the founding dean. “This support will benefit our students and faculty in so many ways, as it will allow us to plan for the future and expand support services for our students. The Donald C. Beaver legacy is one we are proud to be part of, and I have no doubt that having his name affiliated with the college will impact every student who graduates with a degree from the College of Health Sciences.”

Beaver founded the Brian Center Corporation in 1973 and was its CEO until 1995 when the group of 50 nursing homes in five states merged with Living Centers of America. He served as vice chairman of Living Centers of America from 1995-97.

Currently, he is president and CEO of Universal Health Care, which provides short- and long-term medical and rehabilitation care, and president of Choice Health Management Services, its management division.

Beaver has been a member of Appalachian’s Board of Trustees since 2014 when he was appointed to a four-year term by Gov. Pat McCrory. He also has served on the Appalachian State University Foundation Board of Directors. His support of the university includes Appalachian Athletics, the Yosef Club, the university’s annual fund called The Appalachian Fund, and the Walker College of Business. Beaver was honorary chairman of Appalachian’s first large fundraising campaign in the 1980s.

He is majority owner of the Charlotte Knights, Hickory Crawdads and New Orleans Zephyrs minor league baseball teams and a minority partner of the Pittsburgh Pirates. He is also CEO of the Rock Barn Golf & Spa in Conover and the Statesville Golf & Country Club.

He was named a distinguished alumnus by Appalachian’s Alumni Association in 1990, received the N.C. Health Care Facilities Association’s Distinguished Service Award in 1992 and was named Lenoir-Rhyne College’s Business Man of the Year in 2004.

He was inducted into the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum Hall of Excellence in 1999, the South Atlantic League Hall of Fame in 2003 and the Catawba County Hall of Fame in 2006.

The College of Health Sciences (CHS) was formed in 2010 and was the first new college at Appalachian in 40 years. Student growth in CHS has more than doubled since the college began, and over 3,300 health science majors are currently pursing degrees in 15 different program areas. The College of Health Sciences is now the second largest college at Appalachian, and the designs are underway for a new 203,000 square foot health sciences building.