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Ceremony recognizes Appalachian State University’s Willie C. Fleming Scholars

By Elisabeth Wall

BOONE—Seven Dr. Willie C. Fleming Scholarship recipients were recognized at a ceremony Friday, Oct. 21, in the Solarium of the Plemmons Student Union – four of whom potentially will complete four years at Appalachian State University incurring no in-state tuition and fees.

View larger imageFrom left, Judge Gary Henderson ’92 ’94, one of the scholarship fund initiators; Fleming scholarship recipients Dejon McCoy-Milbourne, Abraham Howell, Halea Mitchell and Sarah Miner; and Chancellor Sheri N. Everts.View larger imageDr. Willie C. Fleming appreciates a framed document featuring his own photograph.

The 2016-17 scholars, all from North Carolina, are: Abraham Howell of Charlotte, Halea Mitchell of Shelby, Dejon McCoy-Milbourne of Fayetteville and Sarah Miner of Charlotte. The 2015-16 scholars are Troy Boyd of Stanley, Latanya Gordon of Fayetteville and Jasmine Henderson of Charlotte.

In February, the Dr. Willie C. Fleming Scholarship committee interviewed 11 applicants with the intent of awarding four $1,000 scholarships – three one-time scholarships and one four-year renewable scholarship. After the interview process, the leadership at Appalachian decided to allocate more resources for these scholarships as a way of recruiting historically underrepresented students. Howell, Milbourne, Mitchell and Miner were awarded a scholarship that covers full in-state tuition and fees, renewable up to eight semesters.

The scholarship honors Dr. Willie C. Fleming ’80 ’84, a former minority student advisor and founder of the Appalachian Gospel Choir and the Black Student Association, and a founding member of the Black Faculty and Staff Association. Fleming also was instrumental in bringing Black Greek Life to Appalachian and was a charter member of the Pi Nu Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.

At the ceremony, Chancellor Sheri N. Everts welcomed and congratulated the scholars. She was introduced by Reneé Evans ’97 ’99 and Brian Scott McCullough ’89 ’98 and followed by Judge Gary Henderson ’92 ’94, all members of the Appalachian African-American Alumni Network (AAAN). These alumni and AAAN President Alicia Farrer ’85, who also shared remarks at the ceremony, were instrumental in establishing the scholarship and served on the committee that expanded the scholarships’ scope last spring.

The scholarship is funded by the AAAN, donors and friends of the university.

In her remarks at the ceremony, Leah Beth Hubbard, director of scholarships at Appalachian, said, “The Dr. Willie C. Fleming Scholarship was created to support students who … face adversity with courage and motivation, students who strive to better the world around them before saying ‘What is in it for me?’ and students who fight for what they know is right.” She said these qualities are mirrored by Fleming, who sets an example for the scholars.

About the Dr. Willie C. Fleming Scholarship

The Fleming Scholarship was established to support qualifying freshmen who are historically underrepresented and demonstrate a desire to promote cultural diversity and show verifiable need. Members of the Appalachian African-American Alumni Network led the effort and contributed to establish the endowed scholarship. A $250,000 grant from Wells Fargo in addition to contributions from the university’s black student population, members of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, other alumni, friends, and faculty and staff have funded the endowment.

About Appalachian State University

Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 18,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.