Appalachian State was founded as a teacher's college in 1899 by brothers B.B. and D.D. Dougherty. It expanded to include other programs in 1967, and joined the University of North Carolina system in 1971. It is the sixth largest institution in the system with about 18,000 undergraduate and 2,000 graduate students. 103 undergraduate and 49 graduate majors are offered, as well as a doctoral degree in educational leadership.
The university has been ranked among the top 10 Southern Master's Universities since the U.S. News and World Report's America's Best Colleges Guide began publication in 1986.
Appalachian State University began in 1899 when a group of citizens in Watauga County, under the leadership of Blanford B. Dougherty and his brother Dauphin D. Dougherty, began a movement to educate teachers in northwestern North Carolina. Land was donated by Daniel B. Dougherty, father of the leaders in the enterprise, and by J. F. Hardin. On this site a wood frame building, costing $1,000, was erected by contributions from citizens of the town and county. In the fall of 1899, the Dougherty brothers, acting as co-principals, began the school which was named Watauga Academy. The first year saw 53 students enrolled in three grades.
In 1903, after interest in the school had spread to adjoining counties, D. D. Doughterty was convinced the state would fund institutions established to train teachers. He traveled to the state capital, Raleigh, after drafting a bill. W. C. Newland of Caldwell County introduced the bill in the North Carolina Legislature to make this a state school, with an appropriation for maintenance and for building. Captain E. F. Lovill of Watauga County, R. B. White of Franklin County, Clyde Hoey of Cleveland County and E. J. Justice of McDowell County spoke in favor of the measure. On March 9, 1903, the bill became law, and the Appalachian Training School for Teachers was established. The school opened on October 5, 1903 with $2,000 from the state and 325 students.
For twenty-two years there was a period of steady growth, academic development, and valuable service to the State. In 1925, the legislature changed the name to the Appalachian State Normal School and appropriated additional funding for maintenance and permanent improvement. Four years later, in 1929, the school became a four-year degree granting institution and was renamed Appalachian State Teachers College. Over 1,300 students were enrolled in degree programs offered for primary grades education, physical education, math, English, science, and history.
Appalachian State Teachers College Seal
Appalachian attained national standards by becoming accredited by the American Association for Teacher Education in 1939, and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in 1942. In 1948 a Graduate School was formed. Dr. Dougherty retired in 1955, after 56 years of serving the school. J. D. Rankin became interim president until Dr. William H. Plemmons was installed. Plemmons lead from 1955 to 1969, and his administration oversaw the addition of new buildings as the campus expanded and enrollment grew to nearly 5,000 students.
Appalachian was transformed from a single-purpose teacher’s college into a multipurpose regional university and Appalachian State Teacher’s College became Appalachian State University in 1967. Growth continued in the 1970s to around 9,500 students and 550 faculty. Afterward, four degree granting undergraduate colleges were created: Arts and Sciences, Business, Fine and Applied Arts, and Education. Dr. Herbert Wey succeeded Plemmons as president in 1969 and was named chancellor in 1971. In 1972 Appalachian State became part of the University of North Carolina system.
A view from Sanford Mall. From left to right is D.D. Dougherty Hall, Belk Library, and Plemmons Student Union
Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of northwestern North Carolina, Appalachian State University has one of the highest elevations of any university in the United States east of the Mississippi River, at 3,333 feet (1,016 m). The university's main campus is in downtown Boone, a town that supports a population of 13,328, compared to a total ASU enrollment of 15,871 students. The campus encompasses 1,300 acres (5.3 km2), including a main campus of 410 acres (1.7 km2) with 21 residence halls, four dining facilities, 19 academic buildings, and 11 recreation/athletic facilities.
The center of campus is nicknamed Sanford Mall, an open grassy quad between the student union, dining halls, and library. Sanford Hall, located on the mall's edge, is named for Terry Sanford, a former governor of the state. Rivers Street, a thoroughfare for town and university traffic, essentially divides the campus into east and west sections with underground tunnels and a pedestrian bridge connecting the two-halves. The eastern half includes Sanford Mall, Plemmons Student Union, the Central Dining Hall, and Belk Library, along with two communities of residence halls, Eastridge and Pinnacle. The campus on the west side has Trivette Dining Hall, the Student Recreation Center (or SRC), the Quinn Recreation Center, Kidd Brewer Stadium, and Stadium Heights and Yosef Hollow, the two remaining residence hall communities. At the north end of campus, Bodenheimer Drive crosses over Rivers Street and leads to Appalachian Heights (an apartment-style residence hall), Mountaineer Hall, the Chancellor's House, The Living Learning Center, the Broyhill Inn and Conference Center, and Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium. The George M. Holmes Convocation Center, located at the south end of Rivers Street is the gateway and entrance to campus.
The Turchin Center for the Visual Arts, located on the edge of main campus, is the university's visual art center. The Turchin Center is the largest visual arts center in northwestern North Carolina, eastern Tennessee, and southwestern Virginia. It displays rotating exhibits indoors and outdoors, some exhibits being culturally specific to the Appalachians, and offers community outreach programs through art courses. The newly renovated Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts, a 1,635 seat performance venue, hosts artists from around the world.
The University of North Carolina's Board of Governors plans and develops the coordinated system of higher education with the state. They establish university policy but delegate daily operation of Appalachian State to a chancellor. The chancellor likewise delegates some duties to the provost, several vice-chancellors, and other administrative offices. These administrative offices are advised by several university committees on the needs of campus constituents, as represented by a Faculty Senate, Staff Senate, Graduate Student Association Senate, and the Student Government Association.
Ranked 5th overall among regional public comprehensive universities in the South and 10th overall among public and private universities in the South in U.S. News & World Report's 'America's Best Colleges 2008'.
Ranked 21st in Consumers Digest magazine's 2007 edition of 'Top 50 Best Values for Public Colleges and Universities'.
In 2005, the Carol Grotnes Belk Library & Information Commons opened in a new 165,000 square feet (15,300 m2) five story building. Belk Library holds over 1,871,000 bound books and periodicals, 1.5 million microforms, 24,000 sound recordings, and 14,000 videos. The Library holds varying collections, including the W.L Eury Appalachian Collection for regional studies and the Stock Car Racing Collection. Besides serving university patrons, the library also serves as a public library for the local community, although circulation is available only to registered patrons.
Appalachian State offers 103 undergraduate and 49 graduate majors. The average GPA for incoming freshman in 2009 was 3.92. Courses at Appalachian are organized into 8 colleges and 1 graduate school:
The College of Arts and Sciences houses 15 programs in the humanities, social sciences, math, and natural science. The departments in the college are:
The College of Health Sciences trains healthcare workers in areas such as nursing, nutrition, communication disorders, exercise science, and health care management.
The Honors College accepts both incoming freshmen and qualified students already attending the University. Students live in one of two Honors residence halls and take at least one honors class per semester. The college also helps students with career or graduate school planning, and connects students with study abroad trips or fellowships.
The Mariam Cannon Hayes School of Music offers the following undergraduate programs in music performance and industry:
Off-campus programs offer students the ability to maintain family and careers while working toward a degree. Full-time undergraduate programs are available in Elementary Education, Advertising, Criminal Justice, Management, Social Work and Psychology. Appalachian provides a variety of off-campus, part-time undergraduate and graduate programs.
The University's faculty contribute to a variety of peer reviewed journals as listed by the Belk Library's faculty publications database, and members of its Department of Physics and Astronomy serve as editors for the nationally distinguished journal The Physics Teacher.
Students at ASU enjoy a variety of outdoor activities. The mountains offer snowboarding, skiing, tubing, rock climbing, hiking, rafting, camping, and fishing on and around the Blue Ridge Parkway. ASU also has over 200 clubs and organizations run by the McCaskey Center for Student Involvement and Leadership, such as Greek organizations, academic and diversity clubs, and sports clubs. The university also has volunteer centers including the Multicultural Center, the LGBT Center, and the Women's Center (which is the only completely volunteer run Women's Center in the state of North Carolina). All three centers are under the supervision of the Multicultural Student Development Office.
Appalachian State University leads in creating a world where environmental, societal, and economic qualities exist in balance to meet the resource needs of today and of future generations.
Appalachian has made many sustainable strides in recent years such as:
A 100KW wind turbine was installed at the Broyhill Inn and Conference Center in 2008. The wind turbine has become the iconic symbol of Appalachian's commitment to renewable energy. Situated at the highest point on campus and standing more than 153 feet tall, it was selected specifically to depict an industry-scale wind turbine, thus educating the entire region. As of May 2012, the turbine had produced over 311,000 kWh, enough energy to sustain 336 homes for one month.
Both Frank Residence Hall, renovated in 2009, and The Mountaineer Residence Hall erected in 2011 have LEED® Gold Certifications. and received a total of 68 points based on its energy saving and sustainability features. Sixty-five points are needed to receive gold certification. Mountaineer Residence Hall houses a 40-panel solar thermal system to provide hot water needs. Besides Frank and Mountaineer Halls, many of the buildings on ASU's campus also utilize solar energy. Some of these buildings include the Varsity Gym, Plemmons Student Union, Raley Hall, and Kerr Scott Hall. Kerr Scott Hall also has the first green roof on campus. The green roof works to conserve energy by providing shade and removing heat from the air through evapotranspiration.
Appalachian Food Services advocates the concepts of reduce, reuse and recycle in all campus food services operations. Appalachian Food Services seeks to create a local and sustainable food system. Pre- and post-consumer food waste goes to a composting facility turning the rubbish into compost that is used by Appalachian's Landscape Services as fertilizers.
The University Bookstore is locally owned and operated. It offers shoppers a wide variety of sustainable products such as: reusable water bottles, environmentally friendly color pencils, art supplies made with 100% windpower, recycled notebooks, recycled office paper, environmentally friendly binders, recycled notecards, environmentally friendly computer bags and "sustain Appalachian" T-shirts made of 50% recycled plastic bottles and 50% organic cotton.
The AppalCART is a free transportation service that serves the campus and surrounding community members and offers a more sustainable alternative to single passenger cars. The AppalCART and university's diesel fleet of vans and cars run on a mixture known as B20 for most of the year. B20 is a blend of petro- and biodiesel. Biofuels reduce dangerous greenhouse gas emissions.
Four BigBelly Solar Compactors were installed around Sanford mall in 2010. The BigBelly Solar Compactor is a patented compacting trash receptacle that is completely self-powered. Instead of requiring a grid connection, BigBelly uses solar power for 100% of its energy needs. The BigBelly unit takes up only as much space as the footprint of an ordinary trash receptacle, but its capacity is five times greater which saves money on labor costs.
Outside of the Living Learning Center sits The Edible Schoolyard which is a community space where students, faculty and staff can maintain a garden plot to learn proper gardening practices. At this garden space, healthy farming and gardening principles are shared resulting in an understanding of the need for productive maintenance of agricultural ecosystems in a long-term pursuit of self-sufficiency and permaculture.
The Environment-Economy-Ecology, or the E3, house sits outside of the JET Building on Campus. The E3 house was built by students in the building science and appropriate technology programs at Appalachian State University. The ASU Renewable Energy Initiative allocated $30,000 towards the photovoltaic (PV) rooftop array. The 500-square-foot house is used to test innovative technologies in building practices. Unlike most compact and transportable shelters, the structure is designed to be self-sufficient and adaptable to a variety of environmental and cultural situations. The design incorporates a blend of structural insulated panels for assembly speed and strength, combined with local construction techniques to create an energy-efficient envelope. It can accommodate up to five occupants. The building's energy-efficient features include use of structural insulated panels (SIPs) for the building's exterior walls and roof. The panels have an insulation R-value of 30, compared to R-19 in typical home construction. The building also has solar panels, which generate energy needs for the occupants, a system to collect rainwater from the roof, and low-flow plumbing fixtures. The PV array uses 16 panels to produce an estimated 3,745 kWh per year.
Kidd Brewer Stadium is the 30,000 seat home of Appalachian football. Affectionately nicknamed "The Rock", the stadium is located at an elevation of 3,333 feet (1,016 m).
Holmes Convocation Center
The George M. Holmes Convocation Center is the home court for Appalachian's basketball teams. The 200,840-square-foot (18,659 m2) arena, with seating for 8,325, is also the home for volleyball and indoor track and field.
University Recreation (UREC) also offers 19 club sports that compete with other regional institutions on a non-varsity level. They are: lacrosse (men's and women's), rugby (men's and women's), soccer (men's and women's), ultimate frisbee (men's and women's), volleyball (men's and women's), climbing, cycling, equestrian, fencing, ice hockey, skiing, racquetball, snowboarding, swimming, and triathlon.
On February 19, 2011, the Appalachian State Mountaineer Women's Basketball Team won the 2011 Southern Conference regular season title, the last time they had won the title was 1996. This is a first for Head Coach Darcie Vincent. On May 18, 2012, the Appalachian State Baseball team beat Western Carolina University, becoming Southern Conference baseball champions for the first time since 1985.
In a milestone for ASU athletics, on September 1, 2007, the Appalachian State football team played their season opener at the fifth-rankedUniversity of Michigan in front of the largest crowd to ever witness an ASU football game. Appalachian State beat Michigan in the game that would become known as the "Alltime Upset" by Sports Illustrated with a final score of 34–32 and became the first Division I FCS (I-AA) football team to defeat a Division I FBS (I-A) team ranked in the AP poll.
The Hayes School of Music provides support for the Mountaineers at all home football games with the Marching Mountaineers, and at all home basketball games with the Appalachian Pep Band. The Marching Mountaineers travel to a select few away games each football season. The director of the Athletic Bands is Dr. Kevin Richardson. In addition to supporting the athletic department, the Marching Mountaineers have assisted the Rho Tau Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia in hosting the Appalachian Marching Band Festival annually.
In 2004, a committee for the Appalachian Family Caravan tour created a promotional video titled "Hot Hot Hot," shown throughout the area by Chancellor Kenneth E. Peacock. The video became an inadvertent internet phenomenon and was featured on VH1’s Web Junk 20 program in early 2006. The video was never intended to promote Appalachian State to anyone but the Family Caravan, much less as a recruiting tool for prospective students. The video is no longer used by the university, due to student and alumni protests.
In 2002, MTV's program Road Rules visited ASU to produce an episode called Campus Crawl, aired on-campus during an annual, winter student swimming event called the "Polar Plunge". The shows participants also crossed a high-wire strung between Coltrane and Gardner Halls.
On March 16, 2012, Appalachian State placed a tenured sociology professor on administrative leave for a variety of charges, which included showing an anti-pornography documentary, The Price of Pleasure. This move gained national attention from the academic community.
Belus Smawley – basketball pioneer, one of the inventors of the jump shot
Coaker Triplett – Two-sport star and baseball team captain, MLB outfielder for the Cubs, Cardinals and Phillies from 1938–45, player-manager for Triple-A Buffalo Bisons, and member of the Appalachian State Athletic Hall of Fame since 1976