Appalachian State University  (also referred to as Appalachian, App State, App, ASU) is a comprehensive (Master's L), public, coeducational university in Boone, North Carolina, United States.
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 system's sixth largest institution with about 17,000 undergraduate and 1,800 graduate students. It offers 176 undergraduate and 42 graduate majors 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 22 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 teachers' 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 of 18,834 compared to an ASU enrollment of 18,811 students. The campus encompasses 1,300 acres (5.3 km2), including a main campus of 410 acres (1.7 km2) with 20 residence halls, 3 main dining facilities, 30 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, Roess Dining Hall (formerly known as Central Dining Hall), and Belk Library, along with two communities of residence halls. 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, 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, and Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium. The George M. Holmes Convocation Center at the south end of Rivers Street is the gateway and entrance to campus.
The Turchin Center for the Visual Arts 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 set university policy but delegate Appalachian State's daily operations 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.
- Dr. B.B. Dougherty (1899–1955)
- Dr. J.D. Rankin (1955, Interim)
- Dr. William H. Plemmons (1955–1969)
- Dr. Herbert Wey (1969–1971)
- Dr. Herbert Wey (1971–1979)
- Dr. Cratis Williams (1975, Acting)
- Dr. John E. Thomas (1979–1993)
- Dr. Francis T. Borkowski (1993–2003)
- Provost Harvey Durham (2003–2004, Interim)
- Dr. Kenneth E. Peacock (2004–2014)
- Dr. Sheri Noren Everts (2014–present)
Rankings and recognition
- Recognized by TIME magazine as a 'College of the Year' in 2001.
- Featured in The Princeton Review's 2008 edition of America's Best Value Colleges.
- 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'.
- Ranked 27th in Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine's 2008 edition of '100 Best Values in Public Colleges'.
- Ranked 22nd in Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine's 2009 edition of '100 Best Values in Public Colleges'.
- Ranked 9th in U.S. News and World Report magazine's 2017 'Best Regional Universities in the South'
- Ranked 28th in Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine's 2016 edition 'Best College Value'.
- Ranked 315th in Forbes' "America's Top Colleges 2016".
- Ranked 6th in the College Factual 2018 rankings for universities in North Carolina for veteran friendliness.
In 2005, the Carol Grotnes Belk Library & Information Commons opened in a new 165,000-square-foot (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. With the opening of the new library building in 2005, Bill and Maureen Rhinehart of Long Island, New York, donated a large collection of rare books in English history, spanning from the 16th to the 19th centuries.The university created a special collections room for this valuable donation which includes some 900 volumes comprising nearly 450 titles.The entire collection was published in two volumes of an annotated bibliography, comprised by retired English professor Dr. M. John Higby. Both volumes comprise almost 240 pages and are excellent in both scholarship and thoroughness.It was the last major endeavor of his distinguished career in education. The library is also home to an impressive stock car racing collection including a donation from the family of Richard “The King” Petty.  Besides serving university patrons, the library also serves the local community with circulation available to registered patrons. Young visitors to the library might enjoy the Instructional Materials Center (IMC) on the lower level of the building. With an extensive collection of both children's and young adult books, the IMC is also home to Frederick the Alaskan Brown Bear. Frederick came to live in 1980 and was recently restored former furry glory by Rex and Susan Emerson.
Appalachian State offers 176 undergraduate and 42 graduate majors. The average GPA for incoming freshmen in 2017 was 4.20. Courses at Appalachian are organized into eight colleges and one graduate school:
The College of Arts and Sciences houses 16 programs in the humanities, social sciences, math, and natural science. The departments in the college are:
- Computer Science
- Cultural, Gender, and Global Studies
- Geography and Planning
- Geological and Environmental Sciences
- Government and Justice Studies
- Languages, Literatures and Cultures
- Mathematical Sciences
- Philosophy and Religion
- Physics and Astronomy
The College of Fine and Applied Arts has 7 departments:
- Applied Design
- Military Science and Leadership
- Sustainable Development
- Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment
- Theatre and Dance
The College of Health Sciences trains healthcare workers in areas such as nursing, nutrition, communication disorders, exercise science, and health care management. It offers 10 undergraduate degrees:
- Athletic Training
- Communication Sciences & Disorders
- Exercise Science
- Health Care Management
- Public Health
- Nutrition and Foods
- Health & Physical Education
- Recreation management
- Social Work
The College of Health Sciences also offers 6 graduate degree programs.
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:
- Music Education
- Music Industry Studies
- Music Performance
- Music Therapy
In addition, graduate degrees are offered in Music Therapy and Music Education, and there is a certificate in Jazz Music.
The Reich College of Education trains preschool, primary, and secondary school teachers and educational specialists through six departments:
- Curriculum and Instruction
- Family and Child Studies
- Human Development and Psychological Counseling
- Reading Education & Special Education
- Leadership and Education Studies
The college also houses the University's only doctorate program, which is in Educational Leadership
University College is the home of Appalachian State's first-year seminar, learning assistance program, and the Watauga Global Community. University College also offers five degrees.
- Interdisciplinary Studies
- Women's Studies
- Sustainable Development
- Appalachian Studies
- Global Studies
The Walker College of Business trains students through academic departments in:
- Computer Information Systems
- Finance, Banking and Insurance
- Hospitality and Tourism Management
- Business Management
- International Business
- Sustainable Business
- Supply Chain Management
In addition, the college houses an MBA program, a Master of Science in Accounting, a Master of Science in Applied Data Analytics, and a Master of Arts in Industrial-Organizational Psychology and Human Resource Management programs.
The Cratis D. Williams Graduate School administers graduate degrees and certificates through several programs.
- Academic Common Market Master's Programs – Rare or unique programs (ex. Appalachian Studies) that may qualify students for in-state tuition
- Arts, Humanities, and Culture
- Business and Professional
- Green – Environmental and conservation programs.
- Helping Professions – Counseling, health, and human services
- Higher Education – Programs preparing students for college and university teaching and administration
- Peace Corps Master's International Programs – Program linking master's programs with Peace Corps service
- PreK-12 Education
- Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology
Appalachian State University offers off-campus courses through three off-campus centers. These centers are:
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 history department of ASU publishes History Matters: An Undergraduate Journal of Historical Research (ISSN 1934-4651), an undergraduate research journal. It was established in 2003 by Eric Burnnette, an ASU undergraduate student of history. The journal accepts submissions from all undergraduates nationwide and internationally, with special attention to papers that utilize primary sources. The editorial board consists of undergraduate and faculty advisors at ASU.
Members of the ASU Department of Physics and Astronomy serve as editors for the journal The Physics Teacher.
The university publishes or holds copyrights to several other periodicals, including:
- IMPULSE: The Premier Undergraduate Neuroscience Journal, Department of Biology, College of Arts and Sciences
- Appalachian Business Review, Bureau of Business and Economic Research, Walker College of Business
- Appalachian Journal, Center for Appalachian Studies, College of Arts and Sciences
- Appalachian Today, University magazine
- Cold Mountain Review, Department of English
- The International Comet Quarterly, Department of Physics and Astronomy (ceded to the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in 1990)
- Journal of Developmental Education, Center for Developmental Education, Reich College of Education
- Journal of Health Care Marketing, Center for Management Development, Walker College of Business
- The Appalachian, student newspaper
Centers and institutes
The university houses several academic centers and institutes related to its mission. These include:
- Adult Basic Skills Professional Development Project
- Appalachian Energy Center – Includes the following:
- Collaborative Biodiesel Project
- Renewable Energy Initiative
- Small Wind R&D Site
- Center for Appalachian Studies – Includes the Appalachian Collection held by Belk Library, the Appalachian Cultural Museum, and publishing editor of the Appalachian Journal
- Center for Entrepreneurship
- Center for Judaic, Holocaust, & Peace Studies
- Center for Management Development
- Goodnight Family Sustainable Development Program
- Institute for Health and Human Services
- Math and Science Education Center
- National Center for Developmental Education and the Kellogg Institute
- The Human Performance Lab at the North Carolina Research Campus
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 400 clubs and organizations run by the McCaskey Center for Student Involvement and Leadership, such as Greek organizations, academic and diversity clubs, and sports clubs. Before the start of every semester, the University hosts a 'Club Expo' featuring all the clubs and organizations on campus. This event is for students to find an organization or club that suits them and to become involved. 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. On November 11, 2016, ASU opened a fourth center in their student union; the Student Veterans Resource Center.
The Appalachian Popular Programming Society (A.P.P.S.) is a university funded organization that exists to plan and provide diverse educational, enriching, and entertaining events for the community and student body of Appalachian State. Through its seven programming councils, A.P.P.S. members select, plan, promote, and present a diverse variety of popular entertainment programs and films which enhance the social and cultural life for Appalachian students. A.P.P.S. was founded in 1985 to help with the student nightlife and to support retention. APPS plays a vital role in fostering and developing an inclusive Appalachian State University community. The seven councils include Appalachian heritage, club shows, concerts, cultural awareness and student engagement (CASE), films, special events, and stage shows. Students can enjoy shows, dances, and concerts at Legends, an entertainment facility located on campus.
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 100-kilowatt (130 hp) 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 (47 m) 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 kilowatt-hours (1,120,000 MJ), 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. 65 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 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 John E. Thomas 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 (46 m2) 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 kilowatt-hours (13,480 MJ) per year.
Appalachian's sports teams are nicknamed the Mountaineers. The Mountaineers compete in NCAA Division I and are members of the Sun Belt Conference. Appalachian fields varsity teams in 20 sports, 10 for men and 10 for women. The Mountaineer football team started competing in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision in the 2014–2015 academic 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). In 2017, App State added a new video board, sound system and LED ribbon displays. Kidd Brewer Stadium also offers additional stadium seating with 18 luxury suites, 600 club seats, and the Chancellor's Box areas that offer a great view of the field and campus.
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. In 2017, a new Daktronics video board was installed. The board is made up of nine displays totaling a square footage of 1,200.
University Recreation (UREC) also offers 20 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.
The university's cycling team has had success at the regional and national level; they compete within the Atlantic Collegiate Cycling Conference. The team competes in every discipline of bicycle racing that is acknowledged by National Collegiate Cycling Association within USA Cycling. This includes road bicycle racing, Mountain bike racing and Cyclocross. The team won the Division 2, as established by USA Cycling, collegiate team mountain bike national championships in 2008. They won the Division 2 collegiate team cyclocross national championships in 2008 and 2009. The team is now recognized as a Division 1 team.
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.
Appalachian won three consecutive Division I FCS (I-AA) national championships in 2005, 2006, and 2007, over the University of Northern Iowa, the University of Massachusetts, and the University of Delaware, respectively. The Mountaineers are the first FCS football team to win three straight national championships since the playoffs began in 1978. They are also the first Division I program to win three consecutive national championships since Army accomplished the feat in 1944, 1945, and 1946.
In a milestone for ASU athletics, on September 1, 2007, the Appalachian State football team played their season opener at the fifth-ranked University 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.
Arts and entertainment
- Jennifer E. Alley – former North Carolina Tar Heels women's basketball head coach
- Isaac Anderson – Olympic wrestler (1988 Summer Olympics)
- Dexter Coakley – NFL Dallas Cowboys and St. Louis Rams (linebacker)
- Jamie Coleman – Arena football player
- Ed Durham – football player, Realtor
- Armanti Edwards – NFL Chicago Bears, CFL Toronto Argonauts (wide receiver)
- Ashley Fliehr, better known as Charlotte Flair – WWE professional wrestler (transferred to North Carolina State University)
- Ed Gainey – football player
- Alvin Gentry – NBA New Orleans Pelicans head coach, former head coach of Miami Heat, Detroit Pistons, Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix Suns
- Dino Hackett – NFL Kansas City Chiefs (linebacker)
- Mary Jayne Harrelson – track athlete, two-time NCAA Outdoors 1500 m Champion
- Jason Hunter – NFL Denver Broncos (defensive end)
- Daniel Jeremiah – analyst for NFL Network, writer with NFL.com, host of Move the Sticks podcast (QB for Appalachian State from 1998 to 2000)
- Daniel Kilgore – NFL San Francisco 49ers (center)
- Frank Leatherwood – football player, Arena Football League
- Rico Mack – NFL player (linebacker)
- Sam Martin – NFL Detroit Lions (punter)
- Demetrius McCray – NFL Jacksonville Jaguars (cornerback)
- Doug Middleton – NFL New York Jets (safety)
- Melissa Morrison-Howard – two-time Olympic hurdler bronze medalist (2000 & 2004)
- Dexter Jackson – NFL Carolina Panthers (wide receiver)
- Paul Johnson – head coach, Georgia Tech football
- Corey Lynch – NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers (safety), son-in-law of Franklin Graham
- Marques Murrell – NFL New York Jets (linebacker)
- Ron Prince – NFL assistant coach Detroit Lions, former head coach at Kansas State University
- Mark Royals – NFL punter from 1987–2003
- Brian Quick – NFL Washington Redskins, St. Louis Rams (wide receiver)
- John Settle – NFL Atlanta Falcons player, running backs coach of Carolina Panthers
- Belus Smawley – basketball pioneer, one of inventors of jump shot
- Coaker Triplett – two-sport star and baseball team captain, MLB outfielder for Cubs, Cardinals and Phillies from 1938–45, player-manager for Triple-A Buffalo Bisons, member of Appalachian State Athletic Hall of Fame since 1976
- Daniel Wilcox – NFL Baltimore Ravens (tight end)
- Steve Wilks – NFL head coach, Arizona Cardinals
- Everett Withers – football head coach of Texas State Bobcats, former head coach of James Madison Dukes and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Economics and finance
Government and law
Ministry and religion
- Stanley South – archaeologist, author of Method and Theory in Historical Archaeology
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Primary source materials
Coordinates: 36°12′50″N 81°40′43″W / 36.213843°N 81.678621°W