BOONE, N.C. — Nicholas Gilliam ’17, originally from Apex, graduated magna cum laude from Appalachian State University’s Department of Accounting in the Walker College of Business. He was also an Honors College student and was active in the Student Government Association.
Now a graduate student in the University of Notre Dame’s Master of Science in accountancy program, Gilliam looks back on what prepared him for his first destination after college.
“As a whole, Appalachian sets its students up for success at the caliber they desire, without letting them get lost in the shuffle. Faculty, staff, administrators and the community as a whole treat you as an equal and value what you have to offer,” said Gilliam.
Ironically, Gilliam came to Appalachian with intentions to transfer to his dream university. He felt defined by his GPA, he said, and believed a different school — which hadn’t accepted his application in high school — was surely a better place for him.
He soon discovered, however, that being in a place where you feel comfortable allows the rest to fall in place.
“I can still distinctly remember, as new Honors College students were led on a tour through campus, I was already falling in love with App. I remember being afraid that if I liked App too much, I wouldn't be able to transfer out. How would I realize my ultimate goal and get to the place I ‘knew’ I was supposed to be? The end of my first year came and I’d become a Mountaineer. Now, it’s so easy to look back on 18-year-old me and laugh,” he said.
Gilliam said he’s “so thankful” for the Appalachian Experience. “As cliche as it may sound, what matters is being in a place where you feel comfortable — the rest follows,” he said.
As testament to this, Gilliam points to where his Cone Hall peers from the Honors College headed after graduation from Appalachian:
“They have gone on to pursue doctoral degrees, to study at Cambridge, to begin medical school at the University of North Carolina, to study in world-renowned physics programs, to begin grad school at the nation’s No. 2 health care administration program, to accept job offers at large financial firms, to intern with Tufts University European Center in France, and beyond,” he said.
“As for me, I was offered Dean’s Scholarships to both the University of Notre Dame and Wake Forest University.”
About the Honors College
More than 500 students are enrolled in Appalachian State University's Honors College, which serves a diverse group of high-achieving, high-potential, highly motivated students from all majors. The Honors College helps students develop independent and creative thinking and high-level research skills; promotes interdisciplinary inquiry; and nurtures cultured and caring exchanges of ideas. The college’s enhanced academic experience prepares students for success in graduate or professional school and for leadership roles in their lives, communities and careers.
About the Walker College of Business
The Walker College of Business at Appalachian State University delivers transformational educational experiences that prepare and inspire students to be ethical, innovative and engaged business leaders who positively impact our community, both locally and globally. The college places emphasis on international experiences, sustainable business practices, entrepreneurial programs and real-world applications with industry. Enrolling approximately 3,000 undergraduates in 10 majors and 175 graduate students in three master's programs, the Walker College is accredited by AACSB International – the premier global accrediting body for schools of business. Learn more at https://business.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The 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 to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls more than 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.
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