BOONE, N.C. — “Making a difference is the only thing that matters,” said Carole Wilson ’75, Appalachian State University Board of Trustee member, on being recognized by the Appalachian Alumni Association as the recipient of the Outstanding Service Award. Wilson was honored for being an outstanding representative of the university through her work, service and philanthropy.
At the Alumni Awards Luncheon held Sept. 28 on Appalachian’s campus, Chancellor Sheri Everts thanked Wilson and the other winners “for being such wonderful ambassadors of the life-changing Appalachian Experience.”
“Year after year, I am inspired by the extraordinary Appalachian alumni I am fortunate to meet, who reinforce that Appalachian is indeed North Carolina’s premier, public undergraduate institution of higher learning,” Everts said.
“When I found out I was receiving the Outstanding Service Award, I was truly speechless and cried,” Wilson said. “I’m just honored beyond words to be receiving this award. I don’t do what I do to get an award.”
‘A wonderful connector for the college’
Wilson has spent every year since graduating from Appalachian putting her words — “making a difference” — into action, and usually wearing black and gold while she does it.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in history, Wilson went on to work in public schools, teaching history and special education in addition to providing private tutoring for students with learning disabilities. Now retired from teaching, she continues her commitment to education in a number of ways.
At Appalachian, Wilson has been a member of the Board of Trustees since 2013, chairing several subcommittees, and has been a member of the Yosef Club since 1975. She has also served on the alumni council. She was co-chair of the Campaign for Appalachian, the university’s largest fundraising effort, which exceeded its goal of raising $200 million in support of academics, the arts and athletics.
“Carole Wilson quickly became my example of what it meant to know, love and serve this very special institution,” said Johnny Burleson, director of strategic partnerships at the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation and former employee in Appalachian’s Division of University Advancement. “Her infectious smile and laughter combined with her sincere and thoughtful advancement of Appalachian has been an example to many,” he said.
“She has dedicated her time, efforts and resources to enhancing the student opportunities at Appalachian, to welcoming students who might not have an opportunity to attend our wonderful university without financial support, and to the growth and development of our athletics program,” said James Deal Jr. ’71, who received Appalachian’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2016.
Dr. Neva J. Specht, dean of Appalachian’s College of Arts and Sciences, knew of Wilson long before meeting her. “As a history professor, I knew Carole’s name as someone who had been a long supporter of the history department (at Appalachian),” Specht said.
“As I moved out of the department and into administration, I learned that her support of Appalachian went much, much deeper,” Specht added. “She’s been a wonderful connector for the college, and I’ve learned just how much Appalachian has benefited from her service to the university.”
Wilson has volunteered her time to her community and the arts, serving on the boards of the North Carolina Partnership for Children (Smart Start), SAFEchild, Visual Art Exchange (VAE) and the Carolina Ballet, to name a few. She is currently a member of the North Carolina Museum of Art’s foundation board, the board of directors of Susan G. Komen North Carolina Triangle to the Coast and the board of visitors of the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Wilson gives selflessly, Specht said, and “she looks for where there is need and figures out a way to bring her expertise and connections to help fill the gap.”
What do you think?
Share your feedback on this story.
About Alumni Affairs
The Office of Alumni Affairs provides networking opportunities, affinity program discounts, alumni chapter gatherings and special events, merchandise and travel tour options to Appalachian State University alumni.
The Appalachian State University Alumni Association consists of nearly 127,000 living Appalachian alumni. Membership is free and open to all graduates of Appalachian. The association’s mission is to help alumni remember their Appalachian Experience and stay connected with current Mountaineers, and to work to ensure that those experiences are available for future Appalachian alumni by raising support for the Alumni Memorial Scholarship and The Appalachian Fund.
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.