BOONE, N.C. — In the Parkway Ballroom of Plemmons Student Union this past weekend, Appalachian State University alumni from the Class of 1969 and their families gathered to induct about 40 new members into the university’s Black and Gold Society.
Encompassing more than 400 members, this organization honors alumni during the occasion of their 50th class reunion and fosters continued engagement with the Appalachian Community. Induction into the Black and Gold Society is commemorated with a gold medallion emblazoned with the university logo.
The ceremony served as the marquee event of the annual Black and Gold Reunion Weekend sponsored by Alumni Affairs, which hosted 100 alumni for a full slate of events, including a welcome session, a luncheon and campus tours.
This year’s Black and Gold Society inductees represented the totality of the Appalachian Experience: former Appalachian roommates, retired Appalachian professors, alumni couples simultaneously celebrating 50 years of marriage and 50 years since graduation, legacy families and even a former Yosef mascot.
Dr. Randy Edwards ’77 ’78, vice chancellor for university advancement, remarked, “It is a privilege to be among Appalachian friends and family. Appalachian is still today doing what I hope it did for you, which is providing a transformational academic experience. Appalachian changes lives.”
Class speaker John B. Rogers Jr. ’69 ’80 ’84 opened his remarks with a simple yet powerful question: “How many of you feel as blessed as I do?” Without hesitation, every hand in the room lifted high, a visual testament to the gratitude of Appalachian graduates.
That same sentiment echoed throughout the evening. Elaine Toney ’69 met her husband David ’70 ’73 at Appalachian, two of her siblings also attended, and this fall, she’ll welcome her granddaughter, Caitlyn, into the Mountaineer community.
“(The most surprising thing) is how much (the campus) has grown,” Elaine Toney said. Her husband joked, “You could have fit the whole campus in this one building when I went here!”
Kay Rogers ’69 ’76, sister of class speaker Rogers, said, “The school has become so much more. Part of that is growth and part of that is changing times, but having so many other extended opportunities makes a difference. It gives (students) a bigger view of the world.”
As John Rogers said so passionately in his remarks, “This place changed our lives. We are who we are because of our time here. Go Apps!”
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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.