BOONE, N.C. — From 1989–92, Avery B. Hall Sr. ’93, of Kernersville, took to the Kidd Brewer Stadium field during each of Appalachian State University’s homecoming football games. As part of this year’s homecoming, the former defensive lineman was honored with an Outstanding Service Award during the Appalachian Alumni Luncheon held Friday on the university’s campus.
The annual award, conferred by the Appalachian Alumni Association, recognizes individuals for their exceptional service to the university.
Hall, who holds a Bachelor of Science in communication with a concentration in public relations from Appalachian, said the work he put in as a student-athlete is “work that carries over into life — being accountable, planning for something bigger than yourself, being disciplined.”
He is senior vice president/commercial banking lender at Wells Fargo in Greensboro, a position he began in June. Hall has served Wells Fargo and its various legacy companies since 1994.
In this video, Appalachian State University alumnus Avery B. Hall Sr. ’93, a 1999 inductee into the university’s Athletics Hall of Fame, explores his journey to Appalachian and how his time as a student-athlete helped shape his future. Watch to learn more about Hall, one of two recipients of Appalachian’s 2019 Outstanding Service Award.
Avery B. Hall: I grew up in Gainesville, Georgia, which, at the time, was labeled "The Poultry Capital of the World". Gainesville was a small, tight-knit community. A lot of blue collar laborers, and grew up in meager resources. We didn't have a lot of money. We were so poor we couldn't pay attention, but we did have a lot of love. Whether it was Cub Scouts, sports, church -- we were always active. But Gainesville was a great place to grow up. A lot of good people, just like Appalachian family, which is why I chose to go to Appalachian.
I actually was recruited by Indiana University, Wisconsin University, East Carolina, Georgia Tech and visited all of those schools, but my last visit was to Appalachian State. The people of Appalachian made such a indelible impression on me that I changed my commitment to Indiana University and decided to go to Appalachian. And God is good, you know, I don't hide my faith. It was the best decision that I've ever made. I had four great years, I met my wife and ultimately we have a family, two kids from the marriage. I've been married twenty-three years. Again, got a great education, met great people at Appalachian, lifelong relationships that I truly love and enjoy having. So it's the best decision I've ever made.
My time at Appalachian State as a student athlete, I mean, it was just unbelievable. I spent four years on campus. I started as a true freshman, played in forty-eight consecutive games. There are a lot of stories...some I can tell...some I can't, but just the network, the brotherhood of the Appalachian football family is unmatched. You know, we worked our tails off from January through August. So that's the thing I remember most about my four years. And I know that's going to sound weird to a lot of people. Because you know, people are going to say, "You were player of the week, all-American, defensive player of the year, dah-dah-dah-dah-dah." But I remember just the hard work which carries over into life. Being accountable, playing for something bigger than yourself, being disciplined. You know, there were times when, yeah, I wanted to go party...yeah, I wanted to go hang out. But I also knew we were trying to win a football game on Saturday. Instead of going to Geno's on a Thursday night, you know, I would stay in the dorm.
The first thing that I thought about when I Ieft Appalachian was "How do I facilitate, or make it possible, for someone else to experience what I experienced. And what I mean by "someone else", someone who looks like me, came from a similar background...how do I help them, you know, kind of be able to have an experience like that? So I got involved, obviously, it was easy to get involved with the Yosef Club. I started with the Yosef Club. And then I got, of course, involved with various, small projects on campus that were fun to kind of see the inner-workings of the university. From the academy side, to the athletics side, Board of Trustees to...gosh, you know...working with the Willie Flemming Foundation initiative, with working with the Foundation Board, General Foundation Board now, working with the plots and gardens committee. There have been many, many different committees that I've served on, but if we want to be a great university, it's going to take all hands on deck.
And I think that each alumni, we should all look at what we've taken from Appalachian. Whether it's the academic rigor that prepared us for our careers, or just the relationships that we we've developed with folks. I think it's important for us to continue to grow and to continue to be able to provide that type of experience for future generations. It's important that we give back appropriately to Appalachian.
I tell you, to have this honor means the world to me. One: I'm excited, I'm humbled, I'm grateful. Because everyone gives. Everyone has a story, an Appalachian story. Everyone has an Appalachian experience. And I know from, like I said, serving in various capacities that there are a lot of folks giving back to Appalachian. To be honored in this way, it just means the world to me, and I'm just appreciative of the opportunity.
He is a member of the Appalachian State University Foundation Inc. Board of Directors and a former member of the Yosef Club Advisory Board. Hall previously served on Appalachian’s Board of Trustees and was a member of the steering committee for the Campaign for Appalachian.
“Avery and I served together as trustees and our friendship goes back even before 2007. He is devoted to his family and his university and is worthy of this honor,” said Jeannine Underdown Collins ’79, president of Underdown and Associates Inc. and former Appalachian Board of Trustees member.
The Gainesville, Georgia, native, was a defensive lineman on the Mountaineers football team from 1989–92, earning first-team All-America honors as a senior. He was inducted into the Appalachian Athletics Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Northeast Georgia History Center Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.
“My time at Appalachian State as a student-athlete — it was just unbelievable,” Hall said. “The network, the brotherhood of the Appalachian football family is unmatched.”
After graduating from Appalachian, Hall said his first thought was “How do I facilitate, or make it possible for someone else to experience what I experienced?”
To advocate the Appalachian Experience, Hall became involved with the Yosef Club, as well as other various project on campus, such as the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) Plots and Garden project. “It was fun to see the inner working of the university — from the academy side to the athletics side,” he said.
“Alumni should look at what we’ve taken from Appalachian — whether it’s the academic rigor that prepared us for our careers or just the relationships we’ve developed with folks,” he said. “I think it’s important for alumni to continue to grow and continue to provide that type of experience for future generations, and it’s important that we give back appropriately to Appalachian.”
In addition to his Appalachian undergraduate degree, Hall holds a Master of Business Administration from Pfeiffer University. He is currently enrolled in Louisiana State University’s Graduate School of Banking.
Speaking of his 2019 Outstanding Service Award, Hall said, “To have this honor means the world to me. I’m excited, I’m humbled and I’m grateful.”
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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 142,000 living App State alumni. Membership is free and open to all graduates of App State. The association’s mission is to help alumni remember their App State Experience and stay connected with current Mountaineers, and to work to ensure that those experiences are available for future App State alumni by raising support for the Alumni Memorial Scholarship and The Appalachian Fund.
About the Department of Communication
One of seven departments housed in the College of Fine and Applied Arts, the Department of Communication at Appalachian State University focuses on preparing students to succeed in the varied fields within the communication industry. The department offers five majors – advertising, communication studies, electronic media/broadcasting, journalism and public relations – and a minor in communication studies. Graduates work in a wide range of positions in media, corporate, agency, government and nonprofit organizations. Learn more at https://communication.appstate.edu.
About the College of Fine and Applied Arts
Appalachian State University’s College of Fine and Applied Arts is a dynamic and innovative group of seven academic departments, bringing together a variety of perspectives, experiences and real-world education to provide unique opportunities for student success. The college has more than 3,000 undergraduate and graduate majors. Its departments are Applied Design, Art, Communication, Military Science and Leadership, Sustainable Development, Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment, and Theatre and Dance. Learn more at https://faa.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the Southeast, 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 nearly 21,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.