BOONE, N.C. — Two Appalachian State University students received scholarships for academic excellence and service to the community during halftime of the Appalachian football game Oct. 31. Double Wood Farm, an equestrian sanctuary for retired horses in Bluemont, Virginia, owned by 1989 Appalachian graduate Mark E. Ricks, donated the scholarship funds for the 2020–21 academic year.
Ashley Thomasson, a junior global studies major from Mooresville, received a scholarship for one year of tuition, valued at $4,369, and Taylor Houston, a first-year apparel design and merchandising major from Matthews, received a scholarship for a $2,500 meal plan credit.
“Congratulations to our winners, Ashley and Taylor. They, and the hundreds of others who qualified for these scholarships, work hard for academic excellence and give generously to the community. They are model Mountaineers and we are proud of them,” Appalachian Chancellor Sheri Everts said.
She continued, “Supportive organizations like Double Wood Farm and forward-thinking alumni like Mark, who invest in the future of Appalachian students, ensure our place as the premier public undergraduate institution in North Carolina.”
Rising sophomores, juniors and seniors with a current GPA of 3.0 or higher and at least eight hours of community service earned since spring 2018 were eligible for the scholarships. Two finalists were selected at random from the eligible pool of students who attended a free tailgate party presented by Mars Inc. The finalists, Thomasson and Houston, then competed in a game of Connect 4 on the football field during halftime to determine the winner and runner-up.
Ricks previously served as the director of global protective operations at Mars Inc. in the Washington, D.C., metro area. He is a graduate of Appalachian’s criminal justice program in the College of Arts and Sciences and currently serves as secretary on the university’s Board of Trustees. In 2017, he committed $10 million to support the A Mountaineer Impact initiative — which provides essential resources for Appalachian Athletics — representing the university’s largest outright gift to date. The Mark E. Ricks Athletics Complex is named in his honor.
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About University Advancement
Appalachian State University’s Division of University Advancement supports and encourages the university’s mission by engaging alumni, friends and the greater community. University Advancement staff help connect these constituents with Appalachian through one-on-one contact and special programming, thereby securing the resources necessary to create the best possible learning environment for Appalachian students and to positively impact the community, region and state. The division incorporates the offices of Alumni Affairs, Development and the Appalachian State University Foundation Inc. Learn more at http://give.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian’s Board of Trustees
The Appalachian State University Board of Trustees is a 13-member body that promotes the development of the institution within the functions prescribed by the UNC Board of Governors. The board serves as advisor to the Board of Governors on matters pertaining to the university and also serves as advisor to the chancellor concerning the management and development of Appalachian. The powers and duties of the Board of Trustees are primarily defined and delegated by the Board of Governors. Individuals are appointed to four-year terms by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the UNC Board of Governors. Included as a voting member of the board is the president of Appalachian’s Student Government Association. The president of Appalachian’s Alumni Council and chairs of the Faculty Senate and Staff Senate serve as ex officio constituency representatives to the board. Learn more at http://chancellor.appstate.edu/bot.
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 20,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.