BOONE, N.C. — For the 2020–21 academic year, approximately 2,000 prospective Appalachian State University students applied for signature scholarships, which are both need- and merit-based, and 70 were awarded. Of these scholarships, the three most comprehensive — the Chancellor’s Scholarship, the Dr. Willie C. Fleming Scholarship and the Diversity Scholars Program — provide full in-state tuition, plus additional benefits through programming.
“As North Carolina’s premier public undergraduate university, App State seeks, through these three programs, to provide an exceptional, affordable education with a lifetime of value. These prestigious scholarships recognize outstanding students with academic and leadership achievements and challenge them to build their capacity to think critically and be leaders among their peers,” App State Chancellor Sheri Everts said.
- The Chancellor’s Scholarship is awarded to 10 students each year and provides full institutional costs, including tuition and fees, room and board, and book rental, plus research opportunities, study abroad support and academic mentoring in the living–learning community of the Honors College.
- The Dr. Willie C Fleming Scholarship is awarded to four students each year and includes in-state tuition and fees, mentoring from alumni and the opportunity to participate in inclusivity-focused events.
- The Diversity Scholars Program scholarship is awarded to 10 students each year and includes in-state tuition and fees, leadership development workshops, mentorship opportunities, service-learning and international experiences.
The scholarships total approximately $1,120,000 in awards for the 2020–21 academic year. They are not affiliated with a particular field of study.
The Chancellor’s Scholarship
The Chancellor’s Scholarship is the oldest and most distinguished full scholarship at App State. Successful applicants become leaders in App State’s Honors College, an enhanced intellectual experience for some of the most academically motivated students on campus.
“These incoming scholars arrive eager to engage in and embrace the life-changing Appalachian Experience,” Everts said. “Their academic excellence, dedication to community service, and leadership earned them a place at Appalachian. Our faculty and staff are committed to providing an environment where they can thrive.”
Dr. Jefford Vahlbusch, dean of the Honors College, described strong candidates for the Chancellor’s Scholarship. “We’re looking for academic achievement and potential, intellectual curiosity and the will to make a difference,” he said.
Some of the qualities the selection committee looks for include:
- Creativity in the students’ application essays.
- The ability to make interdisciplinary connections.
- Depth and breadth of knowledge.
- Interest in research.
Dr. Willie C. Fleming Scholarship
The Dr. Willie C. Fleming Scholarship is designed to support students from underrepresented populations. It was established to honor Dr. Willie C. Fleming ’80 ’84, for his many contributions to Appalachian: founder of the Black Student Association in 1974, founder of the Appalachian Gospel Choir in 1975, founding member of the Black Faculty and Staff Association in 1974, and for bringing Black Greek life to Appalachian in the ’70s and ’80s. He currently serves as App State’s chief diversity officer.
“Dr. Fleming’s contributions to Appalachian have a lasting place in the university’s history,” Everts said. “He is an accessible and exemplary role model for these extraordinary students. It is more than appropriate that this scholarship honors him.”
“The visionary for this scholarship, Judge Gary Henderson (’92 ’94), wanted to honor Dr. Fleming and find a way to encourage the recruitment and retention of minority students,” said Dr. Reneé Evans ’97 ’99, a professional counselor and consultant in Raleigh who was instrumental in establishing the scholarship.
Dr. Reneé Evans ’97 ’99, a professional counselor and consultant in Raleigh who was instrumental in establishing the scholarship, said Henderson's goal in establishing the scholarship "was to honor Dr. Fleming and find a way to encourage the recruitment and retention of minority students."
Evans and Henderson co-chair the scholarship's selection committee and are also representatives of the scholarship’s endowment.
Evans said it has been powerful to see how alumni giving toward the Dr. Willie C. Fleming Scholarship has come to fruition in being able to award scholarships to five groups of students thus far.
“I’ve been proud of our Fleming Scholars and the leadership skills they have exhibited over the years. Our scholars have been at the forefront of the university, including one serving as student body president, serving as university ambassadors, hosting Rev. Jesse Jackson and other prominent leaders visiting campus, consulting with members of the Appalachian African American Alumni Network regarding their career goals, and securing impressive internships,” Evans said.
Read more about how the Fleming Scholarship, according to Henderson, is a win-win for diversity at App State and how the full-tuition scholarship has impacted its first group of recipients, who are all poised for postgraduate success.
Diversity Scholars Program
The Diversity Scholar Program scholarship is awarded to students who demonstrate academic excellence and who value diversity and have shown a commitment to building unity. The Diversity Scholars Program brings students together from different cultures and backgrounds — including first-generation and lower income students — and provides them the opportunity to assist with campus events and help facilitate conversations around race, equality and equity.
“I especially recognize the importance of rewarding young students for their efforts to build a more inclusive, equitable and diverse world,” Everts said. “These academically gifted young people have the opportunity to make positive change through their leadership and example.”
Students are selected for the award based on the following qualifications:
- Academic achievement.
- Strong leadership potential.
- Ability to identify and implement positive change.
- Commitment to building an inclusive and diverse community where all are valued and respected.
Each Diversity Scholar is to provide 15 hours of community service to the university and greater community per academic year and participate in an international experience. Traci Royster ’00 ’03, Appalachian’s director of staff development and strategic initiatives in the Division of Student Affairs and the co-chair of the Diversity Scholars Program, spoke to the scholars’ experience.
“As these scholars become leaders and diversity and inclusion advocates in their respective campus organizations,” she said, “they serve as student ambassadors, sharing their personal experiences with prospective and new incoming students. These conversations have the potential to help prospective students have a deeper interest in Appalachian and often make them feel more at home. Our scholars are often orientation leaders, meeting with new incoming students and providing that welcoming environment.
“So many former Diversity Scholars tell us afterward how rich and meaningful their collegiate journey was because of the scholarship program and the opportunities it provided them,” said Royster.
“Since graduating, our former Diversity Scholars are finding success in their new communities, whether they are pursuing graduate school or employment within their respective fields,” she said.
To qualify for Appalachian’s signature scholarships, applicants must apply for admission to Appalachian by Nov. 1 and complete scholarship applications by Nov. 15.
What do you think?
Share your feedback on this story.
About Scholarships at App State
Appalachian State University offers students the opportunity to receive a world-class education at an affordable rate, with an average of $25 million awarded to incoming, current and transfer students each year based on need, as well as academic and athletic achievement. On average, about $4.9 million in outside aid is awarded to App State students annually. App State’s Office of Student Financial Aid and University Scholarships assists students in learning about and applying for these university scholarship opportunities and also shares information about non-App State scholarships. Learn more at https://scholarships.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As a premier public institution, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives. App State is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System, with a national reputation for innovative teaching and opening access to a high-quality, affordable education for all. The university enrolls more than 21,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and 80 graduate majors at its Boone and Hickory campuses and through App State Online. Learn more at https://www.appstate.edu.