BOONE, N.C. — Four Appalachian State University students have been named the inaugural recipients of a new scholarship established in memory of Elizabeth “Jerri” Kent Heltzer and Harry Heltzer, longtime friends of the university.
Thanks to a generous bequest from the Heltzer estate, the scholarship covers approximately 75% of the students’ tuition and is renewable annually. The scholarship is intended to provide assistance to students who demonstrate financial need.
Jerri and Harry — who passed away in 2021 and 2005, respectively — supported App State for more than 30 years.
“The Heltzers inspired our community with their generosity, as they helped countless Mountaineers further their educations,” said App State Chancellor Sheri Everts. “This endowed scholarship will ensure their legacy continues in perpetuity.”
Among their contributions to the university, the Heltzers established the Heltzer Honors Program in International Education — a scholarship available through App State’s Honors College that helps students pursue study abroad opportunities.
The Heltzers’ nephew Ron Bare serves as executor of their estate. He said his aunt and uncle had a “passion for helping students who had a financial need,” and this endowed scholarship honors their “generosity and compassion.”
“Five generations of our family, beginning with my grandmother in the early 1900s, have attended App State,” Bare said. “That makes this endowment that much more meaningful to me and the rest of the family.”
A lifetime of innovation and support
A native of Lenoir, Jerri was the seventh of 11 children. She earned a degree in business administration from the Women’s College — now known as UNC Greensboro. She taught school for one year and then worked for political agencies in Washington, D.C., for 23 years.
App State honored Jerri with an honorary degree in 2010 for her significant contributions of service and leadership to the university. That same year, she was named the Caldwell County Distinguished Woman of the Year by the Council for Women of Caldwell County.
Born in Cincinnati, Harry earned a degree in metallurgical engineering from the University of Minnesota. He built his career at 3M — rising from a laborer, to chairman and chief executive officer. Of note, he was awarded six patents for reflective highway products.
During his career, he served national and international road safety organizations, and he was appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson as a member of the National Highway Safety Advisory Committee.
Harry retired from 3M in 1975 and the couple subsequently moved from Minnesota to North Carolina to be closer to Jerri’s family.
“Though I did not have the chance to meet Harry before he passed away,” said Everts, “I fondly remember visiting with Jerri at her home in Lenoir. She told me stories of their marriage, their long history with App State and the many ways in which they had proudly uplifted our students. They both embodied the true Mountaineer spirit.”
The Heltzers were members of App State’s 1899 Legacy Society — designated for those who have included the university in their estate plans — and the B.B. Dougherty Society.
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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 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.