BOONE, N.C. — Three Appalachian State University graduates were honored by the university’s Alumni Association at the 2023 Alumni Awards Gala, held in the Grandview Ballroom on July 15. The awards, given annually, honor graduates who have made a lasting impact on society and the university through their outstanding professional, philanthropic and volunteer accomplishments.
“Today we recognize three exceptional alumni who are making real and powerful differences in the lives of current and future App State students,” App State Chancellor Sheri Everts said. “These remarkable individuals are changing the world for the better each and every day through their commitment to excellence, but each of them would say they are simply doing what they know to be right.”
The 2023 honorees:
- C. Philip Byers ’85 received the Distinguished Alumni Award, which recognizes individuals who have attained extraordinary distinction and success in their career field and have demonstrated exceptional and sustained leadership in their community.
- Brian “Scotty” McCullough ’89 ’98 received the Outstanding Service Award, which recognizes individuals for their exceptional service to the university.
- Stacy Roberson Reedy ’06 ’07 received the Young Alumni Award, which is given to individuals under 40 years of age for their exceptional service to the university and accomplishments in their career.
The awards gala was held as part of the university’s Alumni Weekend.
Distinguished Alumni Award — C. Philip Byers ’85
C. Philip Byers earned his bachelor’s degree in health education from App State in 1985. He also holds a master’s degree in public affairs from Western Carolina University and participated in the Law Enforcement Executive Program at North Carolina State University.
Byers served in law enforcement for 20 years, retiring in 2006 as sheriff of Rutherford County. During his tenure, Byers received acclaim for leading the fight against illegal methamphetamine production and trafficking in Western North Carolina, and, as a result, testified on several occasions before the U.S. Congress. He was also part of a federal hate crime task force from 1996 to 1999, for which he received performance awards from the U.S Attorney’s Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Byers is passionate about student success, safety on college campuses and access to education, which led to his roles in education leadership and philanthropy. In 2014, Byers was named president of Challenge Foundation Properties in Forest City — where he currently lives — to help connect a growing network of public charter schools with the building resources they need for long-term success.
In 2015, Byers was appointed by the North Carolina General Assembly to the University of North Carolina System Board of Governors. He was reappointed to the board in 2019 and serves as chair of the subcommittee on laboratory schools, vice chair of the committee on military and public affairs and as a member of the committee on university governance.
Byers is also a member of several community organizations, including Kiwanis International, Masonic Lodge and Oasis Shriners. He also works with the Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy in Mooresboro and is a founding member of the Lake Lure Classical Academy.
Learn more about C. Philip Byers and why he received a 2023 Distinguished Alumni Award from App State.
Outstanding Service Award — Brian ‘Scotty’ McCullough ’89 ’98
Brian “Scotty” McCullough earned his first bachelor’s degree from App State — a Bachelor of Science in mathematics — in 1989. McCullough taught math in public schools in Roanoke, Virginia, and Charlotte, North Carolina, before beginning a military career with the Air National Guard in 1994. While in the military, he earned his second App State bachelor’s degree, in health care management, in 1998. McCullough also received a master’s degree in military operational arts and science studies from the United States Air Force’s Air Command and Staff College in Montgomery, Alabama, in 2012.
McCullough, who has reached the military rank of colonel, currently serves as special assistant to the director of logistics, engineering and force protection of the National Guard Bureau located at the Air National Guard Readiness Center in Joint Base Andrews, Maryland.
During his military career, McCullough has served in multiple capacities, with assignments in North Carolina, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Germany, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Africa and Afghanistan. He has accumulated many major awards and decorations throughout his career, including the Legion of Merit, which is given for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements.
At App State, McCullough has remained an active donor and volunteer for his fraternity, the Pi Nu Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. He has also played a key role in the development and funding of the Fleming Endowment, the Fleming Scholars Program, as well as the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) Divine 9 Plots and Garden project and the NPHC Divine 9 Leadership Endowment. He previously served as an App State regional director of development to help raise funds for the university from major market areas, including Charlotte and Atlanta.
McCullough resides in Washington, D.C., with his wife, Erica.
Learn more about Col. Brian "Scotty" McCullough and why he received a 2023 Outstanding Service Award from App State.
Young Alumni Award — Stacy Roberson Reedy ’06 ’07
Stacy Roberson Reedy earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting from App State in 2006 and 2007, respectively. She is also a 2017 graduate of the North Carolina School of Banking at UNC-Chapel Hill. She started serving as a faculty member at the North Carolina School of Banking this year.
Reedy is currently the executive vice president and chief financial officer at North State Bank in Raleigh, where she has worked since 2013. Previously, she held auditing and leadership roles at Dixon Hughes Goodman (now known as Forvis) in Raleigh from 2007 to 2013.
Reedy has been a board member of the Business Advisory Council in App State’s Walker College of Business since 2020. She and her husband, Nolan Reedy ’06, have been members of the Yosef Club since 2012. During her collegiate career, Reedy was a member of Beta Alpha Psi and Gamma Beta Phi.
As App State alumni, Reedy and her husband have made several gifts to the university, including to the Walker College of Business, the Walker College Dean’s Club, the Walker College Building Leaders initiative — which supports the planned addition for Peacock Hall — the Department of Accounting and the Yosef Club.
Reedy, Nolan and their two children, Maddie and Mason, reside in Raleigh but make multiple trips to Boone each year, especially in support of App State football.
Learn more about Stacy Roberson Reedy and why she received a 2023 Young Alumni Award from App State.
Distinguished Alumni — academic colleges
The Alumni Association also recognized six individuals from App State’s academic colleges and the Honors College.
Dr. William Harbinson ’75, Hayes School of Music
Dr. William Harbinson earned a Bachelor of Music from App State in 1975 and went on to earn a Master of Music from the University of Alabama and a Ph.D. from Florida State University.
Harbinson holds the rank of faculty emeritus at App State, having served on the Hayes School faculty from 1984 to 2017, including an appointment as dean. He has earned multiple awards for outstanding teaching and for his contributions to music.
His compositions are published and performed internationally, and he received two Hinda Honigman Cups recognizing his works as “the best published compositions by a North Carolina composer.”
Harbinson and his wife, Sandra “Sandy” Harbinson ’74, a Reich College of Education graduate, reside at Sunset Beach.
Mary Moretz ’64 ’66, Reich College of Education
Mary Moretz earned a bachelor’s degree in history, secondary education and a master’s degree in history education from App State in 1964 and 1966, respectively. Moretz taught at Watauga High School for 37 years and later served as a Watauga County commissioner.
Moretz has served organizations that include Boone Business and Professional Women’s Club, the Community Care Clinic, and the Alpha Gamma chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma. She was the regent of the Daniel Boone Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and is the Watauga County Delegate for the NC Senior Tar Heel Legislature.
At App State, Moretz was named a 2022 Trailblazer. In the Reich College of Education, she was inducted into the Rhododendron Society, the alumni hall is named for her mother and sisters, and she donates generously to scholarships, endowments and initiatives.
Phil Ostwalt ’83, Walker College of Business
Phil Ostwalt earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from App State in 1983 and a Master of Business Administration from Georgetown University in 1993.
He is president of DL Phillips Investment Builders Inc., a third-generation, family-owned commercial real estate business in Charlotte, and held U.S. and global leadership roles for KPMG, an audit, tax and advisory firm, before retiring as partner in 2017. He is also a Certified Professional Coach.
Ostwalt serves as treasurer of the Appalachian State University Foundation Board and as chair of the Walker College of Business Advisory Council. He is also an angel investor and treasurer of the High Country Impact Fund, providing funding and support to early-stage, high-growth companies in Northwestern North Carolina.
Ashley-Nicole Russell ’08, College of Arts and Sciences
Russell is an award-winning family law attorney, speaker and advocate whose career is focused on changing the way divorce is perceived around the world. She has founded and co-founded three law firms and developed the Delivering Divorce Differently online module training platform for legal professionals. She is also a published author and podcast host.
Russell has been featured in Forbes, The Washington Post, and ABC, NBC, and CBS news affiliates discussing collaborative law, conflict resolution in the workplace and the future of divorce in America. She has also given back to App State by naming a faculty lounge in the renovated Sanford Hall.
Dwayne A. Stafford ’99, College of Fine and Applied Arts
Dwayne A. Stafford earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology, construction with a minor in business administration from App State in 1999.
After graduation, Stafford began working as a senior project manager at Davie Construction for commercial and residential construction, and a few years later, he founded his own business, Stafford Construction.
Stafford was a member of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, through which he made lifelong friends. As a tribute to his father, he established the Stephen Wilson Stafford Memorial Endowed Scholarship in support of students who have experienced a personal hardship that has impeded their ability to complete their education.
He is a member of the 1899 Legacy Society and serves on the advisory council for the Department of Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment.
Dr. Stephanie Smith Thomas ’10, Honors College
Dr. Stephanie Smith Thomas earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in sociology from App State in 2010. She was a member of the Honors College and Psi Chi, the national honor society in psychology. She went on to earn her master’s degree and doctorate in experimental social psychology at Ohio University.
In 2021, Thomas became a user experience researcher at TIAA in Charlotte, where she conducts research with participants, plan sponsors, associates and the general population. She also serves TIAA as the metrics lead for the Young Professionals BRG, head of the Quality of Experience (QX) metric and as a core member of its new Behavioral Science Research Team.
Previously, Thomas was a tenure-track faculty member in psychological sciences at LaGrange College in Georgia.
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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 Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the Southeast, 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.