BOONE, N.C. — Throughout its 124th year, Appalachian State University reaffirmed its status as an innovator and leader in higher education, setting historic milestones in the university’s history — from beginning Phase 1 construction of the Innovation District and opening a new campus in the Hickory region, to advancing strategies for campus sustainability and resilience. App State even welcomed the pungent debut of its rare corpse flower, Mongo, whose bloom captured the attention of audiences worldwide.
On Aug. 21, Chancellor Sheri Everts opened the App State Hickory campus, expanding higher education access in what was previously the largest North Carolina metropolitan area without a public university campus. App State experienced historic enrollment for fall 2023, with 21,253 Mountaineer students enrolling at the Boone and Hickory campuses and online. This year’s student body is the most diverse in school history, with 19% of the total population being racially and/or ethnically underrepresented students, and includes the largest first-year and online student populations to date. Everts has consistently indicated that App State’s future enrollment growth will be focused online or at on-site locations outside the Boone area.
This summer, App State kicked off Phase 1 construction at its Innovation District on the Boone campus. Phase 1 includes the Conservatory for Biodiversity Education and Research, as well as 156 units of faculty and staff housing and a zero-carbon energy system that will power the district and begin to transition the Boone campus away from steam power. The Innovation District is one of 37 capital improvement projects underway at App State, as of December. These projects total nearly $354 million — one of the largest infrastructure investments in the entire University of North Carolina System.
A recent study completed by labor analytics firm Lightcast and commissioned by App State assessed the university’s economic value to the region and state of North Carolina. The study found that, in fiscal year 2021–22, App State contributed nearly $573 million in added income to the region’s economy and $2.2 billion in added income statewide — during a time when the nation, state and region were still recovering from the effects of the global pandemic.
As a continued leader in sustainability and resilience, App State hosted the 11th annual Appalachian Energy Summit, during which Everts announced the UNC System and its partners have collectively avoided $1.75 billion in energy costs since 2002–03. App State’s proportion of these savings is $62.4 million, and the System is on track to realize the goal of $2 billion in avoided costs by 2025. And, in a strategic move to reduce carbon emissions and cut costs, App State’s Police Department is transitioning its patrol vehicle fleet to electric vehicles. The department placed its first two electric patrol vehicles — among the first for North Carolina police departments — in service this fall.
Several national publications, including U.S. News & World Report, Forbes magazine and The Wall Street Journal, named App State among the nation’s — and the Southeast’s — best higher education institutions for 2023 and 2024, recognizing the university for its academics, innovation, value, benefits for student veterans, programs to enhance the first-year experience and other aspects. App State was also recognized by VIQTORY as one of the nation’s Top 10 Military Friendly® Schools for 2023–24 and was named a 2023 “Best for Vets” school by Military Times.
This spring, App State student-athletes earned their 22nd consecutive semester of a cumulative GPA exceeding 3.0, and the Mountaineers wrestling team claimed the Southern Conference Championship title. The men’s cross-country and women’s field hockey teams won their respective conference championships this fall, and the App State football program closed out its regular season with a five-game winning streak, securing the Sun Belt Conference’s East Division title — and proceeded to clinch a 13–9 victory over Miami University in the Avocados from Mexico Cure Bowl. The Sun Belt Conference is led by Chancellor Sheri Everts, who assumed her two-year term as conference president in July.
Read on to revisit news stories that capture some of App State’s defining moments of 2023.
This year’s student body broke enrollment records for first-year, online and underrepresented students
Sep. 8, 2023
For fall 2023, App State enrolls 21,253 students — the largest enrollment of Mountaineers in school history. This year’s student body is the most diverse to date and comprises the largest first-year and online student populations in App State’s 124-year history.
Hickory metro area was formerly the largest in NC without a public university campus
Aug. 21, 2023
Appalachian State University marked a significant milestone in its 124-year history by opening the new Hickory campus on Aug. 21 — expanding higher education access in what was previously the largest metropolitan area in the state without a public university campus.
The academic facility will be the first net-zero energy building in App State's new Innovation District
June 9, 2023
Construction for App State’s Conservatory for Biodiversity Education and Research — the first academic building of the university’s Innovation District — is set to begin in July. The facility, offering classroom, office, laboratory and event space, will be built to the rigorous sustainability standards of the Living Building Challenge.
Nov. 30, 2023
App State’s rare corpse flower, Mongo, bloomed on Nov. 24, marking the plant’s first bloom since it arrived in Boone more than a decade ago. The public was invited to the Department of Biology Greenhouse to witness the bloom firsthand.
Economic impact study assesses benefits for Watauga, Ashe, Avery, Caldwell and Wilkes counties and state of North Carolina
Nov. 20, 2023
In fiscal year 2021–22, App State generated an estimated $573 million in added income for the five-county regional economy and $2.2 billion to the North Carolina economy through operations, construction, visitor, and student spending; volunteerism; and the increased earnings and productivity of alumni.
App State Athletics
Dec. 16, 2023
App State’s Mountaineers football program — the East Division champion in the Sun Belt Conference — secured its seventh bowl victory Saturday, Dec. 16, with a 13–9 win against the RedHawks of Ohio’s Miami University in the 2023 Avocados from Mexico Cure Bowl.
U.S. News ranks App State as No. 1 Most Innovative School and No. 2 Top Public School in the South
Sep. 22, 2023
Several national publications, including U.S. News & World Report, The Princeton Review and Forbes magazine, have named App State among the best schools in the nation — and the Southeast — for 2023–24, recognizing the university for its academics, innovation, value and more.
National Geographic CEO Jill Tiefenthaler shares international project updates with summit attendees
June 29, 2023
The Appalachian Energy Summit continues toward the established 2025 goal of $2 billion in avoided energy costs for the UNC System and state agencies. Since 2002–03, the System and its partners have collectively avoided $1.75 billion in energy costs.
6 additional App State faculty to receive campus-based awards
April 27, 2023
App State biology professor and virologist Dr. Maryam Ahmed is the university’s recipient of the 2023 University of North Carolina Board of Governors Excellence in Teaching Award. She will receive a $12,500 cash prize as part of the award.
Sep. 21, 2023
App State celebrated its sixth annual Founders Day on Sept. 7 to commemorate the first day of classes held in 1899 at Watauga Academy. Events included the Founders Day ceremony and a poster exhibit and lecture on this year’s theme of innovation, resilience and sustainability.
Peacock, App State’s 7th leader, died Oct. 6
Oct. 11, 2023
Former App State Chancellor Kenneth E. Peacock, who led the university from 2004 to 2014, died Oct. 6 at the age of 75. The App State Community mourns his passing and honors his more than 30-year legacy as an education leader.
Each car estimated to save more than $16K, nearly 35 metric tons of carbon emissions over 5 years
Oct. 26, 2023
In an effort to reduce carbon emissions and cut costs, App State Police has introduced two new electric vehicles (EVs) to its patrol fleet this fall — among the first for N.C. police departments. This is a first step in the department’s transition to electric vehicles.
Solar vehicle team clocks fastest lap time, completes most laps in multi-occupant category — and wins competition's Teamwork Award
July 10, 2023
Team Sunergy, App State’s solar vehicle team, placed second in the multi-occupant vehicle category of the 2023 Formula Sun Grand Prix in Topeka, Kansas. Over the course of three days, the team completed 275 laps for a total of 687.5 miles.
May 26, 2023
App State has been designated as a Military Friendly School for the 14th consecutive year, ranking among the top 10 in the large public schools category for the 2023–24 academic year.
Aug. 16, 2023
App State associate professor Dr. Zachary Farris has been named the 2023 Faculty Member of the Year by the Sun Belt Conference. The award recognizes Farris for his ability to inspire, promote and sustain the academic and athletic development of Mountaineer student-athletes.
Mobile science lab celebrates 5 years on the road
Sep. 25, 2023
App State’s Geobago has been in operation for five years and continues to bring hands-on science activities to K–12 students in Western North Carolina and beyond. The mobile classroom is one of the many outreach programs run by the GES Department.
Dr. Brian Raichle joins Dr. Baker Perry and Sherpa team for weather station maintenance in Nepal
July 27, 2023
App State professors Dr. Baker Perry and Dr. Brian Raichle conducted weather station maintenance with a group of elite climbing Sherpas on Mount Everest as part of a National Geographic Society expedition, supported by Rolex and its Perpetual Planet Initiative.
Jan. 30, 2023
For the seventh consecutive year, App State leads the nation for its number of alumni who are National Board Certified Teachers, with 2,269 alumni having earned the national credential to date.
Feb. 6, 2023
Appalachian State University alumna Meredith Lindsey Draughn ’15 is the 2023 National School Counselor of the Year — giving her the opportunity to spotlight the school counseling profession and the school counselors who support K–12 students every day.
App State Athletics
May 23, 2023
App State student-athletes have extended their 3.0-plus GPA streak to 22 consecutive semesters. The Mountaineers ended the spring 2023 semester with a 3.14 semester GPA for all student-athletes, contributing to a 3.22 cumulative GPA for all student-athletes. Additionally, 163 student-athletes earned recognition on either the Chancellor’s List or Dean’s List.
March 3, 2023
Appalachian State University recognized and honored the nearly 60,000 members of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina and their history on Feb. 27 with the unveiling of the Lumbee tribal flag in Plemmons Student Union.
App State Athletics
Aug. 24, 2023
This fall, App State will retire number 14, worn by Armanti Edwards — a record-breaking quarterback who played for the App State Mountaineers from 2006 to 2009. The retirement ceremony will be held at halftime of the App State–Georgia Southern home game on Nov. 25.
Oct. 25, 2023
Through the new program, students with EMT credentials work part time to provide basic life support services to the App State Community, building professional experience in public safety and health care settings while reducing the demands on community resources during large events.
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Dec. 19, 2022
With another year in the books, App State has much to celebrate. Take a look back at the university’s accomplishments in 2022, including a return trip to Mount Everest, a three-hour feature on ESPN and the best fundraising year in more than a decade.
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.