122 years of education: University marks history with social, bell ceremony

Cameron Marshall and Kara Haselton

Guests and administrators celebrated  Founders Day 2021 at Founders Plaza for the fourth consecutive year, marking 122 years since App State was established.  

Bell Ringers ceremony, which inducts individuals into the Bell Ringers Society, created by Chancellor Sheri Everts in 2018, celebrates the university’s history and recognizes those who have influenced it.

“What a joy it is to be here on this beautiful day. It’s only sprinkling, in person, on Founders Plaza as we celebrate our fourth Founders Day celebration,” Everts said.

Interim Chief Diversity Officer Jamie Parsons, Boone Area Chamber of Commerce president and former App State staff member David Jackson, and UNC Board of Governor member Phillip Byers attended the Bell Ringers Ceremony.   

Everts outlined the goals of the university and her hopes for its future. 

“This commitment to access, which was set forth by our founders, has guided us to be the forward thinking university we are today,” Everts said. “Together, we are working to examine our past and our present and to make needed changes to ensure the Appalachian experience is inclusive and continues a legacy of which we can all be proud.” 

Members of ClimACT were also in attendance. ClimACT peacefully protested the event because they believe App State has not done enough to confront the impact of climate change. 

The fourth annual Founders Day celebration took place Sept. 17 outside at Founders Plaza. While attendees listened to the various speakers recount the legacy and history of App State, students and members of ClimACT surrounded the event, holding signs demanding “climate action now.” (Kara Haselton)
Ice cream sandwiches and other goods were provided for guests, and zero waste ambassadors from the Office of Sustainability were present to help attendees sort their trash. (Kara Haselton)
David Jackson, president and CEO of Boone Area Chamber of Commerce, shared how he believes the campus has grown. In his speech, Jackson encouraged more collaboration and communication between the Town of Boone and App State. (Caroline McNair)
Climate advocacy group ClimACT protested at the event, holding signs expressing their concerns regarding the university’s climate change response. “This is about Appalachian’s inaction when it comes to taking care of their students and preparing us and the community for climate change and mitigating the impacts,” said Michael Weiss, App State alumnus and ClimACT leading organizer. (Kara Haselton)
Lynn Patterson, class of ‘89 alumna, rings the bell. Patterson is a Belk Library university program specialist and daughter of fellow Bell Ringer Roberta Jackson. Karl Campbell, the event’s leading speaker, said Patterson represented “the service of faculty and staff to App State and the many multi-cultural mountaineers, multi-generational families.” (Kara Haselton)
(From right to left) App State’s Team Sunergy business director Sam Cheatham, and Beau Henderson, Roberta Jackson, Maxine McCall, Lynn Patterson, Mike Steinback, and Jim Whittington are the seven new members of the Bell Ringers Society. They each rang the bell three times after Everts initial one ring. Each of the members received a pin before ringing the bell. (Caroline McNair)
Roberta Jackson, founding member and facilitator of the Junaluska Society, wears her “Bell Ringers pin,” given as a memento of the day and a reminder of her role in the App State and Boone community. (Kara Haselton)
Jim Whittington, App State alumnus of the 1952 class, shares a laugh with Everts after saying he “never believed” he would be present for an event like this today. A former athlete, Whittington’s presence in the 2021 Class of the Bell Ringers Society represents “App State’s long history of successful student athletes and athletics programs,” Campbell said. (Kara Haselton)
Baker Perry, a member of the 2020 Bell Ringers Society, is a descendant of the Doughertys and has been an App State faculty member for 25 years in the geography department. A climate scientist, Perry’s work has been published by National Geographic and can be found in the magazine’s latest issue. (Kara Haselton)
After the Bell Ringers Ceremony, App State history professor Trent Margrif led attendees through his event, Tombstone Tales: A Cemetery Tour. Margrif shared the history of the individuals who lay there, including the university’s founders and other important community members, some of whom are still being identified today. (Caroline McNair)