Laura Aiken of Apex, N.C. Rep. Nelson Dollar of Cary and Reba Moretz of Boone have been honored by the Appalachian Alumni Association at Appalachian State University for their distinguished careers and service to the university.
Aiken ’98 ’00 received the association’s Young Alumna Award, Dollar ’83 ’85 received the Distinguished Alumnus Award and Moretz ’52 ’53 received the Outstanding Service Award during an event held Oct. 1 at the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts on campus.
Young Alumna Award
Laura Aiken has distinguished herself through her service to Appalachian, her community and those she assists through her work as a healthcare professional.
Aiken is a patient experience advisor for Press Ganey & Associates (PGA). She works with healthcare professionals to improve patient experiences and outcomes in PGA’s hospitals and physician practices. Aiken also has had a distinguished career in other healthcare positions. She was director of Advocates for Health in Action, a collaborative housed at WakeMed Health & Hospitals. She also served as a cardiac rehabilitation specialist with WakeMed.
She was included in the Triangle Business Journal’s “Top 40 Under 40” in 2010 in recognition of her work in the healthcare industry.
Aiken has chaired the N.C. Alliance for Health Executive Board and N.C. Action for Healthy Kids, been a board member of N.C. Child and the Poe Center for Health Education and a committee member of Eat Smart, Move More.
Aiken served Appalachian as a former president of the Alumni Council and ex-officio member of the Board of Trustees, as president of the Triangle Appalachian Alumni Chapter, and as a member of the Board of Visitors.
She also serves Appalachian as a member of the Beaver College of Health Sciences Advisory Council and as a member of the Health, Leisure and Exercise Science Advisory Board.
Aiken has a bachelor’s degree in health promotion and a master’s degree in sports management from Appalachian.
Distinguished Alumnus Award
Nelson Dollar is in his sixth term as a member of the N.C. House of Representatives. He is senior chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and vice chairman of the Finance Committee and the Health and Human Services Committee. He also has held leadership positions on the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee for Health and Human Services, the State Personnel Committee and the UNC Board of Governors’ Nominating Committee, among others.
Through his leadership on the House Appropriations Committee, Dollar was instrumental in securing funds to plan and design a building for Appalachian’s Beaver College of Health Sciences.
Dollar has been recognized by AARP for his commitment to support services for seniors and family caregivers and by the National Alliance on Mental Illness North Carolina as its 2014 Legislator of the Year.
While at Appalachian he served as president pro tempore of the student senate. While a graduate student at Appalachian, Dollar was a member of the Graduate Student Senate.
Among his honors, Dollar was named Legislator of the Year in 2009 by the State Employees Association of North Carolina and a Top Ten Most Effective Legislator by the nonpartisan North Carolina Center for Public Policy. He also was recognized by the North Carolina Free Enterprise Foundation with a Top Ten Business Ranking.
Dollar has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in social sciences from Appalachian.
Outstanding Service Award
Reba Moretz all but grew up on Appalachian’s campus. Her father was Dr. Wiley F. Smith, who taught at Appalachian from 1936-1964 and was the Department of Psychology’s first chairman.
She has known every president or chancellor of the university from Dr. B.B. Dougherty to current chancellor Dr. Sheri N. Everts.
As co-owner of Appalachian Ski Mtn., Moretz has hosted numerous events at the ski resort to benefit the university and the Alumni Association. She has spent countless hours providing guidance to university boards and committees. She was a member of the Appalachian State University Board of Trustees for eight years.
She and her husband, Grady, are founding members of An Appalachian Summer Festival, and she served on the festival’s Advisory Committee for three years. She has served on the College of Arts and Sciences Advisory Board and was a member of the chancellor search committee in 2004. She currently serves on Appalachian’s Board of Visitors.
Together, the Moretzes have financially supported 40 different areas of the university, including The Appalachian Fund, Yosef Club, Appalachian Athletics, Alumni Memorial Scholarship, Chancellor Installation Fund in 2005 and 2015, Dr. Wiley F. Smith Psychology Endowment and the Appalachian Collection in Belk Library and Information Commons.
Moretz also has been a leader in advancing the state’s tourism industry. She and her husband were honored as North Carolina Tourism Leaders of the 20th Century in 2000, and she has been
honored for her work with N.C. High Country Host.
Moretz has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in music from Appalachian.