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Appalachian State University Graduation Ceremonies Friday and Saturday

by Luke Weir

Following a final week of final exams and years of studying, more than 3,500 Appalachian State University students will receive their diplomas Friday and Saturday at commencement ceremonies in the Holmes Convocation and Broyhill Music Centers, according to the university.

Based on previous graduation weekends, heavy traffic can be expected Friday and Saturday as friends and families of graduates flock to Boone for the festivities.

In total, six commencement ceremonies will celebrate the accomplishments of 3,229 undergraduate and 369 graduate students, according to Appalachian Today, as follows:

Friday, May 11:
11 a.m. – Reich College of Education in Holmes Convocation Center
2 p.m. – Hayes School of Music in Broyhill Music Center’s Rosen Concert Hall
5 p.m. – Beaver College of Health Sciences in Holmes Convocation Center

Saturday, May 12:
9 a.m. – College of Fine and Applied Arts in Holmes Convocation Center
1 p.m. – Walker College of Business in Holmes Convocation Center
5 p.m. – College of Arts and Sciences in Holmes Convocation Center

            Each commencement ceremony will be preceded by a processional of students, faculty and special guests, beginning 15 minutes prior to the start times listed above, according to Appalachian Today.

            To watch live streams of the ceremonies provided by AppTV, tune into Charter Cable channel 198, SkyBest TV channel 20 or 1020, or the AppTV Facebook page.

            A map of commencement parking is available here, with event guest parking lots colored orange and disability parking in purple. For those attending commencement, the university suggests parking at least 45 minutes before ceremonies begin.

Shuttle service will be available to and from the Raley Hall Circle, in green left of number 69 on the map, Stadium parking lot, in orange at number 24, and Hill Street parking lot, in orange left of number 33, before and after the ceremonies. For reference, Broyhill Music Center is number 8 on the map, and Holmes Convocation Center is number 34.

            The Friday forecast calls for isolated afternoon thunder and scattered clouds throughout the day, with a high of 77 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Ray’s Weather Center. Saturday, Ray predicts partial cloud coverage, widely scattered afternoon thundershowers and a high in the upper 70s.

Featured speakers

Reich College of Education
Tanairi Tirado is from Camden, New Jersey, and is earning a Bachelor of Science degree in child development: birth – kindergarten. She hopes to impact children’s lives and be a source of support, encouragement and advocacy in the private and public sectors of education. She participated in Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society while enrolled at CPCC and is currently a part of Tau Sigma Honor Society for transfer students at Appalachian. She plans to stay in Boone after graduation to teach and influence the community, especially in education and working with families. She hopes to pursue a graduate degree, which will help her continue to fight for developmentally appropriate education and opportunities for young children.

Nathan Weigl resides in Boone with his wife and two young children. He is graduating with a dual Doctor of Education/Master of Business Administration degree. While studying at Appalachian, Nathan worked as an intern and research fellow with the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships — a role which culminated in an opportunity to present at a national conference on possible ways to increase traditionally underrepresented student populations on college campuses. Nathan is an aspiring leader in higher education who is most interested in promoting those conditions and practices which help students persist once they arrive on campus. After graduation, he plans to continue serving as senior lecturer in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Appalachian.


Hayes School of Music
Dr. Frederick Tims earned undergraduate and master’s degrees in piano performance and was a piano faulty member for seven years at Blue Mountain College and Eastern New Mexico University. He then earned a second undergraduate degree in music therapy from Michigan State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Kansas. Tims initiated a new music therapy degree program at Colorado State University, which he led for 10 years. For the next 12 years, Tims chaired the music therapy program at the University of Miami. For his last 15 years of teaching he was chair of music therapy at Michigan State University, where he also served as associate director for graduate studies for six years. Tims retired from academia in August 2011, and was named emeritus professor. In retirement, he lives in Gainesville, Florida.
Beaver College of Health Sciences
Al-Amin Bidemi Aminu was born in Lagos, Nigeria, and moved to America when he was 5 years old. He is receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in exercise science with a minor in chemistry. Among his many accomplishments at Appalachian, Amin is a Diversity Scholar; he is involved in the Minority Men’s Leadership Circle; he is on the Chancellor’s Student Advisory Board for Diversity and Recruitment; and he has played an active role in Student Government Association, where he served as the director of student affairs. While in this role, he helped establish a student food pantry and increased awareness of National Pan-Hellenic plots. In the summer before his senior year, Amin participated in the Medical Education Development Program at UNC Chapel Hill. The experience sparked his interest in ultimately earning his medical degree in the future. However, his immediate plans for after graduation are to join Teach for America in eastern North Carolina where he will be teaching high school science.

MaryClare Gabel is from Decatur, Alabama. She is receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in public health with a minor in leadership studies. She also received the 2018 Public Health Leadership Award. While at Appalachian, Gabel researched the reading levels of popular health education websites discussing pre-eclampsia, and she presented the findings at the Celebration of Student Research and Creative Endeavors. She interned for the local non-profit, Western Youth Network and the national non-profit MAPSCorps, and mapped community assets that strive to improve the human condition. She served as a Red Flag Educator on campus and co-founded the Appalachian Chapter of the American Mock World Health Organization. Following graduation, she plans on returning to Alabama and working in the public health field before attending graduate school.

Madelyn Elliott is from Greensboro. She is receiving a Master of Science degree in speech-language pathology. She also completed her undergraduate degree in communication sciences and disorders at Appalachian. Elliott was a Lovill Fellowship Recipient (2016-2018) and was the Three-minute Thesis winner (2016) from the Cratis D. Williams School of Graduate Studies. She served as a Graduate Research Assistant Mentee (GRAM) to Dr. Kim McCullough in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders for two years. She completed her graduate thesis titled “Cognitive Intervention for Individuals With Probable MCI.” Upon graduation, she will begin a position as a clinical fellow with a private pediatric speech-language pathology practice in Durham.

College of Fine and Applied Arts
Elaine (Lainey) Everly is from Black Mountain and is receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in studio art and a bachelor of science degree in sustainable development. While at Appalachian, she has been involved in multiple clubs and organizations but focused her energy as the president of the Sustainability and Environmental Education Club, wherein she has worked to educate youth and peers about pertinent issues and helped orchestrate larger events, such as the Water Justice Forum and Climate Justice Month. Through the studio art program, Everly has developed skills in various mediums, such as papermaking, metalsmithing, painting, photography and mixed media. She has received the Jaroslav and Jarmelia Kabatnik Scholarship, the Goodnight Fellows Scholarship, the Doc and Rosa Lee Watson Scholarship, the W.H. Plemmons Leadership Scholarship, and a research grant through Appalachian’s Office of Student Research. After graduation, Everly will be interning with a metalsmith in Asheville and plans on applying to graduate school for architecture.

Daniel Blakeley is from Olympia, Washington, and is receiving a Master of Science degree in technology, and a Master of Science degree in engineering physics. He graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in technology education, with a concentration in sustainable technology from Appalachian in May 2015. Prior to coming here, Blakeley served in the U.S. Army for six years, all with 2nd Ranger Battalion. He deployed three times to Iraq and three times to Afghanistan. In fall 2013 Blakeley started a multidisciplinary solar car program, in which students from across the university design, fabricate and race a solar-powered car that competes in international solar car racing competitions. He has received The Outstanding Graduate Student Scholarship, the Donald Maley Spirit of Excellence Outstanding Graduate Student Award, the Graduate Research and Mentorship Grant, the Dean C. R. Duke Scholarship, the Wilson Teacher Education Scholarship, the Thomas Scholarship in Education, and the Williamsen Study Abroad Scholarship. After graduation, Blakeley will take a position as practitioner-in-residence within the Department of Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment.

Walker College of Business
Isaac Church is from Granite Falls and is graduating with a Master of Science degree in accounting and a Master of Business Administration degree concentrating in applied business analytics. He earned his BSBA in accounting summa cum laude in 2016. While at Appalachian, Church was a Graduate Research Assistant and Chancellor’s Fellow, represented the Walker College of Business through international travel, and consulted for local non-profits and small businesses. He received the MBA Top Student Award for academic and extracurricular excellence. Church is an active member and worship leader at Alliance Bible Fellowship, where he has also co-led several disaster relief trips over the past six years. After graduation, he plans to pursue a career in accounting, focusing in analytics and security.

Cole Maita is from Weaverville and is graduating summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree with a major in marketing and minor in advanced entrepreneurship. During his time at Appalachian, he served as the founder and president of the Walker College of Business Honors Association, chief executive officer and executive advisor of BootstrAPPs, and lead brand ambassador for Amazon Prime Student. He traveled to France, Italy and Switzerland through two international programs provided by the Walker College of Business. While at Appalachian, he helped launch the brand Theraworx Relief through his role as an e-commerce specialist at Avadim Technologies in Asheville. He is excited about various opportunities presented to him to help develop businesses globally.

Amalia Miles is from Whitehall, Wisconsin, but has made a home here in the High Country of North Carolina since attending Appalachian as a transfer student. She is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree in finance and banking. Throughout her time at the university, she was a member of the Bowden Investment Group, participated in the Chartered Financial Analyst Competition, was a part of the Finance Group Mentoring Program and a member of the Women of Walker, all of which greatly shaped her education while at the university. Following graduation, Miles will be relocating to Charlotte to join Bank of America in their Financial Management Analyst Program.

College of Arts and Sciences
Ryan Hadenfeld is originally from Kansas City where he started a 15-year career as a cook and chef. The culinary arts afforded him a plethora of traveling opportunities domestically and abroad; he spent a summer on Mackinac Island, Michigan, then moved on to mountains of Colorado and the beaches of Brazil, before finally ending up in Asheville, working on the Biltmore Estate. It was in Asheville, that Hadenfeld started a family, which served as a catalyst to change careers. He chose to study actuarial science at Appalachian. Academic career highlights include a 4.0 GPA and inclusion on the Chancellor’s and Dean’s lists every semester, induction into the national mathematical honors society Pi Mu Epsilon, becoming a Spencer Scholar in 2017, and passing the actuarial exams FM and P, and all while being a father to a son and twin boys. Last summer, Hadenfeld interned with Aon Risk Services, an actuarial consultancy, in Charlotte, which further fueled his excitement for the career. His long-term goal is to become an actuarial fellow. After graduation, he plans to continue studying for his actuarial exams while pursuing his career as an actuary.

Lacy Martin is from King in Stokes County. She graduated high school from Stokes Early College, where she received her high school diploma and associate degree. She joined the Appalachian family in 2015 to pursue a career as a school teacher. She is graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in English, secondary education. During her time at Appalachian, she has participated in several extracurriculars, the most important being social justice advocate for hall council, vice president of gospel choir, and then president of gospel choir. She has been awarded with two scholarships during her academic journey: the ACCESS scholarship, which provided a full-tuition payment of school, and the Ella Hobbs scholarship, of which she was nominated by a professor in the College of Arts and Sciences. Immediately after graduating from Appalachian, Martin will continue her education at Gardner-Webb University for a Master of Arts in English. She says that sometimes the road on the mountain is rough, but the climb is always worth it.

Shohei Tsutsumi is from Osaka, Japan, and is graduating with a Master of Arts degree in Appalachian studies as the first Japanese who will hold this degree. Before Tsutsumi came to Appalachian, he earned a master’s degree in American studies at Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan, with a thesis on underrepresented black contemporary old-time musicians. He has received the Anne and Alex Bernhardt Endowed Scholarship in Appalachian Music through the Appalachian Studies program in 2017 and 2018 for his studies on local music traditions, and he has won several prizes at old-time music contests. Tsutsumi has taught old-time fiddle and banjo for the Appalachian Strings classes on campus and for Junior Appalachian Musicians at the Jones House in Boone and has performed for various events, including the Appalachian Teaching Project Meeting in Washington, D.C., in 2017. He has interned with former NPR journalist Paul Brown for the “Across the Blue Ridge” show, distributed by 88.5 WFDD. After graduation, he plans to stay in the region and work at several internships to pursue a career in public folklore.