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Phillips, Turners and Schaefer Named Honorary Appalachian State University Alumni

July 19, 2013. Appalachian State University recently named Pat Phillips or Hernando, Fla., and Ashe County, Ronny and Patsy Turner of Blowing Rock and Jamie D. Schaefer of Blowing Rock and Florida honorary alumni.

The honor recognizes individuals who have given unselfishly of themselves to Appalachian but never graduated from nor attended the university. Recipients are individuals who have a strong commitment to the university’s mission and exemplify outstanding service to the university.

Newly named honorary alumni of Appalachian State University pose with Chancellor Kenneth E. Peacock, far left. They are, from left, Jamie D. Schaefer, Pat Phillips, and Ronny and Patsy Turner. (Photo by Marie Freeman)
Newly named honorary alumni of Appalachian State University pose with Chancellor Kenneth E. Peacock, far left. They are, from left, Jamie D. Schaefer, Pat Phillips, and Ronny and Patsy Turner. (Photo by Marie Freeman)

Pat Phillips has been an active volunteer on the University Library Advisory Board, the Campaign Steering Committee and with the Alumni Office and Alumni Association and Appalachian Athletics. Her husband, Don, is a 1972 graduate of the university. 

As a former member and chair of the Library’s Advisory Board, Phillips was involved in the planning of Belk Library and Information Commons. She has been called a tireless, energetic and dedicated friend of the library and someone who leads by example. She gives liberally of her time and resources, including financial means to support the student employee scholarship fund. The library’s highly popular Cyber Cafe and the lecture hall bears the couple’s name. 

The Phillips’ are loyal fans of Mountaineer Athletics. Their name adorns the baseball indoor practice facility, Women’s Olympic Sports Locker Room at Owens Field House, and the VIP club level lounge, a luxury suite and an entrance column at the Athletics Complex. T

The couple frequently host campaign events in their home, and are active participants of the Alumni Association’s travel program as well as state-wide alumni and Homecoming activities. 

For more than a decade, Jamie D. Schaefer has helped enhance the cultural offerings of An Appalachian Summer Festival through her guidance, wisdom and personal support of the annual multi-arts event, which has led to significant improvements to the quality and diversity of its popular music programming. 

Along with her partner, Bonnie, Schaefer has been a driving force in a multi-million dollar renovation of the university’s auditorium, now The Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts, into a state-of-the-art facility with improved access, sightlines, sound system and other features that will enhance the audience experience. 

As a member of the steering committee for the Campaign for Appalachian, the university’s $200 million fundraising initiative, Schaefer has helped the university address needs related to the ongoing support of academic, arts and athletics programs. Her work is helping ensure that the next generation of students is prepared at the highest level and that the university is poised to expand its role as a leader and innovator in higher education. 

Schaefer’s passion for the university also extends to other areas of campus. Her dedication to the activities of the Center for Judaic, Holocaust and Peace Studies, and support the center’s Levine Professorship, ensures that future generations of students, teachers and others will have access to information, programs and activities that increase the knowledge of Jewish culture and history.

Through an act of love and commitment to ensuring Appalachian students receive the support they need to thrive as young adults, Ronny and Patsy Turner have demonstrated their hope for the success of future students by establishing the Nicki Lynn Turner Student Employee Scholarship in memory of their late daughter. 

In addition, a planned gift to the university will support three areas that make a difference in students’ lives: Belk Library and Information Commons, The Appalachian Fund, and Counseling and Psychological Services. These areas were chosen carefully and with considerable thought. 

Their daughter received an academic scholarship to attend Appalachian in 1988. During her short time on campus, she often frequented the library, driven in part by her love of reading and her dream of becoming a teacher. When their daughter passed away in 1999, the Turners decided to honor their daughter by helping others who might have financial, emotional or other challenges that might hinder their chance of success.

In addition to their financial support, the couple volunteers with campus committees. Patsy Turner is a member of the Belk Library Advisory Board. Hearing the stories of current Appalachian students has further underscored her commitment to being an advocate for student scholarships. 

Ronny Turner is a member of the Appalachian Real Estate Holdings Committee where his business expertise helps inform the university regarding gifts of real estate or other property.