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Lee Barnes Scholars Program established at Appalachian

May 29, 2012. A new scholarship has been established at Appalachian State University to support future business majors in the Walker College of Business (WCOB). The Lee Barnes Scholars Program, established with a four-year, $200,000 pledge from M. Lee Barnes Jr. of Durham, will support students who are majoring or intend to major in a field of study within the business college, who have financial need, and whose high school record demonstrates significant accomplishment and high academic achievement.

Barnes, a 1990 graduate of the Walker College of Business, is president of the Durham-based Family Fare convenience stores.

Two incoming freshmen at Appalachian selected to be Barnes Scholars will each receive a $10,000 scholarship. The scholarship may be renewable for subsequent years, based on a reapplication for the award and a minimum 3.2 grade point average.

“The entire experience I had at Appalachian draws me back there to want to do something for students graduating from high schools in North Carolina,” Barnes said. “This scholarship is for students who have a lot of academic potential and show great promise and who have had to work hard in school.”

Barnes’ philanthropy to the university began as a senior when he contributed $100 to the “buy a brick” campaign in support of construction of Raley Hall, home to the business college.

Barnes continued to contribute to the university, expanding his support of the business college and contributing to Appalachian athletics. 

Barnes, along with his wife, Christy, established the Duane D. Daggett Endowed Professorship in the Walker College of Business in 2008, the university’s only professorship established by an alumnus in honor of a faculty member. The professorship is awarded to an outstanding faculty member in the Walker College of Business Department of Management.

Daggett mentored Barnes while he was a student at Appalachian, and the relationship continues more than 20 years after Barnes earned his degree. “Dr. Daggett inspired me and took me under his wing in a lot of different ways. He was a confidante in my career search, in life learning and in what makes a well-balanced person in life.”

Barnes was a cheerleader while at Appalachian and also worked as an assistant strength and conditioning coach. For Barnes’s contribution to the Athletics Facilities Enhancement Campaign, an office in the new field house was named in honor of his mentor, Chip Sigmon, who was the head strength and conditioning coach at Appalachian from 1984-1990. Another contribution from Barnes was used to purchase new uniforms for the cheerleaders.

“One of my happiest moments at Appalachian was being on the 1989 National Champion Division I cheerleading team,” Barnes said.

Barnes also is a proud member of Kappa Alpha Order. He joined the fraternity as a first-semester freshman. “My fondest memories are times with my brothers,” he said. Barnes honored his primary mentor in KA, Chris Rohrbach, with a gift to the KA Educational Foundation. “I want to help others reach their potential in their educational pursuits,” Barnes said of the gift.

Barnes said it’s never too early for students and young alumni to consider supporting their alma mater and that no gift is ever too small.

“When I began my career at age 22, I never imagined I would be able to do something like this,” Barnes said. “ASU is about the people, the people who helped us get to where we are today. I suggest all young alumni try to do a little something and see where it goes.”

“Lee Barnes is an outstanding example of the way Appalachian alumni enhance the academic environment of our campus and support student success,” said Chancellor Kenneth E. Peacock.

“Support of Appalachian’s academic programs through scholarships such as the Lee Barnes Scholars Program is a key initiative of the university’s $200 million Campaign for Appalachian. Lee’s continued commitment to the university will help provide a transformational experience for future students,” he said.

“What’s different about Appalachian is the connection, the greater shared purpose among faculty, students and staff,” Barnes said. “I felt cared for by the people at Appalachian. They were kindhearted and good to me. I’ll never forget that.”