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Plemmons Leadership Medallion Winners Announced

Student recipients of Appalachian State University’s Plemmons Leadership Medallion for 2011-12 are Samuel H. Williams, left, and Giovanni R. Modica. Also honored but not pictured is recent graduate David M. Lee. Photo by Jane Nicholson

May 8, 2012. Appalachian State University has honored six outstanding campus leaders by presenting them with the W.H. Plemmons Leadership Medallion.

The award, named for the university’s second president, recognizes the honorees’ contributions to the betterment of students’ lives outside the classroom. The awards will be presented at Convocation on Sept. 6.

Honorees for the 2011-12 academic year are students Giovanni R. Modica and Samuel H. Williams, and recent graduate David M. Lee.  Also being honored are Dr. Scott Hunsinger, associate professor of computer information systems; Martha Q. Wilson, senior associate registrar; Dr. Patricia A. Geiger, student health services. 

Modica is a senior business management major and a W.H. Plemmons Leader Fellow, a four-year program that recognizes students based on their leadership and involvement in their high school and community.  In addition to his leadership in International Appalachian, Student Veteran’s Association, Watauga Global Community and as a Holland Fellow in the Walker College of Business, Modica served in Iraq with the Army National Guard from 2008-10.

“A true scholar, leader and student advocate, Giovanni has participated in lobbying efforts regarding state budget cuts, while being relentless toward the pursuit of his education,” a nominator wrote. “During the last two years, Giovanni has continued to build a legacy that will be very difficult to match. His commitment to academic excellence is a testament to how well he balances life, course load, and co-curricular involvement. 

Lee earned a master’s degree in appropriate technology in December 2011. He was the communications director for Appalachian’s Solar Homestead entry in the 2011 U.S. Solar Decathlon. 

“He developed a real appreciation for the team behind the project and how hard they were working and why they deserved his dedicated efforts to obtain sponsorships, funding commitments, and strong community support,” a nominator wrote. “He put in countless hours directing his communications group and coordinating efforts with other units of the team.  He was just as excited about the project whether he was talking with a group of students at the local elementary school who folded information hats for the event or the CEO of Lowes Corporation on the tarmac of the Charlotte airport.” 

Williams is a senior history major and has been active with Appalachian and the Community Together (Act) and as a leader with Center for Student Involvement and Leadership’s Trailhead Academy, the summer leadership program for incoming freshmen. He also is a member of the Student Conduct Board and is continually challenging and encouraging his peers by providing insight and depth in understanding while critically analyzing the information presented for deliberation.

“Sam is an effective agent of change, expert communicator and passionate servant leader. He is steadfast in his dedication to service and approaches challenges with optimism and unfailing energy. Sam is professional, approachable, reliable, and just plain likable. Sam is incredibly motivational and serves as an outstanding role model,” a nominator wrote. 

Appalachian State University faculty and staff receiving the Plemmons Leadership Medallion for 2011-12 are Martha Wilson, left, Associate Professor Scott Hunsinger and Dr. Patricia A. Geiger. Photo by Jane Nicholson

Hunsinger, a member of the faculty since 2005, is the faculty advisor for the student chapter of the Association for Information Technology Professionals (AITP). He regularly receives funding for students to attend and compete in conferences and to support their activities outside of classroom. 

A nominator said, “Dr. Hunsinger has served our department in many areas of leadership in relation to students, our department and to our college.  As advisor to AITP, Hunsinger has given tirelessly of his time and his own financial resources to make this club highly successful.  I certainly recognized very quickly that leadership was his greatest strength.” 

Wilson has been a part of the registrar’s staff for 19 years. She works beyond the expected daily duties to help students who are struggling to navigate the complicated world of academic policies as they strive to reach their educational goals. 

“Martha embodies what an administrator in a leadership role on campus should be.  She truly is a servant leader, serving her colleagues and her students above and beyond the call of duty with a great attitude and an incredible heart,” a nominator wrote.  

Wilson describes her work in this way: “Every student that walks through my door has a story.  I have found the key to their heart is listening.  The joy I receive in my job is seeing them become well-rounded confident young men and women.” 

Geiger has been a physician in M.S. Shook Student Health Services for 25 years. She is considered to be a gifted physician and compassionate care provider by her peers. She regularly volunteers with Freshman Move-in Day, and has been a trusted voice in college health within both the Southern College Health Association and the American College Health Association.

“Pat is a gifted physician and compassionate care provider. She is willing to work with any student and family to address difficult health and psychosocial issues. She is a strong advocate for students. She leads by personal example. She is highly respected and greatly loved by her staff and by her university colleagues,” wrote a nominator. “There is no doubt that Pat’s motto is the student comes first.”