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Campus leaders to receive Plemmons Leadership Medallion

BOONE— Each year, Appalachian State University recognizes its outstanding campus leaders by presenting them with the W.H. Plemmons Leadership Medallion.

The award is named for the university’s second president and will be presented during Convocation Sept. 4. It recognizes recipients” contributions to the betterment of students’ lives outside the classroom.

Honorees for the 2007-08 academic year are students Whitney E. Baker, Kara A. Brown and Forrest S. Gilliam, Bryan C. Toney, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, William, “Sonny” Struss, Department of Art facilities manager and Tracey L. Wright, assistant vice chancellor for student development.

Baker is a senior French major from Robbins. She is a member of Kappa Delta sorority and a Plemmons Leadership Fellow. She also was vice president of the Student Government Association in 2006-07. Baker was selected by her peers in the W.H. Plemmons Fellows Program for the honor. Baker was cited for her significant accomplishments and contributions to fostering a quality out-of-class learning experience for students.

A nominee wrote that, “Whether one looks at Whitney’s impact through the Student Government Association, the W.H. Plemmons Leaders Program, Upward Bound, Alternative Spring Break or peer leader programs, it is clear that she has exceeded her peers in providing leadership that enriches the quality of student life and advances the education of students.”

Brown is a senior psychology major from Charlotte. She has minors in Spanish and geography. She has been an invaluable volunteer on campus, in the community and across the state and nation.

Brown has worked with Appalachian’s volunteer clearing house since her freshman year. She received the N.C. Campus Compact Community Impact Student Award presented each year to students who have made significant, innovative contributions to campus-based efforts to address community needs. Among her volunteer work, she was an inaugural member of NC-ACTS, contributing 300 hours of individual service at a resource center for the local Hispanic population, and co-founder of Appalachian’s Relay for Life fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.

Her nominator wrote, “It has been a distinct pleasure to be able to watch Kara grow from a shy and reserved freshman to a confident, poised and immensely capable senior, ready to go out and make an even bigger impact on the world than she has made on us, which will be no small feat.”

Gilliam is a senior political science major and leadership minor from Marshall. He has served Appalachian for the past two years as president of the Student Government Association. Throughout his career at Appalachian and especially as SGA president, Gilliam has been a voice for students on campus.

“Forrest Gilliam represents everything and more that we as educators desire that our students become,” a nominator wrote. “He is a student leader who says what he means and means what he says. His actions match his words and his convictions. Forrest has enriched the lives of students through example and hard work.”

Toney has been an instructor in the Walker College of Business for 10 years. He has provided significant assistance to many students who want to start a business when they graduate. He also has led a number of study abroad trips, which has broadened students’ experiences relating to other cultures and enhanced their knowledge of international business.

“Bryan seems to be an endless source of ideas on developing new projects and programs that will benefit students and motivate them to take their learning further,” a nominator wrote.

Struss has worked at Appalachian for 11 years. He was originally hired to organize the sculpture area and be the safety officer for the Department of Art. Because of his incredible energy and willingness to help, his job was expanded to serve all areas of the department.

His nominator wrote, “Sonny has a generosity of spirit that truly sets him apart. The students know this, love him for it, and credit him with having been a singularly influential person in their lives. Students and faculty alike could not get along without him.”

Wright has worked at the university for more than 10 years. He has been a role model for students and an advocate for diversity. She also has worked to help students develop their leadership potential in and out of the classroom.

“Tracey loves people and sees potential in every student,” her nominator wrote. “She is a seemingly endless source of energy, guidance, leadership, compassion and encouragement. Appalachian can be a tough and lonely place for under-represented students, and Tracey shines the way for us.”

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