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Campus dining facility named for university benefactor

BOONE—The facility known simply as “Central Dining Hall” by Appalachian State University students has been named for Appalachian State University Board of Trustees member and university benefactor Alice G. Roess of Blowing Rock.

View larger imageThe main dining facility at Appalachian State University has been named for university benefactor Alice G. Roess of Blowing Rock. Roess also received an apron from Appalachian’s student body president and a chef’s hat from the university’s chancellor to mark the occasion. (Photo by Marie Freeman)

Alice Roess Dining Hall was formally dedicated during a ceremony Thursday afternoon, March 27, in the facility.

“This is the perfect place to recognize Alice,” said Chancellor Kenneth E. Peacock. “It’s one of the most important places that we have on campus. She has done so much for this campus, giving generously of her time, support and resources for academics, the arts and athletics.”

Roess adopted Appalachian as her own when she moved to the area in 2008 from St. Petersburg, Fla. Ever since, she has used her talents, influence and philanthropic interests to support the university’s students, its cultural offerings and athletic pursuits.

“Ken Peacock saved my life,” Roess said recounting how in a short period of time she lost her only child, husband, mother and her father. “That was my whole family. But a good friend is always telling me that God gives you those who you need when you need them. And she’s right. I answered the phone one day and it was Chancellor Peacock.” He had called to ask Roess to serve on Appalachian’s Board of Trustees.

“He stepped in and he gave me a sense of purpose and a focus and it has been growing ever since,” she said. “Appalachian State University has been my family for at least five years and I hope for a very long time to come.”

Roess’s contributions to the university, both in terms of leadership and philanthropy, will leave an indelible mark on campus.

In 2010, she announced a $3 million estate gift to the university to benefit the Walker College of Business’s Holland Fellows Program for Business Study in Asia Endowment, the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts and the Athletics Facilities Enhancement Campaign. International travel, the arts and athletics are her personal loves.

Roess’s commitment is among the top 10 cumulative gifts or commitments made to the university by an individual, corporation or foundation.

Roess has served two terms on the university’s Board of Trustees. In addition, she served on the 2013-14 Chancellor Search Committee and was a member of the campaign steering committee, helping the university reach fundraising goals related to the Campaign for Appalachian.

She received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Appalachian’s Walker College of Business in May 2011.

More about Alice Roess

Roess has been an active volunteer in civic, charitable and social organizations in both the Blowing Rock and St. Petersburg, Fla., communities, serving as an officer, director and on various committees.

She is a member of the St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts and the Pinellas County Florida Heritage Museum, and is a life member of the Stuart Society, the heritage museum’s fundraising arm. She was active in the St. Petersburg Woman’s Service League as general chair for the organization’s annual fundraiser and on many committees. She was elected to the organization’s hall of fame and nominated as Princess to the Queen of Hearts Ball. She also has served as general chair of the annual fundraiser of the Women’s Chamber of Commerce of the Greater Gulf Beaches, and has served the organization as an officer and director.

She remains active with the Celma Mastry Ovarian Cancer Foundation in St. Petersburg, serving on the foundation’s associate board of directors and assisting with fundraising activities.

Roess is a broker with Blowing Rock Investment Properties. She serves on the Blowing Rock Community Club’s Library Committee, the Blowing Rock Community Service Day Annual Fundraising Committee, and has been active with the Blowing Rock Hospital’s Annual Luncheon and Fashion Show Fundraiser.

Roess is a life member of The James Smithson Society, which raises private donations for The Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.

About Alice Roess Hall

Opened in January 2009, the 84,965 square-foot dining hall houses Rivers Street Cafe and Sanford Commons. The facility has wireless Internet, seating for 1,660, and a private dining area for faculty and staff. The facility cost $28.97 million to construct, including the cost of demolishing the aging Welborn Dining Hall.