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Wells Fargo grant will support scholarships for underrepresented students

BOONE—A $250,000 grant from Wells Fargo will support the Dr. Willie C. Fleming Endowed Scholarship Fund at Appalachian State University, created to provide scholarships to underrepresented students. The grant will be made over a two-year period and counts towards the $200 million Campaign for Appalachian.

Fleming was an advisor for minority students and a director of Minority Student Affairs, now the Office of Multicultural Student Development. He founded the Appalachian Gospel Choir, was active in the Black Student Association, and was a charter member of the Black Faculty and Staff Association. Fleming also was instrumental in bringing Black Greek Life to Appalachian and was a charter member of the Pi Nu Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.

“This is a very generous commitment on the part of Wells Fargo,” Fleming said. “Often times when we think of business and industry, we don’t think of them as caring. Wells Fargo has shown that they care about community. I am excited about the number of young people who will benefit from this gracious gesture.”

The Fleming scholarship was established in October 2011 by a group of African-American alumni under the leadership of Judge Gary Henderson ’92, ’94. Gifts and pledges to the endowment fund now total $326,106.

“We are excited about our contribution to the Dr. Willie C. Fleming Endowed Scholarship Fund at Appalachian State University,” said Avery B. Hall Sr., Wells Fargo senior vice president and business banking manager in Greensboro. Hall is a 1993 graduate of Appalachian and vice chairman of the university’s Board of Trustees as well as a member of the university’s Campaign Steering Committee.

“This directly connects with the vision and values of our company,” he said. “We are equally excited about the impact of these dollars now and in the future relative to serving students attending Appalachian.”

“At Wells Fargo, we share the belief that supporting education is one of the most important investments we can make in our country’s future,” said Jason Triplett, business banking manager for Wells Fargo and market president for Boone. Triplett is a 1998 graduate of Appalachian and currently serves on the Walker College of Business’s Finance, Banking and Insurance Advisory Board. “We know the returns on an investment in a great education far exceed those from the best mutual funds,” he said.

Fleming came to Appalachian as a student in 1975. While at Appalachian, he was active in Boone’s African-American community. He was the choir director of the Mennonite Brethren Church and the first director to incorporate young adults from the university into the choir. He also helped connect the university with the local black community by serving as a liaison and was instrumental in convincing members of Boone’s African-American community to pursue a college degree from Appalachian.

He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in art education in 1980. After staying to complete a Master of Arts degree in college student development in 1984, he joined Appalachian’s Division of Student Development. He earned a Ph.D. in counselor education from the University of South Carolina in 1997 and was an assistant professor in the Reich College of Education’s Department of Human Development and Psychological Counseling.

Fleming left Appalachian in 2003. He is a professor in Gardner-Webb University’s School of Psychology and Counseling.