Three honored by Alumni Association for distinguished careers or service

  • From left to right: Laura Aiken '98 '00, Reba Moretz '52 '53 and Nelson Dollar '83 '85.

A N.C. legislator, a healthcare professional and a leader in the state’s tourism industry received the 2015 awards from Appalachian Alumni Association at Appalachian State University. The awards were presented Oct. 1, prior to Homecoming weekend.

Young Alumna Award 2015

Laura Aiken ’98 ’00 of Apex, N.C, has a bachelor’s degree in health promotion and a master’s degree in sports management from Appalachian. She is a patient experience advisor for Press Ganey & Associates (PGA), working to improve patient experiences and outcomes in PGA’s hospitals and physician practices.

Aiken also has had a distinguished career in other healthcare positions. She was director of Advocates for Health in Action, a collaborative housed at WakeMed Health & Hospitals. She also served as a cardiac rehabilitation specialist with WakeMed. She was included in the Triangle Business Journal’s “Top 40 Under 40” in 2010 in recognition of her work in the healthcare industry.

This award honors individuals under age 40 for their exceptional service to the university and career accomplishments.

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Distinguished Alumnus Award

Rep. Nelson Dollar ’83 ’85 of Cary has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in social sciences from Appalachian. He is in his sixth term as a member of the N.C. House of Representatives. He is senior chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and vice chairman of the Finance Committee and the Health and Human Services Committee.

Through his leadership, Dollar was instrumental in securing funds to plan and design a building for Appalachian’s Beaver College of Health Sciences.

Dollar has been recognized by AARP for his commitment to support services for seniors and family caregivers and by the National Alliance on Mental Illness North Carolina as its 2014 Legislator of the Year.

This award honors a graduate who has attained extraordinary distinction and success in his or her career and demonstrated exceptional and sustained leadership in the community.

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Outstanding Service Award

Co-owner of Appalachian Ski Mtn., Reba Moretz ’52 ’53 has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in music from Appalachian. She all but grew up on Appalachian’s campus. Her father was Dr. Wiley F. Smith, who taught at Appalachian from 1936-1964 and was the Department of Psychology’s first chairman. She has known every president or chancellor of the university from Dr. B.B. Dougherty to current chancellor Dr. Sheri N. Everts.

She has spent countless hours providing guidance to university boards and committees. She was a member of the Appalachian State University Board of Trustees for eight years and currently serves on Appalachian’s Board of Visitors.

With her husband, Grady, she has financially supported 40 different areas of the university – from scholarships, the arts and athletics to The Appalachian Fund and chancellor installation funds.

This award recognizes individuals for their exceptional service to the university

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