Nearly 1,300 candidates for graduation convened for their last official academic function Dec. 18, 2011 at Appalachian State University's Holmes Convocation Center.
A total of 1,066 undergraduate and 215 graduate students applied for December graduation.
"Those who come after you will be challenged by the legacy that you have left here at Appalachian from your tireless service to this university and to this community to your outstanding academic pursuits and your many achievements," Chancellor Kenneth E. Peacock told the graduates. "You have set the bar high for future Mountaineers. You are prepared; you will make a difference in our world."
Song: "Julia" by Do it to Julia. Used with permission.
December 18th, 2011
Appalachian State University
What's happening now?
Graduate 1: Starting the next phase of my life, I guess.
Graduate 2: I'm graduating today.
Graduate 3: I'm graduating with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies and a minor in Spanish.
Graduate 4 (Leila): Today I am getting my master's degree - a Master of Science in Graphic Arts and Imaging Technology.
Graduate 5: Well, it's been a long and winding road. I've been saying "one day at a time" for long time, but that day ends today - walking across that stage and making Mama proud. It feels really, really good.
Graduate 3: I've never felt better about myself. This is incredible.
Graduate 6: I feel great. My son graduated from here about 2-3 years ago, and at 55 I'm finally getting my B.S.N., so that's a good step.
What happens next?
Graduate 2: I'm an anthropology major and I think that it's going to take me to South America to learn Spanish and try to get involved with indigenous medicine.
Graduate 7: I'll be flying out to New York City. I'm going to work in a music industries firm - music sponsorships.
Graduate 8: I'm going to Maryland to work on the Navy base at Annapolis in the child development center.
Graduate 9: I'm actually starting my own consulting business in the health care industry.
Graduate 1: What am I doing tomorrow? I guess that I'm going to sleep for a little bit and the next day, I'm going to try to find a job.
Graduate 5: I'm looking to get in the politics side of things. The Appalachian region has been exploited from a lot of outside sources environmentally, culturally and politically for a long time, so I'll try to get into some non-profit, hopefully, and try to make a difference.
Graduate 2: Hopefully, teacher training. Hopefully, a lot of lives will be touched by me and I'll be the best teacher I can be.
What will you miss most?
Graduate 10: Everything. I love App, especially the football.
Graduate 11: The atmosphere, for sure. You definitely get the best of every season.
Graduate 12: I'm going to go ahead and say I'm going to miss my beautiful anthropology department.
Graduate 13: Friends.
Graduate 8: Yeah, I'm going to miss my friends.
Graduate 14: Absolutely. I think that will probably be the number one thing that I take away from here. People that I know that I'm going to talk to the rest of my life.
Graduate 7: I think that I'm just going to miss waking up every morning and just looking around and be like, "Wow, I go to an incredible place."
Graduate 13: Yeah, I'm going to miss my friends.
Graduate 8: And the snow.
Graduate 13: I'm not going to miss the snow.
Graduate 1: I've gained life-long friends in just about every department around campus. Altogether, they've helped me create this well-rounded perspective of, not only myself, but of how I see the world.
What would you like to say?
Graduate 5: What do I say to Mom and Dad? I told you I could do it.
Graduate 13: Thank you for everything that you have done to help me get to this step. It's been a long journey, but it's been amazing.
Graduate 14: Thank you so much for supporting me and just allowing me to come here.
Graduate 7: I was telling some people that I feel like my parents back home prepared me for college and Appalachian prepared me for the real world and the next step.
Graduate 9: I couldn't have done it without you all, and all of your support and toleration of my antics.
Graduate 6: OK - let's see. You're going to get me all... Thank you. Just thank you.
Graduate 1: I can't begin to thank you all enough because of how much you loved and supported me throughout this time and to be behind me throughout this process. It means the world to me.
Graduate 2: Thank you. There aren't any other words.
Congrats Class of 2011.
Featured graduates (in alphabetical order)...