Appalachian State University alumna Reba Moretz ’52 ’53 is the recipient of the Appalachian Alumni Association’s 2015 Outstanding Service Award. In this video, she recalls growing up on Appalachian’s campus, her opportunities for service and adds, “It’s important to me to be a part of Appalachian and do what I can to help in any way that I can.”
Moretz is co-owner of Appalachian Ski Mtn. Her friends describe her as passionate, energetic, positive, humble, knowledgeable, compassionate and much more. This video played at the Appalachian Alumni Association’s Alumni Awards Ceremony held Oct. 1 in the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts as part of 2015 homecoming weekend activities. Also honored during this event were Laura Aiken ’98 ’00 of Apex, who received the Young Alumna Award, and Rep. Nelson Dollar ’83 ’85 of Cary, who received the Distinguished Alumnus Award.
The Outstanding Service Award recognizes individuals for their exceptional service to the university.
Moretz 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.
Hughlene Frank: I want you to meet a friend of mine, she’s one of the most incredible women I’ve met.
David Jackson: She truly cares about everything she comes in contact with. Every facet of her life, there is passion there.
Paul Ford: The big qualities are her kindness, her loyalty, her energy…
Jim Cottrell: Positive, always has a smile on her face.
HF: She’s humble, knowledgeable, compassionate…
DJ: Loving would be the other one. You can tell she loves her family, she loves what they do.
JC: Caring, gracious…
HF: She’s the person you’d want as a friend, a mother, a guide.
JC: I think that pretty well describes Reba as far as I’m concerned.
DJ: I was probably 9 years old when I met Reba for the first time. My family, like so many others, came up to Appalachian for a ski weekend for the first time and got snowed in here. We got to know Reba then because we were ill prepared for the events that occurred and needed to get outfitted with the appropriate clothing and things like that. The relationship that our families have developed over the years has gone far beyond the typical, get-to-know-somebody-through-business type thing. It’s truly a long-time family friendship. First time I ever saw the campus of Appalachian State was in the back of Reba’s car. We had gone out to dinner with them one night, it was late, it was dark and Grady was driving and he said, “You’ve got to come see the football field.” We pulled up over on the old east side and he shines his lights inside the stadium. We could barely see anything, but that was the very first time I ever came to Kidd Brewer Stadium. At that point and time, little did I know that she basically would become my second grandmother over the course of my life.
HF: Reba and I met in the College of Arts and Sciences probably 20 some years ago. I don’t know… it just seemed like we were meant to be close friends. She went on to be a trustee and I followed in her footsteps and our relationships grew to be more than I ever thought they would be.
PF: Met Reba originally having come from Oklahoma. I’d worked at Tweetsie Railroad and had to have a job to get me through the winter as well because I decided to stay in the area. I met the whole Moretz family in 1985 when I went to work at the ski slope. She’s a gracious, gracious boss. She was there to support whoever was coming in, both employees and her loyal customers. She’s always just gone out of her way to let you know that you matter to her.
JC: Well I’ve known Reba for a long, long time. She’s a product of Appalachian State Teachers College in Boone and I’m also a product of that as well.
PF: Probably Reba’s biggest contribution to the High Country has always been the belief in the area and her belief in Appalachian Ski Mountain and Appalachian State. When the Moretzes took over what was a failing ski business… I don’t know that a lot of folks had the vision of what it would become.
JC: Skiing was in its infancy and when I went to Grady in 1968 about setting up a ski school at Appalachian Ski Mountain, Reba was very heavily involved in that.
PF: It’s now a successful business for nearly 50 years.
JC: We have taught thousands of Appalachian students to ski. A huge percentage of the student body learns to ski or snowboard at Appalachian Ski Mountain. Reba and I both have people come in all the time that say, “Oh I learned to ski here when I was in college and now I’m here with my grandchildren.” It’s been generations now of Appalachian students that have learned to ski there and Reba has been a huge part of that.
DJ: With her family’s connection to her and with the life they set forward in Boone to begin with, you always knew Appalachian was important to Reba much more than an alumnus who is proud of their school. This was a mission for her. She has always sung such a heartfelt and lasting song about Appalachian.
PF: That overall concern for making sure that the best foot of the High Country was put forward has always been a pretty major concern of Reba’s. She’s put tons and tons of energy into those things that she has a great concern for. Obviously again for App Ski Mountain, but also the things she has done with the Board of Trustees and the other work she’s done around the university making sure the university continues to go forward.
Reba Moretz '52 '53: Appalachian has been important to me for a long time. I grew up on the Appalachian campus in a faculty house that was located right where the John Thomas building is. Dr. Dougherty brought my daddy to Appalachian to teach psychology. He had such pride in Appalachian. He was one to always go to every concert, every lecture, every ballgame and he loved teaching, he loved his students and he loved Appalachian.
RM: Growing up on the campus and seeing the changes, seeing the opportunities, seeing what’s going on on campus has always been important to me. It was a great honor to be on the Board of Trustees, and to really get to know people, to get to know the campus leadership, to be able to make small contributions and to help anyway I could. And that is very important for everyone to continue to be a part of whatever community you’re in. But when you’re in school here, when you graduate, to keep your affiliation here, to appreciate what Appalachian has meant to you, how it has provided to you the opportunity for success in life. People can’t appreciate enough the opportunities that Appalachian brings to this community. The cultural events, Appalachian Summer, all the sports events – there’s so much that Appalachian brings and provides such a foundation for the community. And it’s important to me to be a part of Appalachian and to do all that I can to help in any way that I can and continue being a part of Appalachian.
DJ: I think this award is very befitting of her because it explains exactly what she’s about: outstanding service. Reba never, in the time that I’ve known her and this is close to 30 years now, I’ve never seen her doing anything halfway. It’s always been about, whether it’s Appalachian Ski Mountain, Appalachian State University, the countless civic organizations she’s a part of, you’re going to do something, you’re going to do it the right way all the way. So when you think outstanding service, I can’t think of a better role model for what that should look like than what Reba does on a daily basis.
PF: Reba deserves this award because she has been giving to this university virtually her whole life, and that amount of finding the little things that you can do sometimes. Maybe it’s not the biggest money gift that could ever come down the pike. It might not have been the most glorious position she could accept as a volunteer, but she did what had to be done. She fit in where she was needed.
HF: I think this award is coming late in life for Reba. It should’ve been given many years ago. The 20 years I’ve known her, she could’ve been recognized then and they would’ve had a wonderful recipient. I mean, her mark is everywhere. Her mark is everywhere on campus, and it wasn’t work – it was a gift that she had that she could share.
JC: I don’t know of anyone who gives to this university as much as Reba. She not only supports things financially, but she gives of herself in an incredible amount of time. I mean it’s…she goes out of her way to stay involved with the university. She is a true believer in Appalachian, and her giving to this university has been for 40-plus years. I mean, it’s not something she’s just done for a short period of time. She can’t do enough, it seems like. She’s constant…I don’t know how she keeps the schedule she does. It’s just…she’s constantly giving.
DJ: Reba, on behalf of the entire Jackson family, I cannot tell you how proud and excited we are that you have received this Outstanding Service Award. You are a role model to so many. You are an inspiration to me, and I know that I would not have had the Appalachian State experience as a student, nor would I be here as a professional, if it wasn’t for you introducing me to this campus so long ago. Thank you for being my grandmother away from home. Thank you for everything you mean to our family, to our community and to Appalachian overall. Congratulations.
HF: Reba, I don’t know anyone that I could be more proud of to represent as my friend and someone who is as deserving as you are of this special recognition. I love you and will cherish our friendship forever.
JC: Reba, congratulations on receiving this Outstanding Service Award. You are certainly deserving for everything that you have done for this region, for Appalachian State University. Thank you for everything that you do for all of us here in the High Country and Appalachian State University.
PF: Reba, I can’t think of anybody that really deserves the Outstanding Service Award more than you do. You’ve given so much to this community, to this university in particular, to Tracey and I specifically. You know, to many of your employees, you’re very much a mother figure when we’ve been…when we’ve been far from home. We could always depend on you and Grady and the family to look after us. And that doesn’t always come with employment. It’s not a guarantee anywhere, but you’ve always been just so giving of yourself, and no one deserves this more than you do. Thank you.
RM: I’m greatly honored to receive this award. It’s a great, great honor. I appreciate it very much. I feel there are many, many, many far more deserving people, but it’s been a great privilege to me to be a little part of things at Appalachian. But this award, I thank everybody who’s had any part of it, and it’s…I’m greatly, greatly honored to receive it. Thank you so very much.