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Willie C. Fleming Scholarship

The Willie C. Fleming Scholarship committee at Appalachian State University interviewed 11 applicants at Scholars Day on Saturday, February 20, with the intent of awarding four $1,000 scholarships – three one-time scholarships and one four-year renewable scholarship. After the interview process, the leadership at Appalachian decided to allocate more resources for these scholarships as a way of recruiting historically underrepresented students. In light of this additional funding, Appalachian was able to award the top six applicants with a one-time scholarship that covers full in-state tuition and fees, renewable up to eight semesters – a significant increase in addition to the original awards.

The Fleming Scholarship was established to support qualifying freshmen who are historically underrepresented and demonstrate a desire to promote cultural diversity and show verifiable need. Judge Gary Henderson ’92 ’94, along with other Appalachian African American alumni, led the effort and contributed to establish the endowed scholarship. A $250,000 grant from Wells Fargo in addition to contributions from the university’s black student population, members of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, other alumni, friends, and faculty and staff have funded the endowment.

The scholarship honors Dr. Willie C. Fleming ’80 ’84, a former minority student advisor and founder of the Appalachian Gospel Choir and the Black Student Association, and a founding 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. 

A panel of eight alumni, including Fleming, conducted the interviews. They were Dr. Reneé Evans ’97 ’99, Judge Gary Henderson ’92 ’94, Brian Scott McCullough ’89 ’98, Selina Parks ’86, Shanoya Conner ’10, Alicia Farrer ’85 and Darrin Eaton ’89. 

Awards will be announced by April 1. Each of the applicants is a resident of North Carolina.

The inaugural $1,000 Willie C. Fleming Scholarships were awarded to three university freshmen in August of 2015: Latanya Gordon of Fayetteville, Troy Boyd of Stanley and Jasmine Henderson of Charlotte.

Gordon is a graduate of South View High School. She plans to major in psychology with a concentration in natural science. “Appalachian was the place where I felt the most welcomed when I visited,” Gordon said. “Everyone, especially my admissions counselor, made sure that I was aware of everything that Appalachian had to offer. The Willie C. Fleming Scholarship was an unexpected blessing.” 

Boyd is a graduate of East Gaston High School. He plans to major in communication with a concentration in electronic media/broadcasting.

“I chose Appalachian State University because of the sense of community that I observed on the campus and also because I like the town of Boone,” Boyd said. “I am grateful that I was selected to receive the Fleming Scholarship.”

Henderson graduated from Harding University High School. She plans to major in apparel design and merchandising. “I chose Appalachian because of the university’s great academic reputation and the beauty of the campus,” she said. “I am grateful for the Fleming Endowment Scholarship because it is a great resource that will allow me to fulfill my dreams and aspirations.”

On Scholars Day each year, scholarship candidates are invited to interview for the most prestigious merit scholarships offered by the university. This year 270 students  attended. In addition to the interviews, the students attend breakouts sessions to learn about academic and community opportunities available for Appalachian students, a closing luncheon and complimentary tickets to the basketball double-header in Holmes Convocation Center.