A fall 2022 aerial view of Founders Plaza, which features statues of App State co-founders B.B. Dougherty, D.D. Dougherty and Lillie Shull Dougherty. Founders Bell Pavilion is shown in the upper left corner of the image. Click on the image for a full view. Photo by Wes Craig and Chase Reynolds
Founders Plaza was one of several major construction projects completed at Appalachian State University to enhance the App State Experience.
As a tribute to App State’s founders, B.B. and D.D. Dougherty and Lillie Shull Dougherty, a new plaza was constructed in the university sign area off Hardin Street. Founders Plaza, dedicated Sept. 5, 2018, provides a larger, more iconic setting for the university sign and a new outdoor space for studying, small gatherings and scheduled campus events. The university’s statue of B.B. Dougherty was placed prominently in the new plaza, with statues of Lillie Shull Dougherty and D.D. Dougherty installed in the plaza in 2019 and 2022, respectively.
This $350,000 project fits into the Master Plan 2025’s description of a new campus gateway. (page 59)
Chancellor Sheri Everts speaks to the crowd during the second annual Founders Day Ceremony Sept. 5, 2019. To Everts’ left is the new statue of Lillie Shull Dougherty. Visible behind the crowd is Founders Bell Pavilion. Photo by Marie Freeman
A dedication and luncheon was held Sept. 5, 2018 — the date of a new tradition, Founders Day, to be celebrated each fall to honor App State’s founders and the first day of classes in 1899.
At Founders Day 2019, the university dedicated two additions to the plaza: a commemorative statue of Lillie Shull Dougherty and Founders Bell Pavilion, an architectural reproduction of the roof line and bell steeple of Watauga Academy, the school that evolved into Appalachian State University. The pavilion houses one of App State’s historic bells.
The university celebrated a hybrid Founders Day in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with attendees gathering in person — while safely distanced — and many more watching the event via AppTV’s livestreamed broadcast.
For the fourth annual Founders Day in 2021, App State inducted seven new members into its Bell Ringers Society and gave both a presentation on and tour of the historic Boone Cemetery located on campus. The site is home to some historic figures from the town and university who are buried there.
As part of Founders Day 2022, App State dedicated the D.D. Dougherty statue in Founders Plaza — the last of the university’s three co-founders to be represented in bronze — and celebrated with a “Year of the Woman” theme, recognizing 11 women trailblazers, including App State Chancellor Sheri Everts, for their contributions to the university.
How is it funded?
This project was funded with a portion of the university’s FY18 State Repair and Renovations (R&R) allocation.
Who will benefit?
The entire campus and local community benefit from this project. Traditionally a popular spot for students, their families and alumni to take pictures, this area now pays greater tribute to App State’s founders and its nearly 125-year history.
How does it support UNC System Goals and Metrics?
An enhanced campus designed with students, faculty, staff and the public in mind supports recruitment and retention of all members of the university and local communities.
Major current projects:
Major completed projects:
- Dining Facilities Renovations — Roess Dining Hall and Trivette Hall
- University Bookstore Renovation
- Residence Halls
- Child Development Center Expansion
- Kidd Brewer Stadium — North End Zone
- Career Development Center relocation
- Sanford Hall Renovation
- Blue Ridge Way
- NPHC Plots and Garden
- Leon Levine Hall of Health Sciences
- Founders Plaza
An aerial view of areas receiving millennial campus designation at Appalachian State University. Video by Marie Freeman