BOONE — Harry Clark Maddux, professor in and director of Appalachian State University’s Watauga Residential College, has been recognized as a proven champion for first-year students — he is the 2020 recipient of the Harvey R. Durham Freshman Advocate Award, conferred by Appalachian’s University College. He was to receive a medallion and monetary prize as part of the award.
Now in its 16th year, the award — named for Harvey R. Durham — honors full-time Appalachian employees who demonstrate a sustained contribution to the first-year experience. To qualify for the Durham Award, candidates must have three or more years of service working closely with first-year students. Award recipients exhibit extraordinary personal commitment to first-year students through programs and academic instruction designed to broaden the first-year experience.
“I am immensely honored to receive the Durham Award,” Maddux said. “The list of previous Durham Award honorees, many of whom I know personally, is a reminder that this award is something of a down payment on continued work with students rather than a recognition of anything I might have achieved because of them in the past.”
Joseph Gonzalez, associate professor in the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, in which WRC is housed, discussed Maddux’s impact on WRC. According to Gonzalez, enrollment and retention rates for WRC have increased during Maddux’s tenure.
“I can say that the changes wrought by Clark have been nothing short of revolutionary,” Gonzalez said. “He is, in a word, excellent — as a mentor, as a facilitator and as a participant in programs the students concoct on a regular basis.”
Maddux said the letters of support written by students were especially meaningful. “Reading them, I was reminded of not only the importance of my vocation but the privilege it entails,” he said.
In her nominating letter for Maddux, McKenzie Hemingway, a junior marketing major, Appalachian Student Ambassador and former WRC student from Cary, said Maddux has shaped her college experience. “I constantly go to him for guidance, whether it be professional or personal … (and) many of my peers look up to him as a mentor.”
Additionally, Hemingway described her First Year Seminar course, taught by Maddux, as “life-changing.”
“We would come into class knowing we could be our most vulnerable selves and be greeted with acceptance and love, and it is a credit to Dr. Maddux’s teaching ability and character that each of us felt comfortable enough to do so,” Hemingway said.