As if this year's challenges weren't enough, I've been stunned and saddened by the loss of these two great gentlemen, and I know that many folks on campus share that loss and sadness.
Dr. Emory Maiden was one of my first graduate school professors once upon a time. Thanks to him, I developed a strong interest in nineteenth-century American literature and ever since have opened many student eyes to the fact the Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote some really cool short stories that they would enjoy far more than the perennially-imposed The Scarlet Letter in high school. Over the years, when we would run into each other on campus or in town, Emory and I would have really enthusiastic conversations about films. I treasure those times; Emory was always so warm, friendly, and genuine. He always stopped en route to wherever he was going and never rushed away; I will always remember our talks. He was also the director of the Common Reading Program for a time a number of years ago, so I feel honored that I share that connection with him as well.
Dr. Wayne Matthews was a fellow cohort member—go Cohort 17!—of the doctoral program in educational leadership here at Appalachian State University. We spent a lot of time together for three years, and in December 2012 we graduated together and proudly began adding "Dr." to our names. Wayne never met a stranger, and he always reminded me of a young Mark Twain (whom I also thought he resembled). He could always make down-to-earth and meaningful connections to any educational theories and readings our cohort was discussing. Wayne was an ambassador for the doctoral program and for App State, as well as for any organization or cause that was close to him. I know that Surry Community College has suffered a tremendous loss and will miss him greatly. I'll always remember him proudly wearing the Cat in the Hat "Trust Me—I'm a Doctor" t-shirt that I gave him just after he defended his dissertation. He was so proud, and I'm just as proud to have known him and studied with him.
--Dr. Don Presnell, Director
Common Reading Program at App State