Queen of the food court: ASU names dining hall for Blowing Rock's Alice Roess
Most people who make large contributions to a university have special ties to the school by being either an alumnus of the institution or having taught there.
Blowing Rock resident Alice Roess became a member of the Appalachian State University family rather late in life, but has become one of its ardent supporters.
Appalachian State honored Roess on Thursday with a dedication ceremony renaming its cafeteria the Alice Roess Dining Hall.
“There’s a saying that (Chancellor) Kenneth Peacock told me a while back and that is ‘don’t get hit by a brick,’” said Roess. “Several years ago I lost my daughter, who was my only child, my husband, my father and mother in a very short period of time. My whole family was gone.
“I was lost. But then I got a phone call from Kenneth Peacock asking me to serve on the Appalachian State Board of Trustees. It has been a fabulous experience for me and has given me a sense of purpose and a new focus.
“That day and that phone call saved my life. Kenneth and Roseanne took me in. And Appalachian State has been my family for the past five years.”
Three of Roess’ longtime friends — Linda Melleney, Carole Cowan and Sara Cramer — made a special trip from Florida to attend the dedication ceremony.
During the ceremony, Roess was thanked by ASU Chancellor Kenneth Peacock, ASU director of the Board of Trustees Mike Steinback and student body president Dylan Russell.
“I met Alice in Blowing Rock at one of those events where food plays a prominent role,” said Peacock. “We became friends instantly. A lot is involved in the naming of a university building, but we felt it was appropriate that Alice’s name be on a building where so many come for comfort and rejuvenation. More than 15,000 people come through these doors every day.”
During the renaming dedication ASU Board of Trustees director Mike Steinback and incoming ASU Chancellor Sheri Everts unveiled a new plaque inside the dining hall with Roess’ name and portrait. Peacock presented Roess with a smaller version of the plaque and Russell presented her with a special ASU kitchen apron.
“Generations of ASU students will enjoy this dining hall,” said Russell. “Friendships that last a lifetime will be made here. Powerful relationships will be forged here. For that, we thank you.”
The Roess Dining Hall is home to the Rivers Street Café and the Sanford Commons. It sits on the south side of ASU’s main quad, across from the Plemmons Student Union.