The Columns

W&L Writer in Residence R.T. Smith Honored by Appalachian State Each year Appalachian State honors distinguished undergraduate or graduate alumni from a department within the college.

— by on October 26th, 2017

“The people and place woke my bones, my spirit, lit a fire of words in my head.”

R.T. Smith

R.T. Smith, editor of Shenandoah and writer in residence at Washington and Lee University, won the Appalachian State University 2017 College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Alumni Award.

Each year Appalachian State honors distinguished undergraduate or graduate alumni from a department within the college. The Outstanding Alumni Award was created in 1998 and recognizes contributions to a profession, a leadership role, public service, creative endeavors, research, or other accomplishments.

“We use the term alma mater casually, just to indicate where we took degrees, but in my case Appalachian State is my soul mother — the community, topography, weather, the very electrical imaginative excitement in the air made it my source and inspiration more than any other place I’ve been,” said Smith “The people and place woke my bones, my spirit, lit a fire of words in my head.”

Smith received this award for his professional success, and his lasting contributions to the department of English and the college of arts and sciences.

The award ceremony was held on October 25.

“I was taken by surprise when they notified me, and it’s the most pleasing news of all,” said Smith, “I can never repay what ASU has done to enrich my life, but every time I settle in to write, repayment is what I’m trying for.”