The Dougherty Brothers and Appalachian State University

On March 9, 1903, the General Assembly granted brothers B.B. and D.D. (short for Blanford Barnard and Dauphin Disco, respectively) Dougherty a charter for the Appalachian Training School for Teachers.

An aerial view of ASU in the 1950s.

The school had its roots in the Doughertys’ Watauga Academy, which they established in 1899 to train public school teachers for jobs in western North Carolina. With both brothers at the helm, B. B. Dougherty was considered head of school, while D. D., was the principal.

ASU’s football team, probably from the 1910s or 1920s.D. D. served as the budding school’s business manager and head trustee until June 1929 when he died of a heart attack on the first day of registration. The original library on the campus is named in his honor.

B. B. remained president of the college until retirement in 1955, and he died two years later at age 87. During his nearly 60 years of service to the school, the Appalachian had grown from a small teaching college with a single two-year degree program to a regional center for higher education with four-year bachelor’s program and a graduate school.

Twelve years after B. B.’s retirement, the state legislature changed the school’s name to Appalachian State University. The campus has been a part of the UNC system since 1972.

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