Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Lee Ball ’92

October 07, 2015

What is your favorite memory of Lees-McRae College?
I have many fantastic memories from my time at Lees-McRae, but the ones that really stick with me are the many hours spent sitting in Dr. Stewart Skeate’s office talking about birds, flowers, ecological systems and graduate school. He was such a great mentor and I really don’t think I would be working as an educator today if it wasn’t for this relationship. For the past 14 years I have had the honor of mentoring hundreds of students at Appalachian State University. I often think about the positive influence a mentor can make because of my experience at Lees-McRae.

Can you attribute any of your current success to LMC?
My current success and interest in the environment, sustainability and service was cultivated while at Lees-McRae. I refined my work ethic and fell in love with academia and environmental education. This passion naturally led me to the field of sustainability and I credit Lees-McRae for helping me build such a solid foundation.

What advice would you give to current LMC students?
Go to the LIBRARY and study as early in the day as possible because in the afternoons you can then enjoy being in the beautiful surroundings of nature, guilt free!!! Hike, bike, swim, run, create art, play games, walk your pet, make friends and enjoy your time at Lees-McRae because it will not last long. Lastly, really make an effort to get to know your professors and the staff at Lees-McRae. They are your greatest resources.

You are currently leading the newly-created Sustainability Council at LMC. Can you tell me a little about the Council’s plans and why you feel that it’s important to give back to LMC?
First of all, the council plans to identify existing sustainability successes and campus initiatives. In addition, we are in the process of identifying and creating sustainability related goals for the college. Sustainability is kind of a nebulous term, so it is also up to the council to help people learn how they connect to it. This council is extremely exciting to me because I feel like I have come full circle. As a founding member of the SAVE student club, we started recycling on campus in the early 1990’s. Now we are discussing how to improve and expand our recycling efforts. Helping Lees-McRae organize its sustainability goals is an honor that I am fortunate enough to have the knowledge and experience to support. Giving in this way is the least I can do. It is important to give back to the Lees-McRae in any way that you are able to because when you do, you are investing in the future.

Tell us a bit about your current position at App State and your research interests.
My current position as the University Sustainability Director for Appalachian State University (ASU) is a dream come true. I am able to work with students, faculty and staff to promote many different sustainability programs. From zero waste initiatives in athletics to community engagement projects and renewable energy systems, I get to promote sustainability to a campus that demands it. It is a very exciting time to work in this field and there is a real sense of urgency. I have an incredible staff in addition to hundreds of people across campus from all disciplines who value and support our efforts.

One area of research that I am very excited about is our Sustainability Literacy Assessment Project. We are assessing sustainability related attitudes, behaviors, and knowledge of faculty, staff, and students over a four year period. The goal of the project is to see how these characteristics change over time. We will use this data to help support ongoing sustainability efforts on campus.

Media Contact:

Nina Mastandrea  |  Content Manager
Tel: 828.898.8729  |  Email:
Lee Ball ’92