College Outstanding Alumni Award Winner: Larry Bridges

William ‘Larry’ Bridges

Visiting Lecturer
Department of Computer Science

CAS Outstanding Alumni Award
Appalachian State University’s College of Arts and Sciences

The College of Arts and Sciences at Appalachian State University has named William L. (Larry) Bridges ’75 as the Outstanding Alumni Award winner for 2018–19. Bridges is currently a visiting faculty lecturer in the Department of Computer Sciences. Prior to Appalachian, Bridges spent 39 years with Hanesbrands/Sara Lee Corporation in multiple information technology leadership roles, including ten years as chief information security officer and chief enterprise architect. 

“Having Professor Bridges as an instructor was a wonderful and eye-opening experience. From his course, I learned the importance of being a thorough and ethical programmer. Professor Bridges' experiences outside of academia were a great help to my understanding of how computer science is used outside of the classroom and the many applications and pathways this field of study offers,” Courtney Dixon, graduate student, Computer Science.

Bridges earned a Bachelor of Science in mathematics from Appalachian (1975), a Master of Science in mathematics and computer science from Clemson University (1977), as well as additional non-degree seeking course work including: economics from High Point University; managerial accounting from the University of North Carolina - Greensboro and a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification through ISC2, an international cybersecurity certification organization, of which he is a member.

He has been serving as a visiting lecturer in the Department since 2016, teaching cybersecurity fundamentals. In 2018-19 along with Jim Webb, chief security officer and deputy CIO at Appalachian, they were awardees of theChancellor's Innovation Scholars Program to establish a student cybersecurity operations center. 

Bridges was a founding member and remains an active participant in the Computer Science Industry Advisory Board. He has also been chairperson and volunteer on the Stokes County Special Olympics board (1988-2018) and a dedicated member of the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church (1965-present).

“Bridges is literally a dedicated member of the Appalachian family. His wife, Patsy, graduated with him in 1975 and their two children, Aaron and Anna became Appalachian alumni in 2004,” said nominating colleagues Dr. Jay Fenwick, Dr. Ray Russell, Dr. Rahman Tashakkori and Dr. James Wilkes from the Department of Computer Science.

Bridges nomination for the outstanding alumni award mentioned a 2015 meeting of the Computer Science Industry Advisory Board, when Bridges heard that the department desired to increase course offerings in the important area of cyber security. He came to the rescue and offered to create and teach a course. 

“Larry's willingness to help the department was a great service and very valuable. He brought to the course more than 39 years of experience, which was simply priceless,” said his nominating colleagues.

During his tenure at Hanesbrands/Sara Lee Corporation, he served in multiple information technology leadership roles and he led the startup of Hanesbrands entry into e-commerce, building the infrastructure and applications to support a business that grew from zero to$100M in sales.

“He has always provided great advice on how we could improve our curriculum and better prepare our students for the job market or graduate school,” said nominating colleagues.

To read more about the College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Alumni Award, visit


About the Department of Computer Science
Appalachian’s Department of Computer Science provides a rigorous, high-quality education that prepares students for the computing industry or graduate education. It offers a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science, which is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET, and a Master of Science degree in computer science. Learn more at

Ellen Gwin Burnette
Oct. 23, 2019

The College of Arts and Sciences at Appalachian State University has named William L. (Larry) Bridges ’75 as the Outstanding Alumni Award winner for 2018–19. Photo by University Communications.
Published: Oct 23, 2019 1:52pm