App State Alumni, Luke Southern of Fisher Marantz Stone, Named Among Light Collective's International 40 Under 40 in Lighting Design

BOONE, NC [February 6, 2024] — Luke Southern, an App State Alumnus and Senior Designer with FMS in New York City, has been recognized as one of the winners of the prestigious 40 Under 40 Lighting Design Award, an international accolade celebrating excellence in the lighting design industry.

The 40 Under 40 competition, sponsored by Light Collective and Filix Lighting, is a highly regarded award that honors only 40 lighting designers under 40 globally. Luke Southern's outstanding contributions to the field have earned him this prestigious recognition.

About Luke Southern:
Luke Southern, a graduate of the Building Sciences program within the Department of Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, has been an integral part of FMS since his connection with Associate Professor Jeanne Mercer-Ballard through the Interior Design Systems II course. Over the years, Luke has worked with high-profile clients, showcasing his expertise in lighting design on an international scale.

In addition to his professional achievements, Luke has played a crucial role in setting up the annual Tribute in Light, a commemorative public art installation presented every year on the night of September 11. His dedication and leadership have garnered him the position of project manager, overseeing the coordination of this significant annual event.

Significance of the International Award:
The 40 Under 40 Award celebrates the top 40 lighting designers worldwide. Luke Southern's inclusion in this esteemed list reflects his exceptional talent and commitment to the industry.

Elevating Professional Work:
Winning this international award is a testament to Luke's hard work and dedication. It provides well-deserved recognition for his quality of work and service, including his pivotal role as an FMS senior designer.

Innovation and Creativity:
Luke's involvement in high-profile projects showcases his innovative and creative approach to lighting design. For inquiries about his portfolio, please get in touch with Luke Southern at

Global Advancement in Lighting and Sustainability:
Luke's work, in collaboration with, is expected to contribute significantly to global advancements in lighting and sustainability. His passion for sustainability is evident in FMS projects, aligning with industry trends and priorities.

Personal Connection to App State:
Luke's journey began at Appalachian State University, where he demonstrated a deep passion for lighting design. Engaged as a student, he interned at an international architectural firm in Denmark before choosing the path of lighting design. His involvement in professional networks and conferences further showcased his dedication to the field.

Continued Relationship and Involvement:
Luke Southern has maintained a strong connection with Appalachian State University, returning for career fairs to recruit for FMS. Additionally, he has been a guest speaker in the INT 3200: Interior Design Systems II course, sharing his insights and experiences with current students.

About the College of Fine and Applied Arts
Appalachian State University's College of Fine and Applied Arts is a dynamic and innovative group of seven academic departments, bringing together a variety of perspectives, experiences, and real-world education to provide unique opportunities for student success. The college has more than 3,500 undergraduate and graduate majors. Its departments are Applied Design, Art, Communication, Military Science and Leadership, Sustainable Development, Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment, and Theatre and Dance. Learn more at

About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the Southeast, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls nearly 21,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio, and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.

Media contact:
P.J. Wirchansky
Director of Marketing, Communication and Engagement
College of Fine and Applied Arts
Appalachian State University

Luke Southern
Published: Feb 5, 2024 11:03am