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WCU Stories

aerial of the black lives matter mural from Reggie Tidwell, Curve Theory

Asheville's Black Lives Matter Mural

Lakisha Blount ’04 is one of four African American alumni of Western Carolina University’s School of Art and Design who participated in the creation of a Black Lives Matter mural in downtown Asheville over the summer. Blount painted the letter “M,” with imagery evoking a mountain range, an Appalachian quilt and an African kente cloth. Take a closer look at the project and the artists involved...  

Alex Gary on a football field with Coach Spier

Calling An Audible

When Alex Gary was introduced as Western Carolina University’s director of athletics on Feb. 28, the former Catamount baseball player had visions of what his first 90 days would look like when he officially started May 1. Gary imagined he would spend a lot of time meeting and talking to as many people as he could, while also learning the current campus landscape.  

Jake Robinson

Bank Shot

Jake Robinson ’10 has come a long way from the days he got paid in honey buns for picking up aluminum cans in the auction ring after a sale at his grandfather’s stockyard.   

Bob Folsom

Pipeline Engineer

Part-time admissions counselor serves as a conduit to Cullowhee for students from Georgia. When there’s an increase in student enrollments from the metro Atlanta area, an alumnus who jokingly refers to himself as “the oldest college recruiter in the state of Georgia” is usually the reason why. Bob Folsom ’66 MAEd ’68, a retired teacher and counselor from Gainesville, has turned the Peach State into a “significant pipeline” of new students for WCU, said Phil Cauley ’83 MS ’90, associate vice chancellor for undergraduate enrollment.  

jason bond

Bugs Life

A UC-Davis researcher examines global environmental consequences, beginning with insects and arachnids. Jason Bond ’93 is the Evert and Marion Schlinger Endowed Chair in Insect Systematics and a professor in the Department of Entomology and Nematology at the University of California, Davis, where he specializes in research into the evolutionary diversification of terrestrial arthropods, particularly spiders, millipedes and beetles.   

Carol Burton

Value Added

Vice provost for academic affairs leads and represents campus, community. Could Carol Burton ’87 MAEd ’89 be the quintessential Catamount? A lot of people would say yes.  

Drew Starkey

Streaming Now

Not long ago, Drew Starkey ’16, one of the stars in a hit Netflix television series, had doubts about whether his hope for a full-time career in the entertainment industry was realistic.  

students on zoom

The Show Must Go On

The School of Stage and Screen turned to technology to present a virtual version of a Shakespeare classic. Theatrical stages from coast to coast may have gone dark in this time of social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but that has not stopped the folks from the School of Stage and Screen at Western Carolina University from sharing their talents with the public. In the grand tradition of “the show must go on,” WCU students and faculty presented William Shakespeare’s “Love’s Labour’s Lost” via Zoom, the videoconferencing service that has exploded in popularity as millions of students and workers find themselves studying and working remotely because of the coronavirus crisis.   

students in a classroom

Promise Kept

More than two years after its debut, the groundbreaking tuition reduction plan known as NC Promise is, by most accounts, a solid success that is meeting the goals of improving access to higher education by providing a financial leg-up to undergraduate students who might not otherwise be able to afford it and lowering student loan debt. Enrollment has increased significantly at Western Carolina University and two other University of North Carolina System institutions that are part of the plan. Students say the lower tuition cost is making a difference in their lives, and the amount of student debt incurred is on the decline.  

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