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WCU social work program receives $1.1 million federal grant

Western Carolina University’s social work program is the recipient of a federal grant of more than $1.1 million to expand the number of social workers qualified to practice in the areas of substance abuse prevention and behavioral health in Cherokee and other underserved areas of Western North Carolina.

The grant, totaling $1,177,354 and to be awarded to WCU over a three-year period, is from the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Working in collaboration with the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians and the Center for Native Health, the university will receive $321,764 in the initiative’s first year, $420,902 in its second year and $424,688 in the third year.

The grant will provide up to $10,000 in individual stipends to students in WCU’s master’s degree program in social work who plan to serve the behavioral health needs of the people of WNC. It is designed to produce social workers with the skills to prevent and intervene in the high-risk behaviors of youth by using a family-focused health care model that is sensitive to the culture and needs of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and other youth populations across the rural Southern Appalachians, said Pat Morse, head of the social work department and director of WCU’s graduate program in social work.

“It is a pleasure and honor to collaborate with the Center for Native Health, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and the behavioral health services agencies across Western North Carolina on this important project,” said Morse.

Douglas Keskula, dean of WCU’s College of Health and Human Sciences, said the grant will fund an innovative project that will contribute to promoting, supporting and sustaining a much-needed behavioral health workforce in Cherokee and across the mountain region.

“This will be an exciting project for the university and for the region we serve,” Keskula said. “This initiative will provide critical behavioral health services to a medically underserved region while providing an exceptional educational experience for our students. This is a tremendous opportunity for collaboration between WCU, the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians and regional providers with the shared goal of building and training the behavioral health workforce of the future.”

The funding marks the 13th grant awarded by federal or regional agencies for research conducted by faculty in WCU’s College of Health and Human Sciences to date since the 2012 fiscal year, with nearly $6 million in grants for projects ranging from improving diversity in the region’s nursing workforce to health care assessment for older adults.

WCU Listed as Top Performing Arts Center

The John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center at Western Carolina University was recently included on a list of “The 25 Most Amazing University Performing Arts Centers” by the website BestValueSchools.com.

The website authors listed the Bardo Arts Center at No. 19 and said the facility “combines a state-of-the-art space with a naturally beautiful setting to promote the arts and arts education throughout the region.”

The Bardo Arts Center, which houses WCU’s School of Art and Design, opened in 2005 with a performance by Jay Leno of NBC’s “Tonight Show.” The facility includes a 1,000-seat performance hall that provides a venue for visiting performers and entertainers, and it also houses WCU’s Fine Art Museum, widely considered to be the premiere showcase for contemporary art in Western North Carolina.

Sylva Woman Wins Trip to Macy’s Parade

pride-of-the-mountains-for-webVivian Cleaveland of Sylva had forgotten about the raffle ticket she bought to support Western Carolina University’s Friends of the Arts when Robert Kehrberg, dean of WCU’s College of Fine and Performing Arts, called with some news and asked if she was sitting down.

Cleaveland had won a trip for two to New York City to see WCU’s Pride of the Mountains Marching Band in the upcoming Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The package includes airfare, a three-night stay in a four-star hotel, limousine services, Grand Stand VIP parade seating, Thanksgiving dinner with the band and a $500 gift card for meals, shows and other expenses.

“I should have sat down,” said Cleaveland, remembering the phone call. “I was absolutely thrilled to death. I’ve never won anything in my life. I was elated and shocked. It’s just awesome.”

A retired federal employee, Cleaveland works part time for dentist Dr. David McGuire and bought the raffle ticket from Jeanne McGuire, a Friends of the Arts silent auction committee member who works in the same building. Jeanne McGuire is the wife of Dr. Patrick McGuire, a dentist and brother of Dr. David McGuire.

A long-time supporter of WCU and Jackson County Schools, Cleaveland has watched the Macy’s parade on television and has enjoyed seeing the WCU marching band perform at football games.

“We have a close connection with the band and love to watch them perform,” said Cleaveland who plans to take the trip with her daughter. “The music is great and the formation of the marching band is just spectacular.”

The raffle and a silent auction were part of a spring fundraiser that generated about $70,000 for College of Fine and Performing Arts scholarships and programming.

Lynda Sossamon, chair of the Friends of the Arts advancement council and the raffle committee, said event organizers wanted to include a trip to New York City in the raffle and were excited when David Starnes, director of the Pride of the Mountains, offered two VIP seats in the stands along the parade route as well as Thanksgiving Day dinner with the band to include in the package.

Galaxy of the Stars Series Returns to WCU

Western_Carolina_University_seal The Galaxy of Stars Series at Western Carolina University will celebrate its 10th anniversary with a lineup highlighted by a return engagement of country-western icons Riders in the Sky, a Grammy Award-winning group that performed during the inaugural season of the series.

The only professional entertainment series in Jackson County, the series debuted in 2005, with all performances taking place in the 900-seat John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center.

The 2014-15 schedule comprises:

Riders in the Sky, 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 14 – Back by popular the band, the group founded in 1977 and featured in the motion picture “Toy Story” is known for its award-winning harmonies, wacky cowboy wit and high-yodeling adventures.

“Broadway’s Next Hit Musical,” 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 24 – “Broadway’s Next Hit Musical” is billed as “the only unscripted theatrical awards show,” as master improvisers gather made-up hit song suggestions from the audience to create a spontaneous evening of music and humor.

“Cinnamon GRITS: Christmas in the South,” 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 12 – A follow-up to the popular show “GRITS: The Musical,” this production is a mix of storytelling and music that provides a Southern-style look at the holidays.

Elvis impersonator Travis Ledoyt, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 31 – Hailed by critics as “the world’s best young Elvis,” Travis Ledoyt captures the music and moves of Elvis Presley in his prime in a show that focuses on the hits and ambience of the era from 1954 through 1959.

“Man 1, Bank 0,” 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28 – Patrick Combs tells the true story of a man who deposited a junk-mail check labeled “non-negotiable” into a bank account only to see things erupt into an adventure pitting a “David” regular guy against the “Goliath” of the banking industry.

Ventriloquist Lynn Trefzger and comedian Glenn Singer, 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 27 – Comedienne and ventriloquist Lynn Trefzger incorporates audience participation into her show that features a trunk full of zany characters as Glenn Singer supplies visual comedy using optical illusions.

“We’ve Only Just Begun: Carpenters Remembered,” 3 p.m. Sunday, April 26 – Vocalist Michelle Berting Britt, accompanied by a seven-piece Nashville band, re-creates the original easy listening sound of the Carpenters, one of the most successful recording acts of all time.

Western_Carolina_University_sealThe Galaxy of Stars Series is presented by the WCU College of Fine and Performing Arts with support from the WCU Friends of the Arts organization.

Season subscriptions go on sale Monday, May 5, offering substantial savings over individual ticket prices. Patrons can enjoy all seven shows in the season for $120 for adults and $45 for students and children. Subscriptions for WCU faculty and staff are available for $110.

Subscriptions allow patrons to select and keep preferred seats and also are an affordable way for families to enjoy live entertainment, said Paul Lormand, director of the Bardo Arts Center.

Single-show tickets for the 2014-15 series go on sale Aug. 12. Those prices are $21 for adults; $16 for WCU faculty and staff; and $7 for students and children. Ticket prices are $15 per person for groups of 20 or more.

For tickets or more information about Galaxy of Stars events, contact the Bardo Arts Center box office at 828-227-2479 or go online to bardoartscenter.wcu.edu.

Mountain Heritage Day Seeking Arts and Crafts People

food-contest-for-webArtists and crafts people are being sought to participate in the 40th annual Mountain Heritage Day, Western Carolina University’s annual fall festival of traditional Appalachian culture.

Mountain Heritage Day will be held Saturday, Sept. 27, on the WCU campus in Cullowhee – always the last Saturday of the month. The festival typically attracts more than 20,000 visitors who come to enjoy three stages of continuous music and dance, exhibitions of Cherokee stickball and shape-note singing, a midway of juried arts and crafts, and a variety of festival food.

This year, the festival celebrates its 40th anniversary in conjunction with the university’s 125th year.

The festival arts and crafts are judged for quality of workmanship, booth display and design. Cash awards will be presented to the vendors with the best works. All applicants are juried except the previous year’s winners of the arts and crafts awards.

Applications and instructions for arts and crafts vendors are available on the festival website, www.mountainheritageday.com

WCU Rescheduled Open House

Western Carolina University

Western Carolina University

Western Carolina University will throw open its doors to prospective students and their families and friends as the university holds Open House on Saturday, April 5. Hosted by the Office of Undergraduate Admission, Open House gives visitors a chance to learn about the university’s wide array of academic programs, find out the important details of topics such as financial aid, and tour the campus. The April 5 event was added to the university’s spring schedule after an Open House scheduled for February was canceled due to inclement weather. Because of the many events occurring on campus on April 5, the Open House that day will begin at noon. The schedule starts with an academic and student services information fair from noon to 1:30 p.m. around the concourse of WCU’s Ramsey Regional Activity Center. Following a welcome session in the Ramsey Center main arena from 1:30 to 2 p.m., prospective students will have a chance to engage in academic sessions led by WCU faculty members from 2:15 to 3 p.m. Visitors can choose among several options for the 3 to 5 p.m. period, including tours of campus and residence halls, information sessions on admissions and financial aid, and participation in campus events. For interested students who cannot attend Open House on April 5, campus tours also are available year-round by appointment for students and their families. Preregistration for Open House and more information are available by going to the website openhouse.wcu.edu or by calling the Office of Undergraduate Admission at 828-227-7317 or toll-free 877-928-4968.

WCU’s Online Programs Receives High Marks

Western Carolina University

Western Carolina University

Western Carolina University’s online master’s degree programs in human resources and project management have received high national rankings in affordability and “Best Buy” designations from the distance education information clearinghouse GetEducated.com. WCU’s human resources program was ranked No. 3 in affordability following a national survey of 37 regionally accredited higher education institutions that offer online master’s degrees in that academic field, said Melissa Eubank, director of information services for GetEducated.com. The survey showed that the average cost of an online master’s degree in human resources nationwide is about $23,500. The cost of WCU’s program is $9,339 for North Carolina residents. Earlier this year, GetEducated.com gave WCU’s online bachelor’s degree program in entrepreneurship a No. 2 national ranking in affordability. Other WCU online master’s programs that have received high rankings from the clearinghouse in recent years are nurse educator, nurse administration and health sciences.

WCU To Hold Open House

Western_Carolina_University_sealWestern Carolina University will welcome prospective students and their families and friends to campus as the university holds Open House on Saturday, March 22. Open House gives visitors a chance to tour the campus, learn about the university’s wide array of academic programs, and find out the important details of topics such as financial aid. For interested students who cannot attend the March 22 event, campus tours also are available year-round by appointment for students and their families. For more info call 828-227-7317.

Mountain Heritage Day. Saturday, September 28th

Western Carolina University’s 39th Annual Mountain Heritage Day will commence this weekend on Saturday, the 28th. The WCU Mountain Heritage Day festival will be free to the public and feature a full list of mountain music, activities, and many arts & crafts, and food booths. Scott Philyaw had the following to say about the festival’s history, “When this school was started, back in the 1880’s by the people of the Cullowhee valley and Jackson County, they included things that are very similar to mountain heritage day. The very first commencement had music, it had barbecue, it had presentations of the various aspects of the region, much as Mountain Heritage Day does. It attracted a large number at that time of one thousand people for a weekend. In many ways Mountain Heritage day harkens back to those earliest celebrations when what we call Western Carolina University was known as Cullowhee Academy.”

The Mountain Heritage Day will start off with a 5-K foot race at 8 am. The Blue Ridge and Balsam Stages will be playing continuous mountain music, clogging, and southern storytelling. There will be demonstrations of Cherokee stickball among other games from the Cherokee Tribe. Directly in front of the Balsam Stage there will be a new platform, created for members of the audience to show off their dance skills. There will be a children’s tent providing activities for the younger attendees, as well as hayrides. Among all the other mentioned events there will also be demonstrations and competitions for: Chainsaw wood cutting, baked and canned goods, period costumes, and contests for beard and mustaches. Expect to see, blacksmithing, black powder shooting, as well as interpretations of Cherokee hunting capabilities. The festival will be rain or shine. No pets allowed though service animals are welcome. “The festival itself starts at 10:00am, the 5-K Race starts at 8:00am. Registration for the chainsaw contest starts at 9:00am. We are recommending people show up around 9:30 so they can find a place to park. The festival closes down at 5:00pm.”

For more information visit MountainHeritageDay.com or call 828-227-7129

WCU Enrollment Tops Ten Thousand

Total enrollment at Western Carolina University has topped 10,000 students for the first time in the institution’s history, a milestone reached in large part because of an increase of five percentage points in the freshman retention rate to nearly 79 percent.

Western Carolina’s total enrollment for the fall 2013 semester is 10,106, a 5 percent increase over last year’s tally of 9,608 students. The university’s freshman retention rate – the percentage of first-time, full-time freshman students who returned for their sophomore year – is 78.7 percent this year, compared to last fall’s retention rate of 73.7 percent. WCU Chancellor David O. Belcher announced the enrollment figures during a special event and reception held at the Central Plaza area on campus Tuesday. The enrollment record comes as the university is gearing up to mark the 125th anniversary of its founding, Belcher told the several hundred students, faculty, staff and alumni gathered for the announcement. A yearlong quasquicentennial celebration is being planned for the 2014 calendar year. “It’s amazing to think that when this institution was founded in a one-room schoolhouse in 1889, up there on the hill, it had a grand total of 18 students,” he said. “Today, Western Carolina has grown to become a major cultural, scientific, economic and educational force in this region and in our state.”

Enrollment figures are up across the board, with increases in the numbers of first-time freshmen, undergraduate transfers, graduate students, distance education students and students taking classes at the university’s instructional site at Biltmore Park, Belcher said. The improving enrollment and retention numbers are important, he said, because they signify that WCU is doing its part to help increase to 32 percent the number of North Carolinians who have four-year degrees, which is one of the goals of the University of North Carolina system. Keeping students enrolled and on track to graduation has become even more important because the UNC system is moving toward performance-based funding, with graduation and retention rates among the factors that will determine how much money WCU and other universities will receive from the state, he said.

 

NC Governor Appoints Three New Members to WCU Board of Trustees

A Rutherford County educational foundation executive, the first woman elected principal chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and a Highlands homebuilder are the three newest members of the Western Carolina University Board of Trustees.

N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory appointed Charles Philip Byers to fill a recent board vacancy, and Joyce Conseen Dugan and John R. Lupoli to four-year terms on the WCU board.

Byers is filling a vacancy on the board created by the departure of Brenda Wellmon of Mecklenburg County, who stepped down as a trustee for personal reasons this summer.

In addition to Wellmon, McCrory’s appointments to the WCU board fill vacancies left by outgoing members Tommy Saunooke, member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Tribal Council, and William Forsyth, retired executive director of the Cherokee County Economic Development Commission.

Byers, Dugan and Lupoli will join two other new members – Phil Drake, chief executive officer of Drake Enterprises, and Kenny Messer, an executive with Milliken Corp. – elected to the WCU board earlier this year by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors.

The board will hold its first quarterly meeting of the new academic year at 9:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 6, in the board room of H.F. Robinson Administration Building. The board also will hold committee meetings and discussions beginning at 1 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 5, at various locations on the fifth floor of the Robinson Building.

 

WCU Campus Master Planners to Seek Community Input

Representatives of the firms assisting Western Carolina University in drafting a comprehensive master plan that will guide campus development and improvements in the years ahead will return to Sylva on Tuesday, Aug. 13, to seek additional community input. The drop-in session is scheduled for 5:30 until 7 p.m. in the atrium of Jackson County Public Library. Refreshments will be served, and community members can arrive at any point during the event to offer feedback. The public session is a follow-up to a previous forum held in Sylva in May. It will be led by Ron G. Smith, a Sylva native who has worked on the renovation project for the Jackson County Public Library and on WCU’s Hunter Library master plan. Smith is among the principal consultants with the architecture firm McMillan, Pazdan and Smith, which is working on the WCU project with Hanbury, Evans, Wright and Vlattas, a firm specializing in campus design and planning. Launched last year, the 17-month master planning process has included public forums held on and off campus last fall to help the steering committee set directions, with a community meeting at Cullowhee Valley School. Consultants were on campus in April soliciting feedback, gathering information and conducting impromptu focus groups with students, faculty, staff and members of the community. A preliminary report and plan by the consultants are expected to be completed by early September, followed by a series of campus and community presentations for reaction in October and November. After revisions based on that feedback, the final master plan should be ready for consideration by the WCU Board of Trustees at its meeting in December.

For more information about the master planning effort, visit the website masterplanning.wcu.edu, where there is a “share your feedback” link.

Expansion of WCU Undergrad Engineering Program

The $20.6 billion biennial budget recently approved by the N.C. General Assembly includes more than $1.4 million for expansion of Western Carolina University’s undergraduate engineering program to Biltmore Park. State appropriations for 2013-14 include $698,962 for engineering program start-up costs and laboratory equipment at WCU’s Biltmore Park location, and $719,844 in recurring funds to cover faculty positions and ongoing operations. With the budget now signed by Gov. Pat McCrory, WCU will proceed with established processes for bringing academic offerings to the Asheville area, with the expanded engineering program expected to begin at Biltmore Park in the fall of 2014. Additional engineering education opportunities in the fast-growing corridor between Asheville and Hendersonville will help meet increasing industry and business demand for a highly qualified workforce, said WCU Chancellor David O. Belcher. “This is a real game-changer for Western North Carolina,” Belcher said. “The Milken Institute, which is a major economic think tank, has stated that one of the keys to a region’s success in economic development is close proximity to an institution of higher education that offers engineering degrees. With the funding provided by the General Assembly, we will be able to expand our Cullowhee-based engineering program to better serve the people and our business partners in Buncombe, Henderson and surrounding counties.” The Biltmore Park program will primarily focus on serving working professionals and will lead to a general engineering degree that will provide the specific skills sought by regional industry partners. WCU’s generalist approach to engineering offerings has a common core of mathematics and science, augmented by concentrations in specific engineering specializations. Additional engineering specializations can be created to meet the needs of the region. Because of industry demand, a new concentration in mechanical engineering will be offered on the Cullowhee campus beginning this fall.

For more information about engineering or any programs in WCU’s Kimmel School of Construction Management and Technology, visit the website kimmel.wcu.edu or call 828-227-7368.

 

WCU Chancellor Announces Phasing Out of Some Academic Programs

Western Carolina University Chancellor David O. Belcher announced Thursday, that the university will proceed with the phased discontinuation of 10 of the 13 academic programs previously recommended by a campus task force for closure. Belcher also announced that programs in motion picture and television production, Spanish and Spanish education, which had been recommended for discontinuation, will be retained, with program directors responsible for developing action plans to address weaknesses and take steps toward improvement. Programs that will begin the process of phased discontinuation are a bachelor’s degree program in German; master’s degree programs in health and physical education, mathematics, mathematics education, music, music education and two master’s programs related to teaching English to speakers of other languages; and a minor in women’s studies. In addition, a total of eight programs have agreed to voluntarily discontinue operations because of low enrollment or similarity to other programs available at WCU. Those programs are undergraduate minors in American studies, Appalachian studies, broadcast sales, broadcast telecommunications engineering technology, digital communications engineering technology, earth sciences and multimedia; an undergraduate program in business designed as a second major for non-business students; and master’s degree programs in chemistry education and teaching music. Chancellor Belcher had the following to say about the decision; “I have explored quality indicators. I have considered the degree to which programs and their owners – faculty, coordinators, department heads – have been thoughtfully proactive, before the advent of program prioritization, in recruitment and retention efforts, and the degree to which they have been successful,” he said. “I have explored the differences between need in the region and actual demand for Western Carolina’s programs. And I have wrestled with potential impact of program loss.” Those programs slated for discontinuation will not be closed immediately. They will be placed on inactive status and will not enroll any additional students. The university is developing program-specific plans to “teach out” students currently enrolled in those programs, or to help them transition into a similar program at WCU or to another institution, as it follows best practices for the discontinuation of academic programs. “Western Carolina University cannot be all things to all people. It never could, but the economic climate of the last five years and the resulting budget reductions have made this fact, too often ignored, a blatant reality,” Belcher said. “Our university must focus, ensuring that it does not diffuse its efforts and resources, both fiscal and human, in so many directions that the institution jeopardizes the quality of all of its programs.” Decisions to eliminate academic programs are subject to the approval of the University of North Carolina system. Western Carolina also must follow specific guidelines required by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, WCU’s official regional accrediting agency. Belcher’s announcement regarding his final decisions does not represent the last chapter in program prioritization at WCU. The university will integrate ongoing program prioritization into its regular cycle of program review, which will draw upon additional recommendations made by the task force related to improvements in the process and the data used for assessment.

Detailed information about program prioritization at WCU, including task force recommendations and final decision reports from the chancellor, can be found online at the website programprioritization.wcu.edu.

WCU’s Academic Success Program Set for this Saturday

Western Carolina University’s Academic Success Program (ASP) students have collaborated with the Town of Sylva, Walmart of Sylva, Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort, and several area nonprofits and businesses to host the third annual Day of Service this Saturday in the Bridge Park. The festival in the park will include games, food, music, and nonprofit vendors from 9am-1pm. At 11am, Harrah’s will provide a lunch fundraiser to include grilled flat iron steaks, grilled chicken, baby red potatoes, fire roasted corn salad, warm tortillas, and clover honey baklava. A kids’ lunch box will include a hot dog, potato chips, fresh apple slices, a fruit snack, and a toy surprise. Festival attendees can also enjoy local musicians, Sugar Barnes, Perfect Third, and John Luke Carter on the Bridge Park stage. In the evening, from 5-9pm, there will be a benefit concert in the Bridge Park, featuring local bands, P.M.A (Positive Mental Attitude) and Porch 40. Food vendors and nonprofits will be set up throughout the evening as well, and all proceeds and donations directly benefit the Community Table, Jackson Neighbors in Need, and Communities in Schools Great Smoky Mountains. Jack the Dipper Ice Cream will be set up in the park, selling ice cream at the morning festival, and during the evening celebration, donating 10% of the day’s sales to the three benefit organizations. Throughout the day, ASP students will be volunteering in a variety of service projects throughout Jackson County, to benefit Catman2, Appalachian Homestead Farm and Preserve, Sylva Rotary, river cleanup, Pathways Thrift Store, Full Spectrum Farms, and roadside cleanup along Highway 107 and Old Cullowhee Road. Support, volunteers, and donations from local businesses have helped to make this event possible. Walmart of Sylva has generously awarded a $500 grant to each of the benefit organizations: the Community Table, Jackson Neighbors in Need, and Communities in Schools. In addition to Walmart and Harrah’s, community sponsors include WRGC Radio, Signature Brew Coffee Company, the River Jordan Christian Store, In Your Ear Music, Friends of the Jackson County Public Library, Survival Pride Clothing, Heinzelmannchen​, Finders Keepers, City Lights Bookstore, Hollifield Jewelers, It’s By Nature, and Soul Infusion Tea House and Bistro. These businesses and organizations are providing prizes for a raffle sponsored by the Town of Sylva, hosting donation jars, and making monetary contributions to local nonprofits. Questions about the Day of Service can be directed to Glenda Hensley, at ghensley@email.​wcu.edu.

 

WCU Transit System Facing Changes

 

Taken from WCU's Website

Picture Taken from WCU’s Website

The Cat-Tran transit service offered by WCU to students living off campus may soon be gone completely. While seen by most as a good idea, the service is reportedly not used often enough to justify the spending. Cat-Trans has two main functions, one is to provide on campus rides between Western Carolina’s lecture halls, parking lots, dorms, and other facilities. The other function is to provide transportation to students living off campus from their homes or apartments to campus. Of the 365,000 passengers only about 1% rode the off campus routes. The cost of a student riding the on campus route is roughly $1 while the cost of an off campus rider is around $20. Each student pays a $96 fee that goes toward funding transit services. Of the $800,000 collected, the off campus transit takes up 10% of that budget. No changes are being planned for the 2013-2014 school year but WCU Police Chief Ernie Hudson, who also oversees Cat-Tran, said he will most likely suggest cutting the program the following year if more people don’t start utilizing the off campus transit.

WCU and Town of Sylva to Host ASP’s Day of Service

Western Carolina University’s Academic Success Program is partnering with the Town of Sylva to host its annual Day of Service, on Saturday, July 20, 2013 in the Bridge Park in downtown Sylva. ASP students will participate in day-long service projects throughout Jackson County, while a festival to raise funds and awareness for local nonprofits and service organizations will be held in the Bridge Park. Aiding in this effort as a community sponsor is Wal-Mart of Sylva. Wal-Mart will act as a collection site from July 5-20, providing shoppers with a Wish List of items for the Community Table, and collecting community donations. In addition to shoppers’ donations, Wal-Mart of Sylva is awarding grants to the Community Table, Jackson Neighbors in Need, and Communities in Schools. With generous contributions from Wal-Mart of Sylva and Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort, ASP students will be able to donate all proceeds from the event to benefit the three organizations, in addition to donations from Wal-Mart, funds raised by Harrah’s, and those collected by local businesses. All proceeds and donations will benefit the Community Table, Jackson Neighbors in Need, and Communities in Schools of the Great Smoky Mountains. The ASP Day of Service Festival will take place in the Bridge Park from 9am-1pm, with music, food, carnival games, arts and crafts, inflatables, and a variety of booths with information on local nonprofits and their efforts. The Farmers’ Market will be held in its usual location next to the park. Meanwhile, ASP students will be volunteering throughout Jackson County, working with Appalachian Homestead Farm and Preserve, Catman2, the Watershed Association of the Tuckasegee River, Pathways Thrift Store, Full Spectrum Farms, and several other volunteer projects. To close out the day, a free concert and evening celebration will be held in the Bridge Park from 5pm-9pm. The Day of Service aims to foster the growing relationship between WCU and the community, provide an engaged learning experience for ASP students, and to support vital community service organizations in Jackson County. For more information on ASP or the Day of Service, contact Glenda Hensley, at ghensley@email.wcu.edu or by phone, at 828-227-2786.

 

 

 

Big Nasty Jazz Band Performs Free Concert June 20 at WCU

 

Big Nasty Jazz Band

Big Nasty Jazz Band

The annual outdoor Summer Concert Series at Western Carolina University continues Thursday, June 20, with the Big Nasty Jazz Band. From Asheville, the Big Nasty Jazz Band is a unique jazz experience that brings back the music of the ’20s and ’30s and encourages listeners to get up and dance. WCU hosts the Summer Concert Series, presented by the A.K. Hinds University Center, on Central Plaza every Thursday in June and July (excluding July 4). The series features an eclectic variety of genres and is free to the public. Shows begin at 7 p.m. and last 60-90 minutes. Audience members are welcome to bring blankets, chairs and snacks. The rain location is inside the University Center. Next up is the Honeycutters, an old-school country experience, June 27.

 For more information, contact Lori Davis, assistant director for campus activities, at ledavis@wcu.edu or 828-227-3622.

WCU Outfielder Julian Ridings & Third Baseman Tyler White Selected During the 2013 MLB First Year Draft

Western Carolina had two players selected during the 2013 Major League Baseball First Year Player draft which concluded over the weekend. Junior outfielder Julian Ridings was taken by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 18th round while senior third baseman Tyler White was taken by the Houston Astros in the 33rd round, both coming on the final day of the draft. Ridings was the 22nd pick of the 18th round – and the 548th player taken overall – while White was the first pick of the 33rd round and 977th pick overall. Both Ridings and White are the first-ever Catamounts to be drafted by their respective clubs, Tampa Bay and Houston. Scouts have Ridings profiled as a “top of the order hitter where he can take advantage of his speed and instincts on the base paths.” Even with his improved power numbers over the past two seasons, doubling his number of doubles from eight to 16 and improving upon his home run totals from three to 11 from his sophomore to junior year, scouts have Ridings pegged as “more of a line-drive hitter with gap power as a professional”. Being taken in the 2013 MLB Draft put an exclamation point on a solid career and superb senior year for Tyler White. A first-team All-Southern Conference selection and the media’s SoCon Player of the Year, White hit .363 in 2013 to rank tied for second on the squad while his .416 batting average in SoCon play led the team. He also paced the squad with 66 RBI and 16 home runs while his 27 doubles broke a 10-year old, single-season record. Ridings and White were among 22 players from the Southern Conference drafted during the three-day, 40-round event which concluded Saturday. At total, 1,216 players were selected in the 2013 draft.

WCU Welcomes Student Representative as Newest Member of Board of Trustees

 

Ryan Hermance

Ryan Hermance

Ryan Hermance, president of the Student Government Association at Western Carolina University, took the oath of office Friday, June 7, as the newest member of the university’s Board of Trustees, which also said goodbye to two departing members. A senior from Newton, Hermance was elected 2013-14 WCU student body president during the spring semester. The position also entails serving as an ex-officio member of the trustees. “We welcome you to this board,” Joan MacNeill, chair of the trustees, said after Hermance was sworn in by Terry Welch, assistant to the chancellor and secretary to the board. “We know that you will represent the students well. We feel that, as the representative of the students, you are the most important member of this board, so welcome.” Hermance is pursuing degrees in political science and international studies. The son of Wayne and Debbie Hermance, he is a 2010 graduate of Bandys High School. Administration of the oath of office came during the board’s quarterly meeting. As the board welcomed its newest member, it also bid farewell to two out-going trustees – MacNeill and Steve Metcalf, both of whom complete the second of their consecutive four-year terms on June 30. In an emotional series of remarks, fellow board members thanked MacNeill and Metcalf for their contributions to the university, and Chancellor David O. Belcher recognized MacNeill in particular for her 16 years of volunteer service to WCU – six as a member of the Foundation Board of Directors, and 10 as a member of the Board of Trustees, including two tours of duty as chair. “I could not have hoped for a better ally and friend as I began my chancellor’s journey,” Belcher said, recalling the first time he met MacNeill when she was serving on the search committee that brought him to WCU in 2011. MacNeill’s service to public higher education is not ending, however. A co-founder and former president of the Great Smoky Mountains Railway, she was recently named by the N.C. Senate to the 32-member University of North Carolina Board of Governors. She will begin serving on that board effective July 1.