Meet Two UP
Program Graduates

David Maennle Graduation

David Maennle is a UP Program graduate (2011-2013)from Andrews, NC. At WCU he studied emergency care and worked with the athletic department and facilities management. Upon graduating, David was employed by Graham County Emergency Services where he interned during his final semester at college. His interests include karaoke and exercise. David still strives to own a log home, a Ford pickup truck with a dog box, and a blue tick hound.


Michael Beasley

Michael Beasley is from Waynesville, N.C. He was the first student in the UP Program at WCU from 2007 through 2009. After graduating from the program, he worked as a consultant and mentor in the UP Program. Michael is an avid sports fan and continues to enjoy watching NASCAR races. He  continues to advocate for accessibility and is an active member of his community.

Meet more UP students

UP featured in Magazine of Western Carolina University (March 2011)

WCU to get $2.5M grant for UP Program (Oct. 2010)

WCU Seeks Applicants with Developmental Disabilities for UP Program


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152 Cordelia Camp
Cullowhee, NC 28723
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About UP


The WCU UP Program began as an idea in a graduate-level class taught by Dr. David Westling addressing inclusive programs and services for individuals with disabilities beyond high school. A student in the class, Kelly Kelley, took the idea of the program and worked with Westling to make the program a reality at WCU. A pilot program began in fall 2007 with one student, Michael Beasley.

The pilot program expanded to include another student, Gary Small. Michael Beasley received the first UP Certificate of Accomplishment in spring 2009. Gary Small received the second UP Certificate of Accomplishment in spring 2010.

The UP Program received a three-year, $100,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation School-to-Community Transition Project in collaboration with the Arc of Haywood County to serve four students, connecting them to more than 80 WCU student volunteers and dedicated UP Faculty and Staff.
The UP Program received a five-year, $2.5 million federal grant through the Office of Postsecondary Education to serve as a model demonstration program and serve eight students and create satellite programs at community colleges and universities across North Carolina.

In May, 2012, Corey Hambrick, Aaron Hoefs, Anna-Grace Davis, and Elizabeth Pritchett graduated from WCU with a UP Certificate of Accomplishment.

UP 2012 Graduation

In May, 2013, Anna Joyner, Lexie Kurrimbukus, and David Maennle participated in an inclusive graduation ceremony in WCU's Ramsey Center. All three met the necessary requirements to earn the UP Certificate of Accomplishment.

UP 2013 Graduation


In May, 2014 Austin Holloway, Maleek Gilliam, Kenneth Kelty, Michael Kozicki graduated in WCU's second inclusive graduation.

2014 Graduates

In the fall of 2014, two UP students, Ali Hale and Trace Shuler, were voted by their peers to represent WCU as the university's homecoming queen and king.

2014 WCU homecoming king and queen


In May, 2015 Zach Benton, Will Darling, Sarah Hubbard, and Casey Schading participated in WCU graduation.

2015 UP WCU grads


UP Program Purpose

The WCU University Participant Program is designed to provide a two-year, on-campus living and learning experience for college-age persons with intellectual disabilities. The program is limited to four new students per year, with a maximum enrollment of eight students. During the two-year period, students are expected to complete requirements for receiving a UP Certificate of Accomplishment based on the successful completion of an Individual Plan for College Participation.

University Program students are not eligible for an undergraduate or graduate degree from the university and are not eligible to earn college credit. They are permitted to audit individual courses as part of their UP Program and required to pay appropriate fees for these courses as well as other university costs (i.e., housing, meal plan, student activities, etc).  

Program Outcomes

The UP Certificate of Accomplishment is awarded after a two-year period based on satisfactory completion of five program components. These components include the following:

  • Personal development skills (e.g., communication skills, personal care skills, self-determination, etc.)
  • Community participation skills (e.g., using public transportation, budgeting, grocery shopping, etc.)
  • Vocational preparation skills (e.g., learning specific job skills on or off campus)
  • Social participation and learning (e.g., participating in university functions such as athletic events, belonging to university clubs or organizations)
  • Course auditing (e.g., auditing three to four courses per semester) Participants must pay current university fees for auditing courses.

At the completion of the two-year period, students will be eligible for a UP Certificate of Accomplishment based on the following criteria:

  • Completion of 1,800 hours of learning activities over a four-semester period (450 hours per semester)
  • Achievement of at least 80 percent of the objectives per semester within each component of the IPCP
  • Recommendation for a UP Certificate of Accomplishment by the UP coordinator and the UP Program Steering Committee

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