Western Carolina University 125th


Making a Difference Since 1889

Western Carolina University was founded 125 years ago to bring education and career opportunities to Western North Carolina. Since our humble beginnings as a one-room schoolhouse serving 18 students, Western Carolina has grown in size and scope, today providing higher education to more than 10,000 students and inspiring them – and the region we serve – to reach new heights. Join us as we celebrate our legacy and look toward new horizons.

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These major celebrations are going all-out to commemorate the quasquicentennial anniversary of Western Carolina University. To see even more being planned by colleges, schools, departments and units, visit this calendar page.


Date: Saturday, 11/1/14 Time: 8:00AM Venue: Alumni Tower

Runners will get coated in color as they pass through color stations during the Fun Run 5K on Saturday, Nov. 1, at Western Carolina University. The event is part of activities associated with WCU’s 125th anniversary and the university’s annual Love Your Body Week. The race will begin at 9:00 a.m. near the Alumni Tower at the center of campus. The event is open to runners age 10 and older, and it is limited to the first 250 participants. The registration fee is $12.50 for WCU faculty, staff, students and alumni and $20 for all others. For more information, see this news article.

Wrap-Up Event


Date: Friday, 12/5/14 Time: 4PM

As WCU's 125th Anniversary Celebration comes to a close, this event will feature the Pride of the Mountains Band, marching from the Alumni Tower to Ramsey Regional Activity Center. Music will be selections from their appearance in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Following the parade, Chancellor Belcher will make brief remarks and share his vision for the future of WCU. The December 2014 graduating class will be recognized as the "last graduates" from the first 125 years of the university. Hot chocolate and cookies will be served. (Events, dates and times subject to change.)

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Over these many years, Western Carolina has been a place where exceptional people have chosen to excel and innovative events have laid the foundations for their ascent. Read about some of them here … and share your own stories.
Josefina Niggli

Josefina Niggli

Teaching both journalism and drama, this memorable writer/actor/voice talent inspired and prepared a generation of students to pursue careers in these fields. Learn more - Remembering her

Levern Hamlin Allen

Levern Hamlin Allen

Among the first African Americans to be admitted to any of North Carolina's all-white state institutions of higher learning, Levern Hamlin capitalized on the opportunity to learn, earning master’s degrees at the University of Maryland and George Washington University, and eventually serving on the WCU Board of Trustees for eight years. Learn more...

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For 125 years, a school nestled in the heart of a mountain paradise has sought to bring education to eager minds in a region rich in culture, art, music and innovation. After the school began in 1889, it became known as “The Cullowhee Experiment.” And so it is today at Western Carolina University. And so it will be tomorrow. Learn more about some of Western Carolina's major landmark events, milestone achievements, formative traditions and unique personalities.

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