The Belchers' Gift

On Thursday, October 12, Chancellor David O. Belcher and his wife Susan B. Belcher announced their plans to set the tone for WCU's Lead the Way comprehensive fundraising campaign with a commitment of $1.23 million to the campaign. The gift is a combination of annual cash giving, an estate commitment, and their recently established endowed scholarships.

The Belchers' gift is designated to fund scholarships at Western Carolina University, a cause that has been a passion for Chancellor Belcher since he came to WCU in the summer of 2011.

"Students were the WHY Susan and I took the leap to join Western Carolina University six and a half years ago – to change lives," Chancellor Belcher said. "They are our reason for being. They are our joy. ... This is what makes our support and gifts worthwhile."

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Speaking at the annual Scholarship Luncheon at WCU, Susan Belcher added: "We talk about the fact that higher education is the stuff of the American Dream. We talk about the fact that cost is a barrier for too many qualified students. Yes, we know Western Carolina University is one of the most affordable universities in the country. But, for many of our students, that doesn't matter.

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"WCU students have greater financial need and carry greater amounts of debt than ever before. This is simply unacceptable and we must address it; it is imperative for the success of our students, their families and their communities."

Western Carolina senior Jordan Parker was the inaugural recipient of the David O. and Susan B. Belcher Honors College Scholarship.

The portion of the Belchers' gift funded through their estate will support their two endowed scholarships: The David O. and Susan B. Belcher Honors College Scholarship and the Susan Brummell Belcher College of Fine and Performing Arts Scholarships. The Belchers' cash gifts to the campaign have been committed to a wide variety of WCU funds, all focused on providing student scholarships.

Those include the staff senate scholarship, Friends of the Arts, the Catamount Club, the Alumni Scholarship, and much more.

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