Above: Charles Frazier, author of the best-selling novels “Cold Mountain” and “Thirteen Moons,” answers the questions of freshmen Honors College students during a recent event at WCU.
The Honors College at Western Carolina University presented its inaugural Honors Medallion for special service to award-winning Asheville author Charles Frazier and his wife, Katherine.
Frazier, author of the best-selling novels “Cold Mountain” and “Thirteen Moons,” recently spoke to nearly 100 Honors College freshmen and answered their questions about his writing. After the question-and-answer session, Brian Railsback, dean of the Honors College, presented the medallion to the Fraziers.
The medallion, created earlier this year by the student Honors College board of directors, is awarded to Honors College graduates and to special friends of the college, said Railsback. It was created to commemorate the college’s 10-year anniversary and was first given to honors graduates in May to wear at commencement.
“We decided the first medallion awarded to a friend should go to Charles and Katherine Frazier because she arranged for him to take time out of his busy engagement and writing schedule to chat with our freshmen,” said Railsback. “Normally, you work through an agent to have an author of his stature come to the university, and such visits usually cost thousands of dollars. The Fraziers came out of sheer generosity and an interest in educating our students.”
The Honors College event is not the first example of the Fraziers’ generosity to Western. Through their Cold Mountain Foundation, the author and his wife established an endowed scholarship fund in memory of his father, Charles O. Frazier, a WCU graduate. Endowed in 2004, the fund provides approximately $2,000 in scholarship assistance every year to selected incoming freshmen from Macon County.
“My family has a long connection to Western, and I was partly curious to hear what kind of questions a group of freshmen would ask,” said Frazier. “I am honored to be awarded the medallion, and I wish my father were still around because it would make him proud.”
Frazier was awarded a National Book Award in 1997 for “Cold Mountain.” He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, his master’s from Appalachian State University and his doctorate from the University of South Carolina.
For more information, contact the Honors College at (828) 227-3277.