Chancellor Bardo at Cherokee High School.
Chancellor Bardo meets with Cherokee High School students.
Chancellor Bardo and Chief Michell Hicks.
Chief Michell Hicks (right) welcomed Chancellor Bardo to a lunch with business, community and education leaders at Harrah's Hotel.

CULLOWHEE - Students in Laura Pinnix's class at Cherokee High School demonstrated their proficiency in the Cherokee language by responding to the roll call and singing songs in Cherokee during a recent visit by Western Carolina University Chancellor John Bardo.

The visit to the high school on the Qualla Boundary was part of the Chancellor's Regional Roundtables, a series of events to reach out to business and education across Western North Carolina .

Afterward, Bardo spoke with the students, urging them to go to college.  “The mountains need leaders for the next generation as change comes to the region,” he said.  “We need you to help guide the important decisions that will have to be made.”

He invited the class to consider coming to Western, describing it as being close to home but far enough away to give students an authentic university experience.  One area of interest in Cherokee, he said, is Western's entrepreneurship degree program – the first of its kind in North Carolina at both the undergraduate and graduate level.  “Most businesses of the future in the state will be small businesses ventures,” he said, “and entrepreneurship lets you be your own boss.”

Bardo also described Western's new program in forensic anthropology, the university's nationally accredited nursing program, the new joint degree program with University of North Carolina-Charlotte in electrical engineering, the new Fine and Performing Arts Center with its Cherokee theme, and the expanded focus on molecular biochemistry with research in genomics and proteomics. 

After the high school visit, Bardo and other members of the university faculty and staff went to the Cherokee Boys Club where they learned about that organization's many services to the community. During the discussion that followed, Bardo's group explored ways that Western could work with the Boys Club on possibilities that included evening and weekend classes, a new degree program in social work, reverse modeling and prototyping of equipment, work in arts and crafts, and more. 

Bardo wrapped up his outreach to business, community and education leaders on the Qualla Boundary with a lunch at Harrah's Hotel.  After a brief welcome by Chief Michell Hicks, Bardo outlined examples of the ways Western is promoting economic development for the entire region, and he welcomed continued collaboration with the Eastern Band of the Cherokee.

The Chancellor's Regional Roundtables series concludes with a visit to Catawba County on May 25.

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Last modified: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 | Originally published: Monday, May 24, 2004
Copyright 2003 by Western Carolina University