CULLOWHEE – Joan G. MacNeill of Webster, co-founder of the Great Smoky Mountains Railway, is the newest member of the board of trustees at Western Carolina University.

MacNeill was officially sworn in as a trustee as part of the board’s quarterly meeting Wednesday, March 5. She is filling the unexpired term of Hendersonville businessman Thomas Apodaca, who resigned his position on the board after being elected in November to represent North Carolina’s 48th Senate District.

MacNeill, who co-founded the Dillsboro-based Great Smoky Mountains Railway in 1989 with husband Malcolm G. MacNeill, served as president and chief operating officer of the popular tourist attraction company until its sale to new ownership in 2000.

A former member of the board of directors of First Union Bank of Sylva, she is a member of the Western Carolina University Foundation Board, the Girl Scouts Council of Western North Carolina Pisgah Council Board, and the Garden Club of Sylva. Her previous community involvement activities include membership on the board of directors of R.E.A.C.H. of Jackson County, Western North Carolina Film Commission Advisory Board, and University of Miami School of Nursing Advisory Board.

Joan G. MacNeill

A former intensive care unit charge nurse and instructor of nursing at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, MacNeill earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Florida while studying on a U.S. Navy scholarship.

Her term on Western’s board of trustees is scheduled to run through June 2005.

In other action, the trustees selected Asheville attorney W. Louis Bissette Jr. to fill the vacant position of secretary to the board, a position formerly held by Apodaca.

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Last modified: Friday, March 14, 2003
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