WESTERN CAROLINA UNIVERSITY OFFICIALS
MEET WITH MADISON STUDENTS, LEADERS
Chancellor Bardo talks with Madison County businessmen.
Chancellor Bardo (right) talks with Madison County businessmen.
Western's Noelle Kehrberg talks with John Graeter.
Noelle Kehrberg (right), Western's dean of applied sciences, talks with John Graeter, executive director of Hot Springs Health Program.

MARS HILL - Western Carolina University stands ready, willing and able to serve the people of Madison County and all of Western North Carolina by educating the region’s young people and offering technical assistance to business and industry.

That was the message Friday, March 26, from Western Carolina Chancellor John W. Bardo as the university leader continued his Chancellor’s Regional Roundtable sessions, an on-going series of community conversations with students and education and business leaders across WNC.

“Our goal as a university is to educate the state and serve the region,” Bardo said during a meeting with community in Mars Hill. “It’s that simple.”

In some cases, the university can accomplish both tasks in a single activity, he said, describing how new high-tech equipment at Western already has been used to help WNC businesses solve problems. During a morning visit to Pechiney Plastic Packaging in Marshall, university and plant officials discussed the possible use of scientific equipment to conduct an in-depth analysis of materials used in the company’s manufacturing process.

“How much will the university charge for that service?” Bardo said. “Exactly zero, as long as our students are getting the valuable hands-on experience. If we can engage our students in work that helps a local business or industry and if that work is related to their field, we most likely would charge for only the cost of materials used.”

Earlier in the day, Bardo and other university officials met with students in a senior-level honors English class at Madison High School. While admitting that he would obviously prefer the students to enroll at Western, Bardo said he was more interested that the students go to college somewhere.

“You are the people that the mountains are counting on for the future,” he said. “The income you earn, the quality of life you have, the ability to do the things you will want to do in the future will increasingly be based on whether you have a college degree.”

Bardo described some of Western’s new academic programs, including bachelor’s and master’s degrees in entrepreneurship. “Madison County’s future is going to be in the growth and development of small businesses built by people who grew up here,” he said.

While in Madison County, the Western Carolina group also visited the Hot Springs Health Program facility in Marshall and toured Advanced SuperAbrasives, which makes diamond-grinding wheels and is the county’s newest industry, employing about 25 people.

The next Chancellor’s Roundtable is scheduled for Haywood County on Thursday, April 1.

Noelle Kehrberg (right), Western's dean of applied sciences, talks with John Graeter, executive director of Hot Springs Health Program.
Chancellor Bardo (right) talks with Madison County businessmen.


Maintained by the WCU Office of Public Relations
Last modified: Thursday, March 27, 2014 | Originally published: Wednesday, March 31, 2004
Copyright 2003 by Western Carolina University