Western Carolina University 125th


Making a Difference Since 1889

In 2014, Western Carolina University celebrated its founding 125 years before as an institution to bring education and career opportunities to Western North Carolina. Since our humble beginnings as a one-room schoolhouse serving 18 students, Western Carolina has grown in size and scope, today providing higher education to more than 10,000 students and inspiring them – and the region we serve – to reach new heights. Join us as we celebrate our legacy and look toward new horizons.

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Major celebrations went all-out to commemorate the quasquicentennial anniversary of Western Carolina University in 2014. To see more conducted by colleges, schools, departments and units, visit this calendar page.


Date: Saturday, 11/1/14 Time: 8:00AM Venue: Alumni Tower

Runners were coated in color as they passed through color stations during the Fun Run 5K on Saturday, Nov. 1, at Western Carolina University. The event was part of activities associated with WCU’s 125th anniversary and the university’s annual Love Your Body Week. The race began at 9:00 a.m. near the Alumni Tower at the center of campus and was open to runners age 10 and older. To see photos from the event, see this Facebook gallery.

Wrap-Up Event


Date: Friday, 12/5/14 Time: 4PM

As WCU's 125th Anniversary Celebration came to a close, this event featured the Pride of the Mountains Band, marching from the Alumni Tower to Ramsey Regional Activity Center, playing music from their appearance in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade just a few days before. Following the parade, Chancellor Belcher made brief remarks and shared his vision for the future of WCU. For more information, see this article.

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Over these many years, Western Carolina has been a place where exceptional people have chosen to excel and innovative events have laid the foundations for their ascent. Read about some of them here … and share your own stories.
Josefina Niggli

Josefina Niggli

Teaching both journalism and drama, this memorable writer/actor/voice talent inspired and prepared a generation of students to pursue careers in these fields. Learn more - Remembering her

Levern Hamlin Allen

Levern Hamlin Allen

Among the first African Americans to be admitted to any of North Carolina's all-white state institutions of higher learning, Levern Hamlin capitalized on the opportunity to learn, earning master’s degrees at the University of Maryland and George Washington University, and eventually serving on the WCU Board of Trustees for eight years. Learn more...

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For 125 years, a school nestled in the heart of a mountain paradise has sought to bring education to eager minds in a region rich in culture, art, music and innovation. After the school began in 1889, it became known as “The Cullowhee Experiment.” And so it is today at Western Carolina University. And so it will be tomorrow. Learn more about some of Western Carolina's major landmark events, milestone achievements, formative traditions and unique personalities.

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