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Chief of Staff

A headshot of Chief of Staff Melissa Wargo


Western Carolina University's Chief of Staff is Melissa Canady Wargo.

Reporting directly to the Chancellor, Dr. Wargo serves as the principal aide and advisor to the Chancellor on important university operational matters as well as providing coordinator of the achievement of strategic directions, goals, and initiatives.

She is the executive leader for the Chancellor's Division, which is comprised of the university's communications and public relations, external relations, university marketing, and special events.

The Chief of Staff's office is located in Room 530 of the H.F. Robinson Building on Western Carolina University's Cullowhee campus.

See Dr. Wargo's Bio



Communications and Public Relations

A photograph of a copy of the University Magazine


The Office of Communications and Public Relations includes the university's news, media relations, photography and videography functions. 

The office is the official liaison between the university and all news media, is responsible for photography and video used to promote the university, produces the university magazine and faculty-staff newsletter, issues press releases and answers media inquiries, and maintains news content.

University News Services and Photography and Video Services consist of two staff writers and editors, one internal communications specialist, two photographers, two videographers and an administrative assistant.

External Relations

A photo of the central plaza on WCU's campus



The Office of External Relations is the university's official advocate with elected and appointed officials from the municipal to the federal levels.

The office pursues federal funding for WCU through congressional appropriations mechanisms and state funding through the University of North Carolina system's established budget priorities process. In addition, they serve as the university liaison to important economic development entities within the local community and the greater Western North Carolina region, including chambers of commerce and regional economic development organizations.

University Marketing

Examples of WCU's Marketing Services that shows a college fair brochure.



The Office of University Marketing, oversees all university branding and advertising, university social media channels, the university website, and the WCU Print Shop.

The office includes Marketing Services, which provides strategic direction, copywriting and design for all printed university marketing, admissions and development materials as well as Media Planning and Research, which plans all paid media for graduate and undergraduate admissions.

It also includes Social Media, which directs content for the university's primary social media channels and consults with units across campus who engage on social media and Web Services, which supports the more than 200 web administrators across campus, oversees all digital design, and manages content for institutional level sections of the site.

Special Events

People enjoying historical demonstrations at mountain heritage day


The Office of Special Events is responsible for the strategic direction, planning and implementation of top-level, university-wide events on behalf of the Chancellor and the Chief of Staff, both on campus and off.

Each year the Office of Special Events designs and executes over 70 annual events ranging from small receptions and meetings to large-scale campus tours and festivals such as Mountain Heritage Day.

The special events team serves as advisors to the Chancellor's Ambassador organization providing leadership development and oversight to a top-level student group of 18 representing WCU and supporting the Chancellor at events. They also serve as advisors and support for other departments for their special event needs.

Office of Web Services