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Alumni Blog

At Western Carolina University, we know that a university isn't just a place, it's a community. A community that's built from and defined by the people who call Western Carolina home, first as students and then as alumni. Our Alumni Association fosters a lifelong connection to WCU through programs and services so that no matter where you are, you'll always have a home in Cullowhee. Learn more about the Alumni Association...

students on zoom

The Show Must Go On

The School of Stage and Screen turned to technology to present a virtual version of a Shakespeare classic. Theatrical stages from coast to coast may have gone dark in this time of social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but that has not stopped the folks from the School of Stage and Screen at Western Carolina University from sharing their talents with the public. In the grand tradition of “the show must go on,” WCU students and faculty presented William Shakespeare’s “Love’s Labour’s Lost” via Zoom, the videoconferencing service that has exploded in popularity as millions of students and workers find themselves studying and working remotely because of the coronavirus crisis.   

students in a classroom

Promise Kept

More than two years after its debut, the groundbreaking tuition reduction plan known as NC Promise is, by most accounts, a solid success that is meeting the goals of improving access to higher education by providing a financial leg-up to undergraduate students who might not otherwise be able to afford it and lowering student loan debt. Enrollment has increased significantly at Western Carolina University and two other University of North Carolina System institutions that are part of the plan. Students say the lower tuition cost is making a difference in their lives, and the amount of student debt incurred is on the decline.  

Garrett Ozar

Entrepreneurship Alumnus Makes Most of Confidence Starting a Business and Facing the Shark Tank

Garrett Ozar, a 2009 graduate with a degree in entrepreneurship, took managerial skills and confidence gained from the Innovation Leadership and Entrepreneurship Program in the College of Business, to start a success story. He is the co-founder of Eterneva, an Austin, Texas, based company started in 2017 that takes ashes from cremated remains, isolates the carbon and, with heat and pressure, creates diamonds as an everlasting keepsake.   

Brian Boyer on campus with Students

The View from Here

Every summer, I give advice to incoming freshmen as they prepare to begin their college careers. I encourage them to take this advice for what it is worth, but I also tell them that WCU staff members are excited to welcome new students “home” every year — pandemic or no. Here’s some of that advice...  

Image of Chris Faw

New giving society spurs alumni to expand support to students

For Chris Faw, it was a rustic wooden sign near the old entrance to Western Carolina University that featured the year the school was founded. For Emily Glesias, it was her memory of being a writing tutor and writing fellow while a student at WCU and knowing she could continue that support as an alumna.  

Max Domavalage

From Jackson County emergency responder to FEMA, WCU alumnus has found his place

As a child, Max Domalavage had his heart set on becoming a firefighter and a paramedic when he grew up. But it wasn’t the sirens or the uniforms or the big rigs and ambulances racing through the streets that drew Domalavage in. He simply wanted to help people.  

Laura Rabb in Alaska

Alumna sees the world thanks to her degree, but finds there’s no place like home

“I liked science and math, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” said Laura Rabb, who graduated from WCU with a degree in biology with an emphasis in environmental health in 1989. “So, I went to talk to the environmental health program professor and he said, ‘take a class and if you don’t like it, it’s an elective.’”  

Donna Winbon and her blue BMW convertable

Donna Winbon to lead WCU Foundation board

It’s no surprise that Donna Winbon drives a bright blue BMW Z4 roadster. They’re both sporty and fun, and in BMW’s words: an irresistible force that provides maximum excitement. (Sounds like Winbon, doesn’t it?)   

Aerial of campus with the Scott and Walker Residence Halls

Q and A with Alumna Donna Reynolds

Donna Reynolds '05, Executive Assistant for the Vice-Chancellor of Student Affairs at WCU, shares some of her memories of Scott and Walker Residence Halls and the unique items that have been found during the demolition of the iconic buildings.  

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