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Impact Stories

Our alumni, community, faculty, staff, and partners are dedicated to supporting the success of current and future Catamounts. Western Carolina University is committed to sustaining and improving individual lives through education and by enhancing the economic and community development of our region. Discover the philanthropy and the people who make this happen...

Athletics

Time and Treasure Highlight ‘I Love WCU’

Western Carolina University faculty and staff opened their hearts as well as their wallets and calendars this year to support the university’s fourth annual “I Love WCU” campaign during the month of February. This year’s campaign, which was a joint effort from the Division of Advancement and the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning, encouraged participants to volunteer their time to community service projects, as well as to make charitable donations.  

Facilities Management

Family Comes First for New Facilities Management Scholarship, an “I Love WCU” Story

Western Carolina University’s Facilities Management unit is a family, as far as members of its leadership team are concerned, so they decided to help take care of their own by establishing the WCU Facilities Management Annual Scholarship in honor of “I Love WCU” month.  

Jennifer Hinton

Recreational Therapy Director says Helping Others Helps Her; an “I Love WCU” Story

It’s hard to tell where Jennifer Hinton’s real job ends and her volunteer work begins. As program director and clinical education coordinator for Western Carolina University’s recreational therapy program, Hinton spends much of her time teaching her students about service-learning, coordinating volunteer projects for them or doing community service herself — sometimes for work, her church, her family — or often a combination of some of them, if not all.   

Anne Aldrich

A Passion for Literacy Leads to Cross-Cultural Service, an “I Love WCU” Story

Once a week for nearly three years, Anne Aldrich has left her home in Balsam and driven 35 minutes to western Buncombe County to scratch an itch she has for literacy. An avid reader since the age of 4, Aldrich is committed to helping others understand the meaning of words, even if English isn’t their first language.  

giving tuesday

Catamount Nation Answers the Call on Giving Tuesday

For the fourth time in as many years, Western Carolina Athletics and its fundraising arm, the Catamount Club, put out the call as part of the National Day of Giving, #GivingTuesday. And once again, the generosity of the Catamount Nation brightly shined through. Through fundraising efforts stemming around the Dec. 3 Giving Tuesday initiative, a total of 254 generous supporters ranging from the West Coast to the Southeast – and points in between – answered the Giving Tuesday challenge by raising a record-setting total...  

Dwight Ryland

Colorado couple endows scholarship in effort to save environment through education

Dwight Ryland has seen some glorious views in his day, having climbed all 54 of Colorado’s 14,000-foot mountains — some of them more than once—and skied his native state’s majestic slopes. But a dark cloud on the horizon has redirected his gaze and nudged the 77-year-old Ryland to put his money where his heart is: saving the environment through education.  

Lead the Way

‘Lead the Way’ total to be announced May 2 with campus celebration

It’s been more than a year in the making, this fundraising challenge to reach $60 million for the Lead the Way campaign in support of late Chancellor David Belcher’s pledge for more student scholarships. Did we make it? Find out May 2 during the ‘big reveal’ at a community celebration in the Ramsey Center.  

Jack and Judy Brinson

Highlands residents pledge $2 million for Honors College, undergraduate research

Thanks to the ongoing generosity of a husband and wife who divide their time between Highlands in the Western North Carolina mountains and Hilton Head Island in the South Carolina Lowcountry, Western Carolina University is one step closer toward its goal of being able to provide scholarship assistance to every Honors College student with financial need. Make that 1 million steps closer.  

Jeff and Tina Ray

Rays strive to bring students, STEM together through scholarship support

To support their love of engineering and education, Jeff and Tina Ray created the Hopkins and Ray Engineering and Technology Endowed Scholarship to support students in WCU’s College of Engineering and Technology, for which Jeff Ray serves as dean.  

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