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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...

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.  

High Falls, DuPont State Forest, Cedar Mountain, NC

Wife endows scholarship to honor late husband’s work ethic

Hazel Hawkins always admired her late husband’s work ethic, a man who spent years working fulltime while attending WCU to complete his degree. She honored him by easing the burden on other students, with an endowed scholarship in his name.  

Joan Humphries

Grateful Student Pays Homage to Dedicated Teacher Through Career, Establishment of Scholarship

Lena Dula Mayberry Engstrom had a passion for teaching that changed the trajectory of Joan Davis Humphries’ life. To honor her former high school teacher and mentor, Humphries established an endowed scholarship in Engstrom’s name.  

Harold and Henrietta Saltz Anderson

Saltz Anderson endowed scholarship honors family of educators

They traded Western North Carolina for central Washington, where he farmed and she taught school. When it came time to settle their affairs and with no children of their own, Harold and Henrietta Saltz Anderson looked homeward, to North Carolina.  

Burton during WCU's Dec. 2017 commencement.

Campus fixture Carol Burton creates scholarship to aid international graduate students

Through cash gifts, pledges and an estate gift totaling $50,000, Acting Provost Carol Burton has established a scholarship fund designed to help international students, especially those from Jamaica, earn graduate degrees at WCU.  

Chancellor David O. Belcher pledging his gift to WCU.

WCU Launches 'Lead the Way' Campaign

WCU launched the public phase of its comprehensive fundraising campaign March 1, by announcing a minimum goal of $60 million and celebrating a $5 million pledge.   

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