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The University in its Second Century: 1984-Present

Chancellor Coulter's Inauguration


UNC System President William Friday invests Chancellor Coulter with his seal of office during Coulter’s inauguration on April 20, 1985.

Agreement with Yunnan University


Chancellor Coulter signed an agreement with the president of Yunnan University of the People’s Republic of China in May 1985. The agreement extended the “Sister University” relationship to include undergraduate student exchanges and an emphasis on regional economic development.

Chancellor John Bardo


John W. Bardo was the Chancellor of Western Carolina University from 1995 to 2011. Dr. Bardo held a doctorate in sociology from the Ohio State University and would regularly speak on issues of technology in education and the role of higher education in economic and community development. During his tenure, Western Carolina University made significant strides in becoming a nationally-recognized center for teaching and learning.

Women's Soccer


The new running track/soccer field complex was opened in 2005. It is located on the site of the previous track, includes a complete replacement of the track, a new soccer field in the track's infield, lighting, locker rooms for men and women, a 1,200-seat grandstand, restrooms, a concession and storage building, and a footbridge across Cullowhee Creek.

Millennial Campus


Western has begun developing its "Millennial Campus" on the west side of N.C. Highway 107. The new campus will seek public/private partnerships, incubate small businesses, and utilize existing electronics infrastructure to support economic development efforts. WCU plans to develop both the recently acquired property and portions of its existing campus into multiple-use neighborhoods that will become home to a mix of academic buildings, research facilities, business, industry and housing. Through the Millennial Initiative, partners from the university, private industry and government will conduct research and development into scientific and technological innovations that have commercial applications.



The North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching was built to recognize and support outstanding North Carolina public school teachers. Since 1985, it has emerged as a national model for the enhancement of teaching as an art and a profession, providing dynamic study and advanced learning opportunities for teachers.


The Village


Home to WCU’s residential Greek organizations as well as the Civic Place, a living-learning community for students who want to make a difference through community service and civic engagement, the Village accommodates approximately 250 men and women. Comprised of six buildings, the Village is arranged into seventeen single-gender "houses."

Honors College


Over 1,400 students are enrolled in the Honors College at Western Carolina University. Many students get their academic start by taking Honors courses or by signing Honors contracts, and then move ahead with funded undergraduate research or via the interdisciplinary Special Studies degree, Humanities Program, or Pre-Professional Program.

Fine and Performing Arts Center


The John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center (FPAC) at Western Carolina University is an exciting cultural arts and art education destination for Western North Carolina and the surrounding region. Set in a beautiful valley between the Great Smoky and Blue Ridge mountains, the center combines state-of-the-art educational opportunities for students and instructors with a fresh and inspiring venue for world-class performers and artists. Its three components include a 1,000 seat concert hall, an academic wing, and a fine arts museum.

Center for Applied Technology


Encompassing 28,000 square feet, the Center for Applied Technology is equipped with high-tech tools for programs of study in engineering and technology, music, communication, and sales and marketing. It includes engineering laboratories for technology-based manufacturing, network-quality television and recording studios, and a center for the study of business-to-business sales.

The Honors College attending the 2009 National Conference on Undergraduate Research


With 48 projects accepted, the Honors College sent its biggest team of researchers out of state to the 2009 National Conference on Undergraduate Research at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse (some of the group is pictured here by the charter bus). WCU tied for #5 in the nation at the conference and, for the third year in a row, placed #1 in the UNC system.

Campus Recreation Center's Climbing Wall


The Campus Recreation Center provides the facility and equipment for a variety of fitness activities, including cardiovascular and weight equipment, two multi-purpose courts, a three-lane indoor jogging/walking track with 1/8 of a mile laps, two group exercise/multipurpose studios, and a 48-foot climbing wall with belaying and bouldering.

Softball Facility


The inaugural season of Catamount softball and the opening of the new facility both took place in early 2006. The Lady Cats commemorated the opening of the new facility in style -- they swept the home-opening doubleheader, defeating S.C. State -- and then went on to win the Southern Conference regular season championship.


1996 Catamount Basketball


No number 16 seed has ever defeated a number 1 seed in NCAA basketball tournament history, but in March 1996 it almost happened. Coach Phil Hopkins’s Catamounts won the Southern Conference championship with their 17-12 record. That victory placed them in the NCAA first-round game against 25-5 Purdue. The Cats controlled much of the game with a zone defense. In the final seconds, Purdue desperately held on to win 73-71. Western Carolina had two last chances -- a three-pointer to win by point guard Joel Fleming, and a 15-footer to tie by Joe Stafford. Both shots looked good, but both hit the back of the rim.

Health and Human Sciences Building


Western Carolina University's new 160,000 sq. ft. Health and Human Sciences building on the Millennial Campus has 13 classrooms, 20 program-specific laboratories, four research laboratories, specialized outpatient health and rehabilitation clinics, offices, gathering spaces and a coffeehouse. Among unique features of the building are extensive videoconferencing and telemedicine capabilities, and a video production studio. The facility features a rehabilitation pool where students will learn and practice aquatic therapy. In addition, WestCare Health Systems will obtain space in a proposed multi-tenant structure that would be built adjacent to the new health sciences building, as part of the public-private partnership effort.

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