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The Chancellor's List

The Chancellor's List is an honor and designation that recognizes the exemplary accomplishment of Undergraduate students who have earned a 3.8 GPA during the previous semester at WCU.  Students who have earned this prestigious award are role models as university citizens, having demonstrated their commitment to academic and personal excellence. These students understand that while it is important to excel in the classroom, it is equally important to engage with their community – on campus and in the region – and to make a difference in the lives of those around them.  It is with great pride that we recognize Chancellor’s List recipients for their hard work and commitment to success!

Spring 2023 Chancellor's List will take place on February, 7th, 2023 at 5PM.

Chancellor's List- Chancellor Brown


Qualifications for Chancellor's List Award:

  • Student must have been an Undergraduate
  • Student must have achieved a 3.8 GPA or higher during the Spring 2022 semester
  • Student must have retained full-time status (12 credit hours or more) for the entire semester
  • All students grades must have been finalized by the end of the term (No incomplete's given)

This celebration and reception is hosted each semester, in September and February. Each celebration features remarks from the Chancellor and Provost, in addition to an inspiring keynote address. Distinguished speakers and leaders, known for their accomplishments, grit, and dedication to success, share diverse perspectives and personal passions. A reception follows the remarks, during which students pick up their certificates and enjoy refreshments.

Preston Blakely


Spring 2023 keynote speaker:

Preston Blakely

Preston Blakely is an Asheville native, but has called Fletcher, NC home for over 20 years. Blakely received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from UNC Greensboro in Political Science adjoined with African American and African American Diaspora Studies. He then continued his academic pursuits at Western Carolina University, attaining his Master of Public Affairs in 2019.  He was named Outstanding Public Affairs Student in Public Management upon graduation.

Above all else, Blakely values service of family and community.   When Blakely graduated with his master’s, he decided to work with his family business in Asheville, Quality Janitorial Group, Inc. He is still serving as manager today, alongside his parents (both born in Asheville).  The family business has supported the local economy, community, and residents while served a variety of commercial industries throughout Western North Carolina now for over 30 years (begun in 1990).  Blakely is the descendent of an outstanding line of historically active and impactful pioneers including his maternal grandmother, Dr. Oralene Simmons, the first student of color at Mars Hill College, and his paternal grandmother, Patricia Blakely McCurry, one of the first women of color to become a professional bus driver for the City of Asheville.

Blakely was elected to the Fletcher Town Council mere months post-graduation, with a landslide victory of over 70% of the vote. When he took the mayoral election two years later in 2021 (just days after his 27th birthday), Blakely gained 719 votes against his opponent’s 583.  Now heading into his second year in office, Blakely is presently the youngest mayor of Fletcher, N.C. and one of the youngest ever to be elected as mayor in North Carolina.  His first year in office has been tracked and covered by news entities across the state and country, including ABC13News (WLOS) and Blue Ridge Public Radio (BRP), The Mountain Xpress and The Urban News, multiple UNC system universities, and the Citizen Times and BlueRidgeNow of the USA Today Network. Fletcher is home to just under 8,500 residents.         

In following the footsteps of leaders before him, Blakely’s passion for family, community and career is apparent.  He has not faltered in his dedication to the individuals and community which supported him throughout his life and career.  As both Town Council member and now Mayor, Blakely has prioritized growth and inclusivity, while maintaining the “hometown quality” of Fletcher.  His present ventures include the "Heart of Fletcher - Fletcher Town Center" project and continuing to align his goals with and serve Fletcher families and hardworking Town staff.   

Past keynote speakers featured:

  • Fall 2022- Jeremy Jones- Author; Memoir, "Bearwallow: A Personal History of a Mountain Homeland" 
  • Spring 2022- Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle- Author, "Even As We Breathe"
  • Fall 2021- Catherine Carter, Reciepient of The Board of Governor's Award for Excellence in Teaching
  • Spring 2020- Liz Murray, author of the national best selling Novel, "Breaking Night"
  • Fall 2019- John Quiñones, ABC news correspondent and host of "What Would You Do?"
  • Spring 2019- Michael Steele, political analyst and former Chair of the Republican National Comittee
  • Fall 2018- Honorable Loretta Lynch, Former Attorney General of the United States
  • Spring 2018- Richard Sneed, Principal Chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
  • Fall 2017- Kwame Jackson, acclaimed entrepreneur, consultant, and speaker
  • Spring 2017- Donovan Livingston, renowned spoken-word poet and scholar





Richard Sneed


Loretta Lynch




Richard Sneed


Loretta Lynch




Liz Murray




Presenter at chancellor's list event


Presenter at chancellor's list event


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