Students are home for the holidays and campus is quiet. It is easy to find parking and there is no line of cars waiting to enter the traffic circle to access N.C. Highway 107. The hum of big machinery busy with campus construction has replaced the tick-tick-tick of the metronome from the Pride of the Mountains drum line rehearsing around campus. And so, it seems the perfect time to reflect on the past year as it slips seamlessly into the year ahead.
If ever there was a Western Carolina University graduate who was living his dream, it would be Tyler McKenzie. McKenzie, a 2013 graduate from WCU's School of Stage and Screen, is traveling across the country, dancing and singing as a member of the ensemble in the second national tour of the Broadway hit "Hamilton."
A pair of graduating students delivered the primary addresses Saturday (Dec. 15) as WCU held commencement exercises to recognize the academic accomplishments of its fall class and a group of alumni who completed requirements to receive their degrees last summer.
Earning an associate degree from Southwestern Community College after transferring there from Mars Hill, and a bachelor’s degree from Western Carolina University, where he graduated in December and gave the commencement address. He’ll continue his education in the fall at WCU, where he is enrolled in the school’s master’s degree program in social work. A member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Blythe is believed to be the first Native American to give a commencement speech at WCU — an unexpected honor that left him in awe and “like the weight of the world” was on his shoulders — but in a good way.
Instruction will be provided on the mountain dulcimer, hammered dulcimer, ukulele and guitar.
The fund was created in 2007 to promote higher education and help relatives of staff members finance their educations at WCU.
Each of the eight modules begin with a one-day workshop at WCU’s instructional site at Biltmore Park and is followed by four weeks of online content.
Public announcement that the accrediting body approved of WCU’s efforts to address issues related to institutional effectiveness processes and Jamaica programs came at the commission’s annual meeting in New Orleans.
Among the topics to be covered are formal and informal introductions, origins and hometowns, shopping, traveling, eating, clothing and colors.