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Sylva hosts community event as part of chancellor installation activities

Editor's Note: Due to the coronavirus, the chancellor’s installation ceremony scheduled for Friday, March 27, and other installation week activities are postponed until further notice.

Neighboring Sylva will host a community event Monday, March 23, at the Jackson County Public Library as a part of installation week activities for Western Carolina University Chancellor Kelli R. Brown.

Chancellor Kelli R. Brown

The event, scheduled for 4 to 5:30 p.m. will include a reception, a book reading by Holly Kays, Smoky Mountain News reporter and author of “Trailblazers & Traditionalists: Modern Day Smoky Mountain People," and a local meet-and-greet. There also will be a tour of WCU student developed library exhibits and opportunities to visit the Jackson County Historical Society and Genealogical Society offices. Paige Dowling, Sylva town manager, and librarian Tracy Fitzmaurice will make remarks, as will Chancellor Brown.

“Helping to plan this event caused me to reflect on the special place that that the public library holds in Jackson County,” said Pam Meister, director of WCU’s Mountain Heritage Center. “It truly is a place where everyone is welcome, from families who make a trip to the library a weekly excursion to people who need a clean safe place in which to spend time or access the internet, to those who come for stimulating programs and social interaction, all kinds of instruction and assistance, and of course for knowledge and cultural enrichment.

Holly Kays

“And the public library is a great place for WCU students to make meaningful connections with local individuals and organizations,” Meister said. “WCU was created by the community, and we still cherish and celebrate our regional origins. What better place for our new chancellor to demonstrate her commitment to community connections?”

With limited parking, WCU will provide a free shuttle service from Sylva’s Bridge Park parking lot to the library. Later that day, the celebration moves to Asheville with a 6 p.m. reception at WCU’s Biltmore Park instructional site.

On Friday, March 27, Dr. William Roper, president of the University of North Carolina System, will preside over a formal ceremony that will officially install Brown as the university’s 12th chancellor. To learn more about the celebration events and the installation ceremony, go to

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