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WCU chancellor included in Business NC magazine’s leadership power list

By Geoff Cantrell

Chancellor Kelli R. Brown

Chancellor Kelli R. Brown

Business North Carolina counts Chancellor Kelli R. Brown among its Power List 2021, a recently published compilation of the state’s most influential leaders.

The magazine identified the state’s best and brightest leadership based on interviews with business and community members, research and reader suggestions, in 18 categories for fields including education, health care, economic development, finance and sports. An emphasis for selection was placed on those who made a particularly noteworthy impact in 2020, especially for a demonstrated concern for the broader community.

“I am humbled by this recognition and look to my colleagues who help me each and every day in my role as WCU chancellor. Together, we are here for the campus and the community, providing regional assistance and creating a better future,” Brown said.

Brown is first permanent female chancellor of WCU, beginning in the job on July 1, 2019. She immediately set three top priorities for her tenure as 1) academic excellence and quality, 2) economic development and regional outreach, and 3) diversity and inclusive excellence.

Throughout the challenges of 2020, Brown instructed the university to not allow the disruptions of the global health crisis to stop the institution from meeting its mission of providing higher education and outreach to Western North Carolina. Among the many pivots successfully accomplished by WCU was more than 3,000 courses sections moving online in Spring 2020 and then shifting back to a hybrid approach in Fall 2020 and Spring 2021.

 A regional COVID-19 vaccination clinic was established, while faculty bought and distributed PPE to essential workers in the area, students performed wellness checks for homebound neighbors and a pivot to online programs and events quickly took place.

 Construction and renovations continue across campus, with a state-of-the-art science building, new residence halls, a parking garage, and a replacement for an aging steam plant underway, all being built with a higher standard of energy efficiency and environmental compatibility. 

Brown holds a doctorate in education from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale; a master of science and education in public health degree and bachelor of science degree, both from the University of Toledo; and an associate in applied sciences degree in dental hygiene from Michael J. Owens Technical College in Toledo, Ohio. 

Business North Carolina is a Charlotte-based magazine published monthly, with online editions and daily newsletters.

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