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WCU honors former scholar Ed Broadwell with doctorate of humane letters

By Benny Smith
Ed Broadwell

Former WCU Board of Trustee member Ed Broadwell (right) receives a doctorate of humane letters at WCU's May 7 commencement.

Western Carolina University Board of Trustees awarded former trustee, former N.C. Board of Governor and retired banker Ed Broadwell with its highest honorary degree, doctorate of humane letters, as part of its commencement ceremonies Saturday, May 7.

Broadwell’s contributions go far beyond just serving on the WCU Board of Trustees. He and his wife, Donna, joined forces with HomeTrust Bank in 2015 to create a fund to provide significant scholarship assistance annually to deserving WCU students from the region.

“My mother and father, who have passed away, would be as shocked and appreciative as our family and friends are

today,” Broadwell told the crowd Saturday afternoon.  “This recognition certainly should be shared with all of them and the supporting team at HomeTrust Bank who made my professional and personal journey so rewarding.” 

In addition to serving five years as a WCU trustee member, Broadwell served 12 years on the University of North Carolina Board of Governors from 1995-2007. He was inducted into the Order of the Long Leaf Pine in 2013, the highest award for state service granted by the governor of the state of North Carolina.

He spent most of his professional career serving as a highly successful banker. Broadwell is the retired chairman and chief executive officer emeritus of HomeTrust Bank, where he worked for almost 50 years. He joined the bank (formerly Clyde Savings Bank) in 1965 as president and chief executive officer and as a director and served as chairman of the board from 2002-2013. Under his 49-year leadership, the bank grew from six to 515 employees, increased capital from $500,000 to $378 million and expanded from one banking office in one county to 45 locations in four states. Because of his significant impact on the banking industry, Broadwell was inducted as a member of the NC Banking Hall of Fame in 2013.

For contributions nationally, Broadwell served on the Federal Reserve’s Thrift Institutions Advisory Council from 2008-2010 and was president of that council in 2010. As far as other contributions not limited to international community, innovation, and entrepreneurship, Broadwell has numerous other awards, board service, philanthropic activities, and contributions of his time and expertise that have impacted our communities and fellow citizens. 

WCU’s Class of 2022, which featured 1,966 students, was the largest graduating class of the university. This was in part because those students were the first to finish school benefiting from NC Promise, which lowered tuition to $500 per semester for in-state students.

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