By Julia Duvall
Yue Hillon, professor of management in Western Carolina University’s College of Business, has been appointed to the university’s position of Wesley R. Elingburg Distinguished Professor of Business Innovation, effective July 1.
Hillon, who has taught at WCU since 2014, started off her career in software development before changing her career path to higher education and planning a move to the east coast with her family.
“During my journey to higher education, I had a mentor who told me to ‘develop a sense of curiosity, cultivate it, develop your critical thinking skills and problem-solving ability,’” Hillon said. “This wisdom is what led me to higher education. I wanted to instill these values into my students like they had been instilling them in me.”
She found WCU while looking through higher education employment opportunities and was drawn to the mission and vision of the university and the College of Business.
“I sought out WCU and the College of Business because the focus is on project-based learning in and out of the classroom,” Hillon said. “The projects we do for the local and regional economy are a collaborative effort between colleagues, businesses and students.”
As part of her course load, Hillon teaches an undergraduate capstone course where students work with the business community, start-ups, businesses in the ideation phase and entrepreneurs. She also teaches a graduate level capstone/practicum course where students work with established businesses in the region.
“I am so appreciative of the supportive culture at WCU,” Hillon said. “It is very rewarding to be part of bringing WCU and the greater community together. These projects also help students learn about the region and explore what is beyond Cullowhee.”
Hillon earned her doctorate in strategic management, a master’s in business administration and a bachelor’s in business information systems all from New Mexico State University.
In addition to her teaching duties, Hillon coaches student entrepreneurs to develop new business ventures, is a mentor to students in a WCU doctoral prep program and teaches summer international seminars in several different countries.
“Yue embodies the spirit of the Elingburg chair,” said AJ Grube, dean of WCU’s College of Business. “Her passion for local businesses and our community are evident in any conversation with her. I couldn’t be prouder to have Yue in the College of Business and I cannot wait to see her accomplishments in this role.”
Endowed at the $500,000 level, the professorship was established in 2006 to enable WCU to recruit or retain nationally recognized experts in business disciplines and work closely with undergraduate and graduate programs to examine core issues in education for business and regional economic development.
The professorship was made possible by gifts to the university from retired Greensboro businessman and WCU alumnus Wesley R. Elingburg, combined with matching funds through a program initiated by the General Assembly to encourage private support of public institutions of higher education.