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Rich Price named WCU chief marketing and strategic partnerships officer

rich price

Rich Price

By Julia Duvall

No stranger to Western Carolina University, Rich Price, an alumnus and the executive director of economic development and strategic partnerships since January 2021, has been named WCU’s chief marketing and strategic partnerships officer.

Price began his new role May 13 as leader of the university communications and marketing team.

“I see strong correlation between the work that I have been doing for economic development and for university advocacy with the same overarching storytelling that marketing and communications executes every day,” Price said. “There is a real opportunity to leverage the talent of the UCM team and grow our capacity for storytelling. There are a lot of similarities in my previous and new role and I look forward to these two divisions coming together as one.”

Price is originally from Lake Lure and earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration with dual concentrations in marketing and business management from WCU in 1988.

Prior to coming to WCU, Price served as the director for economic development for Jackson County.

Price has also served as director of casino marketing and player development at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino and Hotel. He also was owner, president and general manager of WigWam, Inc. in Cherokee.

“It has been over a decade since I have led a team and I am looking forward to working with this very talented group of individuals,” Price said. “To have this opportunity again at this point in my career is very gratifying. To think about the opportunities and possibilities of this team is a big motivator of why I took on this new role.”

Price said that he is proud to have worked in various fields including both the public and private sector as well as being an entrepreneur, but the most rewarding work has been with economic development and creating partnerships.

“I've been in the business for over 35 years and the work in economic development, and certainly now with this university, has been the most satisfying work of my career,” Price said. “That itself has been enough for me to embrace this next challenge.”

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