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Shannon Swimmer named director of WCU Cherokee Center

Shannon Swimmer

Shannon Swimmer

By Julia Duvall

Shannon Swimmer received a master’s degree in human resource management from Western Carolina University in 2007. After several years working in tribal law, Swimmer has returned to WCU in a new capacity, as director of the Cherokee Center.

Prior to being hired at WCU, Swimmer earned her juris doctor from the University of Kansas Law School in 2013 and worked as a judge in the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians tribal court and is a licensed attorney in the state of North Carolina.

“When the director position came open for the Cherokee Center, I felt that this was a great opportunity to make an impact in my community as well as share my background and knowledge with our students,” Swimmer said. “I also was excited to continue to foster the relationships between the tribe and WCU.”

Swimmer began her role May 1.

“Former WCU Chancellor Dr. (Myron) Coulter is a founding member of the Cherokee Preservation Foundation and when I was working there, I saw the potential for what WCU and Cherokee could do together,” Swimmer said. “Working in law was very emotionally draining and I saw so many people at their worst. I really wanted to make an early impact on the lives of these people and started looking for ways I could do that.”

WCU’s Cherokee Center was founded in 1975 as a hub for professors that taught college level courses in Cherokee. Once those courses were no longer needed, the center morphed into WCU’s headquarters for outreach in the Cherokee community.

The center provides several services to EBCI students and the surrounding region including application process, transcript request, scholarships, internships placement, high school recruitment and much more.

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