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Greeley appointed to UNC Board of Governors; Hardister joins WCU Board of Trustees

kathy greeley bog

Kathy Greeley (far right) at her last WCU Board of Trustees meeting June 14 as its chair. Effective immediately, she will serve on the UNC Board of Governors.

By Marlon W. Morgan

The Western Carolina University Board of Trustees will have a bit of a different look at its next meeting.

Kathryn Greeley, chair of the board, has been appointed to the University of North Carolina Board of Governors effective immediately. Greeley was confirmed by the North Carolina Senate and will fill the seat vacated by former board member Lee Roberts, who left the position to serve as interim chancellor at UNC Chapel Hill. An appointment to WCU’s Board to fill Greeley’s unexpired term will come from the UNC Board of Governors at a future date.

A new appointment to fill Bill Brawley’s unexpired term on WCU’s Board of Trustees was also made by the NC General Assembly this week. Joining the WCU Board effective July 1, will be former N.C. State Representative Jon Hardister. Hardister has long been a strong advocate of Western Carolina University and is no stranger to the region. During his time in the House, he has visited WCU on numerous occasions.

“The promotion of Chair Greeley to the UNC Board of Governors and the appointment of former Rep. Hardister to WCU’s Board are both welcome news,” WCU Chancellor Kelli R. Brown said. “Kathy will, I am confident, continue to represent WCU and Western North Carolina well with her trademark competence and determination. And Jon, with his background in the NC House, particularly as former chair of the House Education – Universities Committee, will greatly benefit our Board with his knowledge and expertise. I am thrilled with both appointments.”

Greeley, who holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in interior design from WCU, has served on the Board of Trustees since 2019 and was appointed chairwoman in 2023. Greeley, who previously served as an adjunct faculty member in WCU’s interior design program, is the owner of Kathryn Greeley Designs, a full-service interior design firm in Waynesville.

“As a former student and adjunct faculty member at Western, I know I’m prepared for the role to advocate for students to be able to get the very best out of their education with the least amount of debt carried forward, and quite frankly, their return on investment in finding jobs that give them that return on investment,” Greeley said.

Greeley said her work on the Board of Trustees has prepared her well for her new endeavor. She met with more than 35 state senators in Raleigh Monday and learned she was confirmed Thursday afternoon. The news was bittersweet.

While she’s excited about the opportunity to advocate for faculty, staff and students across the UNC System, Greeley said she will miss working closely with the WCU community that she has become fond of.

“I take this appointment with a lot of mixed emotions for that very reason,” she said.

Serving as board chair, Greeley said she is most proud of helping launch the university’s new capital campaign, Fill the Western Sky; advocating for faculty and staff raises; and continuing to advocate for NC Promise.

“I think anytime you’re on a Board of Trustees, you clearly see your needs and wants and hopes for your institution, but I look forward to being able to see that for all of the other institutions as well,” Greeley said.

jon hardister

Jon Hardister

Hardister said he learned of his appointment Wednesday night. A native of Greensboro, Hardister graduated from Greensboro College with a bachelor’s in political science.

He was elected to the NC House of Representatives in 2012, serving six terms before retiring earlier this year. In 2016, he was elected to serve as the House Majority Whip, one of the top leadership positions in the General Assembly. He is the youngest and longest-serving House Majority Whip in state history.

After leaving the House, he started Hardister Strategies LLC to provide consulting services for public affairs, business development and strategic planning.

Hardister, who resides in Whitsett, said he is looking forward to joining WCU’s Board of Trustees. He will be sworn in virtually Monday, July 1, for voting purposes. He will have a ceremonial swearing-in in September.

“It’s an honor to be appointed to serve on the Western Carolina University Board of Trustees,” Hardister said. “I’m excited about being a part of all of the great work that’s going on. When I served in the House of Representatives, I chaired the Universities Committee and I got to know a lot of the people there. It’s a great school and I have a lot of respect for the staff and faculty. They’re doing great things and I’m looking forward to being a part of that.”

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