Welcome to the 2023 version of Western Carolina University’s “The Black Fantastic.” Last year, the University Communications and Marketing team created “The Black Fantastic” to highlight excellence among a few of WCU’s Black faculty and staff members. The project went on to win three platinum awards from the Hermes Creative Awards, an international competition that is one of the oldest and largest creative competitions in the world. During Black History Month, we continue that artistic and creative look at some of the people responsible for shaping and mentoring the great minds of the future.
“I’m not saying I’m gonna change the world, but I guarantee that I will spark the brain that will change the world.” –Tupac Shakur
Evelyn Rucker, a native of Mobile, Alabama, a first-generation college student, and interim director of Intercultural Affairs at Western Carolina University, uses her favorite quote by rapper Tupac Shakur to inspire her to continue to lead and empower marginalized students through their higher education journey.
“Representation is beautiful. Everyone has a culture and there is so much more to it than most realize,” Rucker said. “If a student wants to fly, needs to feel seen, or simply get filled back up, I’m going to do whatever I can to support them.”
Lifted and mentored in life by her grandmother, her sorority sister Shannon Coleman and professionally by WCU colleagues Alex Fields, BaShaun Smith and Ricardo Nazario-Colón, Rucker leads students to embody their community and become holistic citizens, better equipped with cultural competencies for them to carry throughout the next chapter of their lives.
In looking to the future, Rucker said, “A lot of my 'upward' mobility has been good timing and good people believing in me. These opportunities have allowed me to grow and develop both personally and professionally. I hope that in future roles I am able to pass those same worthwhile opportunities onto others.”