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‘Fill the Western Sky’ fundraising campaign steering committee announced

campaign steering committee


By Bill Studenc

Membership is now complete on the 43-person steering committee that will help guide Western Carolina University’s recently announced comprehensive fundraising effort christened the “Fill the Western Sky” campaign.

Through the campaign, WCU aims to secure a minimum of $75 million in philanthropic gifts to support upgrades to athletics facilities, enhance academic programming and improve student engagement activities.

“Members of this committee are developing strategies, monitoring progress, recommending any needed strategic and tactical adjustments and serving as ambassadors who advocate on behalf of the campaign and bring others into the fold,” said Jamie T. Raynor, vice chancellor for advancement.

The “Fill the Western Sky” campaign steering committee is co-chaired by Randy White, managing director of a financial investment group, who graduated from WCU with a bachelor’s degree in finance in 1989 and a master’s degree in business administration in 1991; White’s spouse, Kim Hunter, who works alongside with him at Hunter and White Private Wealth Group of Wells Fargo Advisors in Santa Rosa, California; Teddy Phillips Jr., CEO of Phillips and Jordan construction company; and Phillips’ spouse, Christy Phillips, an interior designer from Knoxville, Tennessee.

Honorary chairs are Donna Winbon, a 1980 graduate of WCU and financial adviser who chaired WCU’s previous “Lead the Way” campaign; retired banking executive Ed Broadwell Jr., former chair of WCU’s Board of Trustees; and Broadwell’s spouse, Donna Broadwell, of Asheville.

Campaign steering committee members are:

* Doug Bailey, a 1993 graduate of WCU, vice president for corporate affairs for GoPuff, a digital convenience retailer headquartered in Philadelphia.

* Jim Beaty, a 1971 graduate of WCU and retired U.S. District Court judge.

* Toy Beaty, a 1972 graduate of WCU and Bank of America employee.

* Becky Brown, a 1971 graduate of WCU, retired director of budget and management for the N.C. Department of Labor and current secretary of the WCU Board of Trustees.

* Frank Brown III, retired comptroller for the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, who represents the fourth generation of a family that is significant in WCU’s history.

* Melanie Clark, longtime university supporter and spouse of former WCU Board of Trustees member Kenny Messer.

* Gina Crawford, longtime supporter of WCU and spouse of WCU alumnus Mike Crawford.

* Mike Crawford, a 1987 graduate of WCU and chief performance officer at national accounting firm FORVIS.

* John Davis, a 1987 graduate of WCU and senior vice president of global sales and marketing for Artivion.

* Melanie Davis, longtime supporter of the university and spouse of John Davis.

* Susan Grattan, longtime WCU supporter from Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, and spouse of Tad Grattan.

* Tad Grattan, a 1988 WCU graduate and retired co-founder of Align Networks physical therapy company.

* Kenny Messer, 1986 graduate of WCU, former member of the WCU Board of Trustees, and president and CEO of HarperLove in Charlotte.

* Jim Moore, a retired banking executive and longtime supporter of WCU.

* Bob Roberts, Asheville banking executive and former chair of the WCU Board of Trustees.

* Carol Roberts, longtime supporter of the university and spouse of Bob Roberts.

* Kevin Stanberry, a 1994 WCU graduate and co-owner of Stanberry Insurance Co.

* Lynn Stanberry, a 1999 graduate of WCU and former owner of O’Malley’s Pub and Grill in Sylva.

* Marsha Sullivan, customer service manager for Lee County Tax Collection Office in Florida.

* Mike Sullivan, president of Gargiulo Inc., a produce company based out of Naples, Florida.

* Bob Thomas, a 1970 graduate of WCU and retired international business executive.

* Suzanne Thomas, a 1970 graduate of WCU and retired international business executive.

* Mike Wade, a 1977 WCU graduate, former insurance executive and co-owner of Rabbit Ridge student housing complex in Cullowhee and other real estate projects.

Representing WCU faculty on the steering committee are Mae Claxton, professor of English; Jim Costa, professor of biology and director of the Highlands Biological Station; Sean Mulholland, professor of economics and director of the Center for the Study of Free Enterprise; and Rob Young, professor of geology and director of the Center of the Study of Developed Shorelines.

C.J. Mitchell, a Charlotte resident who a senior in the College of Business and serves as president of the Student Government Association, represents students on the committee.

WCU staff and administrators serving on the committee are Kelli R. Brown, chancellor; Mike Byers, vice chancellor for administration and finance; Stephanie Edwards, director of donor relations; Alex Gary, director of athletics; James Hogan, assistant vice chancellor for engagement; Julie Miller, associate athletics director for development and major gifts; Ben Pendry, assistant vice chancellor for development; and Jamie T. Raynor, vice chancellor for advancement.

For more information or to make a contribution to the “Fill the Western Sky” campaign, visit, call 828-227-7124 or email

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