By Bill Studenc
The changing of the fiscal year on July 1 also meant a changing of the guard for the Western Carolina University Foundation Board of Directors, which recently welcomed six new members and selected membership of its executive committee.
The Western Carolina University Foundation is charged with promoting higher education and supporting the enhancement of the university. The Foundation’s goal is to aid and assist WCU in its development as a leading educational institution through the investment and stewardship of philanthropy.
The Foundation’s role is becoming increasingly important as higher education seeks greater support through private giving and as the university moves forward with its next comprehensive fundraising campaign.
New WCU Foundation Board of Directors members, with initial three-year appointments effective July 1, are:
* Hoyt Almond, a former BB&T regional vice president for western Kentucky. After retiring from a 42-year banking career, Almond founded LogoGistics, a sports and corporate brand licensing company that focuses on cross-promotional licensing agreements. An Asheville resident, Almond earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from WCU in 1969. He is a member of the 1889 Club as a supporter of the Fund for WCU and is a longtime Catamount Club supporter.
* Mary Arbaugh, a longtime supporter of WCU and its athletics and arts programs who now resides in Charlotte. Arbaugh earned her bachelor's degree in marketing from WCU in 1979. She is the spouse of fellow 1979 graduate Larry Arbaugh, who retired as a WCU associate athletics director in 2020. She previously served on the Friends of the Arts Advancement Council and is a member of the Cullowhee Society.
* Chad Greene, a certified public accountant and owner of the Greene & Company accounting firm in Clemmons. A 1996 graduate of WCU with a bachelor's degree in accounting, Greene is a former member of the Catamount football team. A resident of Lewisville, he is a supporter of the Catamount Club.
* Steve Hodge, senior vice president and regional corporate development officer for First Citizens Bank. An Asheville resident, Hodge has a long career in banking, including serving as area executive for BB&T and First South Bank. A 1976 WCU graduate with a bachelor’s degree in finance and a former student-athlete on WCU’s men’s golf team, he was appointed in February 2023 to fill an unexpired term. He is the spouse of Gin Hodge, a 1978 WCU graduate, and they support athletics and scholarships at WCU.
* Terry M. Fortner, who retired from LKQ Corp. as vice president of sales and marketing for North America. A 1977 graduate of WCU with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, Fortner worked in leadership roles for more than 30 years with Nationwide Insurance. A resident of Dahlonega, Georgia, he previously served on the WCU Alumni Board, Catamount Club Board and Board of Visitors. He and spouse Vikki Fortner, a 1979 WCU graduate, are members of the Cullowhee Society and the Madison Legacy Society.
* Judy Stroud, a retired State Farm Insurance agent in Hendersonville who also had a 20-year career officiating WNBA and NCAA women’s basketball games and served as an NCAA regional adviser. Stroud earned her bachelor’s degree in health and physical education in 1976 and master’s degree in physical education in 1981, both from WCU, where she was a women’s basketball player and coach. She is a supporter of athletics and scholarships at WCU.
In addition to the approval of the newcomers, the board also reappointed two members to second three-year terms: Knoxville, Tennessee, resident Ken Martin, a 1980 WCU graduate with a bachelor's degree in industrial technology who is manager of shipping operations for Arconic (formerly Alcoa); and Bruce Moore, a 1982 graduate of WCU with a bachelor’s degree in marketing who is owner and president of a food packaging company in Charlotte.
The board also set membership on its executive committee, with Dennis Fox, a 1971 WCU graduate with a bachelor's degree in marketing, appointed to serve as chair. A resident of Raleigh, Fox is a project consultant for National Coatings and Supplies, a subsidiary of Trail Creek Investments.
Mike Crawford, a 1987 WCU graduate with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance, was named first chair and chair of the board’s advancement committee. An Asheville resident, Crawford is chief performance officer for the FORVIS accounting firm.
Serving as second vice chair is John Martin, a 1990 graduate of WCU with a bachelor's degree in business law. Martin, who also was appointed to chair the board’s finance and audit committee, is senior vice president of Captrust Financial Advisers. He lives in Raleigh.
Robin Parton Pate, a 1997 WCU graduate with a bachelor’s degree in marketing, was selected to serve as chair of the board development committee. A resident of Knoxville, Tennessee, Pate is chief marketing officer at Green Point Research.
The board appointed Durham attorney Brandon Robinson to chair the support organization oversight committee. Robinson earned his bachelor’s degree in 2005 and his master’s degree in 2010, both in history from WCU.
In other action during the board’s recent meeting, five outgoing members received WCU Foundation Board Medallions in recognition of their contributions to the Foundation and the university. They are:
* Powdersville, Georgia, resident Bruce Clayton, a 1971 graduate of WCU with a bachelor's degree in accounting who is a retired senior vice president of human resources for Genuine Parts Co.
* Durham-based Couch Oil Co. president Steve Couch, a 1985 graduate of WCU with a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology.
* Retired educator Beth Lofquist, immediate past Foundation Board chair who earned her bachelor’s degree in 1978 and master’s degree in 1979, both in education, and her educational specialist degree in 1988, all from WCU.
* Sylva resident Jeanne McGuire, a longtime supporter and friend of the university.
* Chicago resident Debbie Wright, a retired patent and intellectual property attorney who graduated from WCU in 1977 with a degree in biology.
Each departing member received a medallion designed by WCU alumnus Joel Queen, a ninth-generation potter and member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Queen’s design represents, through Cherokee syllabary, the word “Cullowhee.”
“I consider this a bittersweet day for the Foundation Board as we take time to celebrate board members whose terms are coming to a close,” Jamie T. Raynor, vice chancellor for advancement, said during the medallion presentation. “While we thank them for their WCU Foundation Board leadership and efforts, we know they will stay involved in support of Western Carolina University in the future.”
For more information about the WCU Foundation, visit https://www.wcu.edu/engage/give-to-wcu/about-us/wcu-foundation/