The Blue Ridge Parkway weaves its way through our beautiful mountains, connecting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park all the way to Virginia. Entrances close to campus mean adventure is never too far away. The parkway’s 469 miles promise breathtaking views, hiking, camping, waterfalls, and so much more. If you ever feel like you need a moment to reflect, take a break, or just explore, the parkway is your go-to.
This time a year ago, Ricardo Nazario-Colón, Western Carolina University’s chief diversity officer, and his graduate assistant, Kevin Trudell, took 10 WCU students to the 28th annual National Latino Collegiate Conference at the University of Albany. As they were returning to Cullowhee, traveling on I-81 south in the middle of the night, someone blurted out, “We need to have our own conference.” The van erupted into cheers. For the rest of the ride, the students began brainstorming and dishing out assignments.
Rachel Sullivan believes in the power of good food on the body and of the Holy Spirit on the soul. Without one, she would not have found the other — or her life’s calling. Sullivan is a 20-year-old Western Carolina University junior and Honors College student majoring in nutrition and dietetics, an area of study she chose after witnessing the effects of starvation on her two half siblings whose parents were dealing with substance abuse issues. Sullivan and her half siblings, now age 9 and 13, have the same birth mother.
During Black History Month 2019, WCU looked to our alumni to help tell the story of North Carolina’s first predominantly white institution to enroll an African-American student. We shared stories that inspire the university to continue its enduring commitment to inclusive excellence. In case you missed it, explore our recap...
“My decision to come to Western Carolina was solely based on him [Coach Mark Speir],” Crossen said. “He was a great guy when he came to talk to me in Garysburg. He drove down there in the snow. That speaks volumes. I really appreciate what he’s done for me and the chance he gave me to play at the Division I level at Western. Now, I guess I’m helping the program a little with recruiting."
As a senior at Forest View High School in Gastonia, Marcy Sammons had her eye on Western Carolina University. She'd heard good things about WCU's College of Business, but perhaps even more importantly, WCU had the best Marching Band in the state and one of the best in the nation. Sammons led the Color Guard at Forest View, and she'd heard stories about WCU's 2014 trip to march in the Macy's Day Parade. She was a high school junior at the time. But when senior year rolled around, the cost of a four-year university simply wasn't an option for Sammons or her family. She was going to need to borrow the money she would need to attend school, and the thought of finishing a marketing degree with significant college debt was overwhelming.
As Gabriel Pope was looking at schools to transfer to from Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh, he learned of an upcoming program the state of North Carolina was implementing called NC Promise. At first, Pope was a little skeptical over whether the state would follow through with offering $500 per semester tuition. But once he was convinced, Pope knew he wanted to go to Western Carolina University. “I was a little concerned with how the education would be with the school bringing in less money, but the more I learned about it, and researched it, the more I knew (WCU) was going to be a great school to go to,” Pope said. “I’m really thankful for (NC Promise) because it really helps me financially to be able to get my education.”
Sending you warm winter wishes from your friends at Western Carolina University. May you find yourself wrapped in the charm and the wonder of the holidays. Season’s greetings – from our Catamount family to yours!