Annie Vasquez, a graduating senior studying Spanish, was drawn to Western Carolina University by its close-knit community and the importance the university places on every student. She knew that becoming a Catamount would mean that she would be more than just a number in a system, rather she would be valued as a person.
A calming influence on her teammates, Student-Athlete Jordan Strickland successfully balanced coursework, competition and her health.
When Carlos Dotson found out that he had a chance to play Division 1 basketball, his entire life changed After being cut from his high school basketball team, Carlos focused in on his game and his studies so that he could have a chance to better his life by receiving a college degree.
For Western Carolina women's soccer senior Emily Zipay, being awarded the Southern Conference Presidential Scholarship by the SoCon's Graduate Scholar Committee is the culmination of her career as a student-athlete. The scholarships given by the SoCon, each worth $2,000, are awarded to student-athletes about to receive their undergraduate degrees who intend to pursue advanced degrees in graduate or professional school. The student-athletes are evaluated on three criteria: academics, athletics, and community service.
E'Quince Smith believes that making an impact on Western Carolina University is just as important as the degree he will receive when he graduates.
Western Carolina University's Cherokee Center has a long tradition of celebrating members of graduating classes with ties to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. It's more than a symbolic gesture. The Cherokee Center is, and has been, involved and invested in the educational careers of Qualla Boundary residents and Native Americans for more than four decades now.
The Department of Intercultural Affairs developed this graduation celebration as a way to honor students from underrepresented populations and their contributions to the Western Carolina University community. They provide students with a tangible symbol to wear during WCU's graduation and keep with them after graduation as a reminder of their time at WCU and the support that they have available for their future endeavors. Any student who wishes to celebrate their graduation with ICA is welcomed to participate.
While we won't be able to celebrate the Class of 2020 crossing the stage this spring (but can't wait to on the rescheduled commencement date), we still wanted to highlight this major life milestone, recognize their hard work, and celebrate their bright futures. Meet just a few of our graduates...
First-generation senior David Benoit is graduating with a double major in political science and international studies. “I told upcoming freshman to say yes to everything, try everything at least once. Go to every organization, every meeting, at least one time, so you really know what you like and what you might not be fond of,” Benoit said. That’s what he did.