Manifestation is the conscious creation of circumstances and outcomes that make for a fulfilling life. Raised in a single-parent household of four out of inner-city Cleveland, Ohio, BaShaun Smith understood at a young age what hard work looked like. “I learned early on that I didn’t have to run through a brick wall to know it hurts,” Smith said.
Once referred to as a “campus fixture” by beloved late WCU Chancellor David Orr Belcher, Carol Burton, vice provost, has dedicated 33 years to learning and leading with compassion and obligation. Raised by Jamaican parents Reuben and Yvonne Burton, Burton’s journey to higher education was predestined by her matriarchal, fearless, powerful and entrepreneurial mother. “An American degree is the way of the future,” Yvonne Burton told her.
Named after her late father, John L. Brown, Johnnifer Patrice Brown, assistant professor of interior design at WCU, spent her childhood watching her father master the art of upholstery in Montgomery, Alabama. Completing her BS degree in mechanical engineering from Tuskegee University, and time spent working in both the automotive and commercial design industry, Patrice soon realized she was unfulfilled and needed a change.
Life in threes. That’s how Jeff Hughes, director of the Department of Campus Activities, patterned his decades-long career at Western Carolina University. Holding a master’s in public administration and a bachelor’s in sociology from Georgia Southern University, the native of Lake Hartwell, Georgia, set out with ambitions of becoming a city planner.
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.
William Moultrie, associate vice chancellor for Student Success, carries a firm belief in never underestimating oneself. He holds true that the size of one’s problems is nothing compared to their ability to solve them. There is hard work to be done and the pressure of privilege challenges us to stay honest and engage in a more meaningful life.
Jack A. Eaddy, Jr., a native of Orangeburg, SC, and director of athletic bands at Western Carolina University, was named one of 10 finalists for the Grammy’s 2023 Music Educator Award, being the only college professor chosen among 1,205 nominees.
With more than 30 years of experience in higher education, Jane Adams-Dunford is passionate about lifelong learning, diversity and inclusion and being a champion for students.
Dana Patterson is proud of her success because it does not belong to her alone. It belongs to the ancestors on whose shoulders she stands, and it belongs to the future generations that will follow her.