Five mounded graves, the occupants unknown other than their status as enslaved people. Blair Tormey, a geologist with the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Western Carolina University, adjusted his ballcap and quickly assembled a ground penetrating radar unit, looking much like a robotic lawn mower, before pushing it up the hillside. The destination, an almost forgotten cemetery, is a long way from any coastal beachfront or tidal basin where he might otherwise be working on a day like today.
Former state senator and Western Carolina University alum Tom Apodaca ’80 broke ground with other university and state officials for construction of a new $110.5 million science building. During the ceremony, Apodaca commented that his dream was to attend the future grand opening of the new state-of-the-art facility with his then-infant grandson, River. He also hoped River would one day follow the family tradition of attending WCU and taking classes in the building named in his honor.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, college life as WCU students knew it changed drastically. Here's a look at how they had to adapt to a new way of living and learning.
To this day, Kerwin Bell remembers vividly the scene in Gainesville, Florida in 1984 when he and his University of Florida teammates returned to campus following a trip to Kentucky after the Gators clinched what was then their first Southeastern Conference championship (a title that was later vacated because of rules violations by coach Charley Pell). Just before landing, the team plane flew over Florida Field where some 40,000 fans gathered to welcome the team home. On the bus ride from the airport to campus, the Gainesville streets were lined with fans.
Justin Gray brings winning attitude to men’s basketball team. The art of winning is something that Western Carolina University head basketball coach Justin Gray learned as a child from an unsuspecting source — his grandmother.
Those whistles blowing from E.J. Whitmire Stadium/Bob Waters Field last spring were not from football coaches during spring practice. They came from officials as Western Carolina University’s football team actually played a pair of Southern Conference games.
As the westernmost institution of the University of North Carolina System, Western Carolina University holds many distinctions, not the least of which is anchor for the respective surrounding communities and a regional driver for the local economy, community service and workforce development.
In each issue of WCU Magazine, our photographers will not only give you a glimpse of the beauty that exists but also a look at what's taking place on campus.