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WCU Stories

Notes from Chancellor Brown

It’s hard to believe I've completed four years as Chancellor of Western Carolina University. These past four years have been a rollercoaster ride as we navigated the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. As I begin my fifth year, things on campus have finally returned to a more normal pace with regular in-person instruction, a full complement of campus events and a robust and dynamic campus environment. It’s been wonderful to finally see WCU back at full peak.

Alongside the return of WCU’s beloved campus culture this past year, we’ve also had a lot to celebrate on the legislative front. Our legislative agenda was well received and we are grateful for the ongoing support of the North Carolina General Assembly. Our faculty and staff, the beating heart of Western Carolina University, are expected to receive much-needed salary increases over the biennium budget. In addition, we anticipate foundational support for our College of Engineering and Technology priorities which will be used to assist in expanding the program as well as update our facilities on campus to help meet regional and statewide needs.

This year, I am delighted to begin introduction of a new comprehensive campaign for Western Carolina University called “Fill the Western Sky,” which includes philanthropic priorities regarding updating athletic facilities and allowing more student to experience academic activities beyond the classroom. For this comprehensive campaign, we want to focus our attention on improving the complete student experience through experiential learning opportunities, regional engagement and involvement in the arts and athletics. These are the promises that propel Western’s progress and I look forward to seeing the success of this campaign as we move forward.

In May, we celebrated WCU’s Class of 2023, one of the largest graduating classes in the university’s history. This graduating class was very special for me as this was the class starting as freshman during my first year as Chancellor. We’ve been on this journey together and it was a proud moment watching them walk this spring.

go cats

I hope you, WCU’s loyal alumni, feel a sense of pride about the positive direction we are heading as you read the colorful and informative stories throughout this magazine. I’m also asking you to do more than just read about the work happening here. I’m asking you to tell your friends and others about the great things we are doing at your alma mater. YOU are the best ambassadors to tell the WCU story. And that story is worth telling.

For WCU to fulfill its aspiration to be a preeminent regional university, to be the answer for higher education in our state, to be the answer for workforce needs in your community, for WCU to graduate students from excellent programs with minimal debt— we must TELL OUR STORY. By telling our story, we’re honoring those who came before and respecting those whose future we work to secure today. And isn’t that the best reason of all?

Go Cats!

Kelli R. Brown

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