Western Carolina University’s Scott and Walker residence halls are scheduled for demolition soon to make room for new living spaces, but a watercolor version of the beloved dorms can hang on your wall forever, all while benefiting a good cause.
The WCU Foundation has commissioned a limited-edition watercolor of Scott and Walker halls by local Sylva artist and WCU alumna Caryn Raming in support of the Alumni Association Endowed Scholarship.
The fundraiser, said Marty Ramsey, director of alumni engagement, is a chance to secure a keepsake of a special place that holds fond memories for thousands of WCU alumni. “The Scott and Walker residence halls were a place where many experienced true independence for the first time, all the while establishing friendships that would last a life time,” Ramsey said.
Every person who makes a gift of $100 or more to the scholarship before July 31 will receive the limited edition signed and numbered watercolor print and high-resolution digital photos of Scott and Walker as a thank you gift for their donation. The watercolor print will be available only through gifts to the Alumni Association Endowed Scholarship and will be shipped to donors in September.
For Raming, a 1991 graduate who has returned to WCU for a bachelor’s degree in education to become an art education teacher, the offer to contribute to the Alumni Association Scholarship was a thrill and an honor. “It feels surreal to know that my work will hang on the walls in the homes and offices of so many generous and faithful Catamounts,” said Raming, who lived in Scott during her first tenure at WCU.
“Growing up in Western North Carolina, I would not be where I am today without WCU, and we wanted that dream to be possible for others.”
The residence halls hold special memories for Catamounts whose first nights at college — for many, their first time away from home — were spent in the tower-like, non-airconditioned structures. Scott, a nine-story, 142,655-square-foot building was built in 1969. Walker, also nine stories, is 70,658 square feet and was built in 1972.
“I remember lying there at night wishing I could turn the box fan up 10 more levels,” said Ben Pendry, executive director of WCU’s advancement services, who graduated from WCU in 2007. Pendry credits his former Walker resident assistant, Dan Frezza, with helping him succeed at WCU. “He was such a positive influence,” Pendry said. “He was involved on campus and really pushed me to get engaged.”
Lee Wiggins Messer, who graduated in 1987 with an undergraduate degree and in 2010 with a master’s degree in elementary education, lived on the fourth floor of Scott her freshman year before moving to an apartment. “It was a great group of girls who lived on that hall who really got along well,” Messer said. “We socialized together and hung out, and everybody would pile into everybody’s room.”
Her strongest memory, though, was of the seemingly endless fire alarms. “We had to evacuate numerous times my freshman year,” said Messer, a retired Haywood County teacher, who works part time as an educational consultant and instructional coach. “I remember there was a fire in the laundry chute and we all had to go stand outside.”
Janine Bryan, a 1983 alumna and member of the WCU Alumni Association Board of Directors, was assigned to 420-East in Scott with more than 40 other freshman girls in the fall of 1978. “Living with all those girls meant raiding each other’s closets for something to wear,” Bryan said.” Bryan, who eventually moved to Walker to join Phi Mu sorority and was instrumental in establishing the annual gatherings of Greek alumni from the 1970s and ’80s during Homecoming, said her residence hall eventually became her home. “You never wanted to leave,” she said. “Friendships were created that still remain today.”
The Alumni Association Endowed Scholarship is available to children and grandchildren of alumni currently attending WCU. Donating to this scholarship provides support for students who are enrolled in a full-time, degree-seeking course of study.
Created in 2001 by the Alumni Association Board, the scholarship has grown significantly and is awarded to four students each year. “This special alumni scholarship was created to help the people of our region and beyond, said Laura Leatherwood, who was president-elect of the board when the scholarship was created. “Growing up in Western North Carolina, I would not be where I am today without WCU, and we wanted that dream to be possible for others.” Leatherwood, who is president of Blue Ridge Community College in Flat Rock, earned her undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees from WCU.
To make a gift to the Alumni Association Scholarship, visit give.wcu.edu/scottandwalker or call the Office of Annual Giving at 828-227-2868